Industry experts expect a 13% average hike in Workers Compensation premiums in 2013, driven by a variety of reasons, from widespread fraud to the growth of lawsuits for work-related injuries.
One factor in these increases: Higher medical expenses for treatment of obese workers for the “co-morbid” ailments (such as diabetes and heart attacks) that stem from their expanding waistlines. A 2007 Duke University Medical School study found that overweight workers file more Comp claims, have higher medical costs, and miss more workdays due to job-related injuries than do their non-obese counterparts.
A recent nationwide study of insurers doing business in 40 states confirms this conclusion. The survey by NCCI Holdings, Inc. found that the length of Workers Comp indemnity benefits paid to the most severely obese workers is more than five times greater than that of non-obese workers who file comparable claims. When the study included the duration of permanent partial disability, the multiple climbed to more than six to one.
This relationship between worker obesity and Workers Comp costs reinforces the need for employers to offer their workers weight management programs. In addition to keeping these costs under control, these plans will help to reduce absenteeism and increase workplace productivity — not to mention help employees get, and remain, healthy. What’s not to like?
Our agency’s Workers Comp professionals stand ready to help you develop and implement a weight reduction program for your employees. Feel free to get in touch with us at any time.