Five Things You Need to Know: 2/23, Thursday Edition

                               

1) Nevada Insurance Commissioner Approves Largest Workers' Compensation Loss-Cost Decrease Since 2004, Largest Assigned-Risk Rate Decrease Ever (NEWS)

There is good news for Nevada employers as most of them may see lower premiums as a result of decreases in workers’ compensation voluntary insurance loss-costs and assigned-risk market rates. Commissioner Barbara D. Richardson approved a filing from the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) for an average decrease of 10.7 percent for Nevada workers’ compensation voluntary insurance loss costs. An average decrease of 10.5 percent for workers’ compensation insurance assigned-risk rates was also approved. This is the largest decrease in loss costs since NCCI’s 2004 filing when loss costs decreased by an average of 12.3 percent. The decrease in assigned-risk rates is the largest in Nevada history since workers’ compensation insurance was privatized in 1999. To read more, click here.


2) Former OCSD Deputy Convicted and Sentenced to 6 Months in Jail for Committing Insurance Fraud Against Orange County (NEWS)

A former Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) deputy was convicted and sentenced to six months in Orange County jail and three years informal probation today on charges for committing insurance fraud by failing to disclose his true physical abilities and activities to his health care providers. Nicholas Zappas, 36, Laguna Niguel, pleaded guilty to six misdemeanor counts of insurance fraud. In addition to his jail time and probation, Zappas was ordered to pay $34,838.97 in restitution to the County and $1,000 to the Worker’s Compensation Fraud Assessment Fund. The defendant is also required to dismiss his 2011 and 2015 worker’s compensation claims with prejudice as a condition of his probation. To read more, click here.  


3) Buffalo Man Stole Deceased Woman's Workers' Comp Benefits (NEWS)

New York State Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott today announced the arrest of a City of Buffalo man who stole nearly $10,000 in Workers’ Compensation benefits meant for the woman he previously lived with and cared for but who had actually passed away two years earlier. Michael Barton, 57, of Buffalo, was charged today with Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a felony. An investigation by Inspector General Leahy Scott found that Barton and an accomplice regularly cashed Workers’ Compensation benefit checks belonging to the woman he lived with and who passed away in July 2012. Nonetheless, Barton and his accomplice continued cashing her checks through September of 2014 as if she were still alive. Workers’ Compensation benefits are meant to cease upon the death of a recipient. To read more, click here.


4) New Smartphone Apps Help Reinforce Workplace Safety, Train Teen Workers (NEWS)

Improving workplace safety just got easier with two new free apps available from the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I). They were developed with grant money awarded by L&I's Safety and Health Investment Projects (SHIP) Program. Both can be downloaded for IOS or Android devices. The SHIP Program funds innovative projects that prevent workplace injuries, illnesses, and fatalities and help injured workers return to work. "We hope all employers will give these apps a try," said Jenifer Jellison, program manager for L&I's SHIP grant program. "They're convenient, easy to use in the workplace, and offer a great new way to prevent injuries and reinforce safe work practices." To read more, click here.


5) There is Some Crap Science Should Just Leave Alone (BOB'S CLUTTERED DESK)

As fond as I am of learning new things and seeing scientific frontiers broken, I am convinced that in certain cases, there are some things that science should just leave alone. There is, after all, some stuff we just do not need to know. I was reminded of this recently when I came across an article entitled “Eight reasons why KISSING is so good for your health”. On the surface, it seemed like an interesting proposition. Can kissing make us healthier, happier human beings? Can it actually make us physically healthier in addition to its emotional benefits? And can we use these findings to improve treatment in workers’ comp? Certainly, enquiring minds such as mine wanted to know. Unfortunately, I was just on the first of the eight reasons when I realized I had made a significant mistake. To read more, click here. 



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