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North Carolina Workers Compensation Reform – Was It Worth The Effort?

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North Carolina Workers Compensation Reform – Nine Changes

Raleigh is our home base. I wanted to wait until the North Carolina Workers Compensation reform filtered out after Governor Perdue signed the bill into law on June 24, 2011. The best summary that I have seen on the Workers Comp reforms is from the Teague, Campbell, Dennis & Gorham law firm.

Map of North Carolina Workers Compensation Reforms
(c) 123rf.com

One of their attorneys, George Pender, did a nice job covering the Workers Comp law changes at a recent NC PRIMA meeting in Greensboro last month.

The major parts of the supposed reform are:

  1. Ended the make-work prohibition in return to work situations
  2. Temporary Total Disability capped at 500 weeks
  3. Temporary Partial Disability increased to 500 weeks
  4. Directed medical care by the employer
  5. Independent medical exams
  6. Communication with physicians
  7. Attendant care
  8. Vocational rehabilitation
  9. Scope of settlements

 

Businesspeople At North Carolina Workers Compensation Conference Table
123RF

I wanted to quickly cover some of these points without just glossing over them. I will likely cover them in the next post or two as to not make the posts too long or boring. From the employer point of view, there are some wins and losses here. As Attorney Pender pointed out, the statute updates were a meeting of the minds between Republicans, Democrats, defense bar, plaintiff bar, employers and other players in the Workers Comp system.

 

As I have worked with claims in over 40 states, I wanted to compare other states with the same laws that were matched by the reforms. Some are great, while others concern me greatly. The North Carolina legislature did not “reinvent the wheel,” as most of these laws are already in place in different states.

 

The most important initial point is that almost ALL of the law changes pertained to claims that happened on or before June 24, 2011.

 

I will post on the bullet points next time with my opinion if it was a LOSS or a WIN for employers, TPA’s, and insurance carriers.

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James Moore

Raleigh, NC, United States

About The Author...

James founded a Workers’ Compensation consulting firm, J&L Risk Mgmt Consultants, Inc. in 1996. J&L’s mission is to reduce our clients’ Workers Compensation premiums by using time-tested techniques. J&L’s claims, premium, reserve and Experience Mod reviews have saved employers over $9.8 million in earned premiums over the last three years. J&L has saved numerous companies from bankruptcy proceedings as a result of insurance overpayments.

James has over 27 years of experience in insurance claims, audit, and underwriting, specializing in Workers’ Compensation. He has supervised, and managed the administration of Workers’ Compensation claims, and underwriting in over 45 states. His professional experience includes being the Director of Risk Management for the North Carolina School Boards Association. He created a very successful Workers’ Compensation Injury Rehabilitation Unit for school personnel.

James’s educational background, which centered on computer technology, culminated in earning a Masters of Business Administration (MBA); an Associate in Claims designation (AIC); and an Associate in Risk Management designation (ARM). He is a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) and a licensed financial advisor. The NC Department of Insurance has certified him as an insurance instructor. He also possesses a Bachelors’ Degree in Actuarial Science.

LexisNexis has twice recognized his blog as one of the Top 25 Blogs on Workers’ Compensation. J&L has been listed in AM Best’s Preferred Providers Directory for Insurance Experts – Workers Compensation for over eight years. He recently won the prestigious Baucom Shine Lifetime Achievement Award for his volunteer contributions to the area of risk management and safety. James was recently named as an instructor for the prestigious Insurance Academy.

James is on the Board of Directors and Treasurer of the North Carolina Mid-State Safety Council. He has published two manuals on Workers’ Compensation and three different claims processing manuals. He has also written and has been quoted in numerous articles on reducing Workers’ Compensation costs for public and private employers. James publishes a weekly newsletter with 7,000 readers.

He currently possess press credentials and am invited to various national Workers Compensation conferences as a reporter.

James’s articles or interviews on Workers’ Compensation have appeared in the following publications or websites:

  • Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS)
  • Entrepreneur Magazine
  • Bloomberg Business News
  • WorkCompCentral.com
  • Claims Magazine
  • Risk & Insurance Magazine
  • Insurance Journal
  • Workers Compensation.com
  • LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites
  • Various trade publications

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