Salaries and total compensation rose in 2021 for all levels of empoloyees reporting in the Insurance Journal Agency Salary Survey. Last week you were reading How Car, Home Inflation Is Driving Up Loss Costs for Insurers? This week we’re bringing you:
First responder PTSD comp bills continue to trend*
Four states in the first week of February introduced or moved forward on workers compensation presumption bills that would make post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental ailments compensable for first responders, in a continuation of a years-long legislative trend.
According to a 2021 paper by service provider Optum Workers’ Comp and Auto No-Fault, more than 50% of states have enacted PTSD policies or policy changes since 2018. Many new laws passed in recent years have followed major emergencies and tragedies that triggered legislatures to act. The COVID-19 pandemic is shaping up to be no different.
“With COVID, people are more amenable to the idea that mental injuries are a problem than (they have been) in the past,” said Tom Howard, an attorney at workers compensation firm Gerber & Holder LLP in Atlanta.
Opponents of such legislation have claimed that the presumptions are or could be costly, with virtually every first responder representing a potential claim. Proponents, meanwhile, say the presumptions are much needed to fill the gap created when first responders face mental illness.
Healthcare & cyber insurance: a new frontier*
Healthcare organizations have taken the cake for the industry most impacted by the pandemic. There was so much to deal with when it came to patient care and employee retention that cybersecurity was the least of these organizations’ worries.
“The healthcare space has always been perceived as a target for cyber criminals,” Bill Bower, senior vice president and director of healthcare at Gallagher Bassett Specialty, told Insurance Business.
“Even though healthcare systems have been given the responsibility of protecting sensitive information, their core business is patient care, not engaging in a robust cyber security infrastructure.”
Cyber exposures for healthcare organizations have naturally increased due to the pandemic, and Bower explained that with more remote access, endpoint exposures are created through every laptop or phone.
“Healthcare institutions have been overwhelmed and focusing energy on the influx of patients,” he added. “With alarming decreases in staff, the priority shifted to an all-hands-on-deck approach, meaning they may not be paying attention to cybersecurity.”
Agency Salary Survey: Why Money Isn’t Everything to Agency Hires*
But while insurance agency personnel on average made more money last year, their satisfaction with compensation overall declined despite the higher salaries and total compensation.
As they face continued competition to find and retain the best talent, agency owners also face heightened demand not only for better pay but also for a better working environment.
“Compensation is certainly important, but there are many other factors a potential employee will consider when evaluating an offer and a current employee will consider when deciding whether or not to stick around,” Tyler Asher, president of Independent Agent Distribution at Liberty Mutual and Safeco Insurance, told Insurance Journal. “Non-monetary benefits like flexibility, autonomy and career development are a great way to make an agency more attractive to employees.”
Perhaps more important than offering specific benefits is understanding the unique values of an individual, according to Asher. A new graduate, for example, is going to have very different wants and needs than a parent or an employee nearing retirement. “While there’s always going to be a need to offer a blanket set of benefits like health insurance or retirement contributions, there’s also an opportunity to customize the employee experience for the individual.”
Alicia Kiser, vice president of human resources at Wauwatosa, Wisconsin-based M3 Insurance, agrees that customizing an employee’s career path and personal development is important.
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