Tag Archives: Economy

Workplace Fatalities at Lowest Level Since 1992

Economic factors have likely played a role in the 10 percent decline in the total number of workplace fatalities recorded in the United States in 2008, according to a preliminary report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). BLS said preliminary figures indicate a total of 5,071 workplace fatalities were recorded in 2008 – the smallest annual preliminary total since 1992 – down from 5,657 in 2007. Based on these preliminary counts, the rate of fatal injury for U.S. workers in 2008 was 3.6 fatal work injuries per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers, down from the final rate of 4.0 in 2007. BLS cited the impact of economic factors, noting that average hours worked at the national level fell by one percent in 2008. Some industries that have historically accounted for a significant share of worker fatalities, such as construction, experienced larger declines in employment or hours worked. Workplace fatalities in the private construction sector in 2008 declined by 20 percent from the updated 2007 total, twice the all-worker decline of 10 percent. Fatal workplace falls, which had risen to a series high in 2007, also declined by 20 percent in 2008. The BLS findings appear to tally with a recent report from NCCI Holdings Inc showing a continuing decrease in workers compensation claims frequency in 2008. Check out I.I.I. info on workers comp.

Age Discrimination: Regulatory Action?

We’ve blogged before about how mounting job cuts amid the economic downturn are resulting in an increase in employee lawsuits. At a public hearing  yesterday the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) focused on recent developments in age discrimination complaints. According to the EEOC, while overall job discrimination complaints were up by 15 percent in 2008, the number of allegations of age discrimination increased by nearly 30 percent, compared with 2007. The EEOC is now considering new regulations to protect older workers from job discrimination in the wake of recent adverse court decisions that have made it harder for older workers to successfully challenge age discrimination under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). For example, just last month in a 5-4 ruling the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that employees bringing federal age-discrimination claims bear the burden of proving their age was a key factor in their reassignment by an employer (Gross v. FBL Financial Services).   Previously, workers had to show that age was just one factor in the employment decision and then the burden of proving there was a permissible reason for the action shifted to the employer. For more on the EEOC hearing, check out today’s Washington Post online article by Steve Vogel. Check out I.I.I. information on specialty lines such as employment practices liability (EPL) insurance.

Recessionary Conditions Hit P/C Industry

Results for the property/casualty industry over the next few years will be driven by the 2009 recession, mixed insurance premium pricing momentum and modestly deteriorating underwriting results, according to the latest Property/Casualty Forecast & Analysis by Conning Research and Consulting. The combination of continued price decreases in most commercial lines of business and the suppression in exposure growth due to the recession continues a period of negative premium growth that began in 2007. However, Conning also notes that recessionary conditions can suppress losses, including reduced frequency as a result of fewer exposure units and reduced loss severity due to deflation in some property loss cost drivers. Looking beyond this year, Conning expects slow economic recovery in 2010 and a return to more robust growth in 2011 leading to an increase in both premium and loss exposures. This may also include the start of an acceleration in inflationary factors that drive loss severity, however. Check out I.I.I. information on financial results and conditions.

Global Outlook: Recovery Hopes

The economic situation will impact both life and non-life insurance growth in 2009 but a recovery is expected in 2010, according to the latest world insurance report from Swiss Re sigma. Swiss Re projects that growth in life insurance premiums in 2009 will remain subdued or may even turn negative as turbulent stock markets and gloomy employment prospects continue to negatively impact sales of unit-linked savings products. However, as the economy recovers it expects both higher life premiums and better investment results as asset prices are expected to improve. Meanwhile, non-life premiums are expected to remain flat in 2009 as the economic downturn curbs demand, particularly in the commercial line of business. However, capital shortages may trigger an upward movement of prices that will support underwriting results. Demand for additional cover should also increase in 2010 along with the economy. The upshot is that results in non-life will improve due to higher prices and improved investment results, while results in the life sector will improve when the capital markets recover, according to Swiss Re. In the meantime insurers will boost results by slashing costs. Check out the new editions of the I.I.I. International Insurance Fact Book for other global facts and stats.