2021 Focus Series: Presumptions and the Future of Workers' Compensation Insurance 2021

Price : $999.00

One year after the March 11, 2020, declaration by the World Health Organization that Covid-19 was a global pandemic, there is still considerable uncertainty concerning the spread, duration, science, and the impact of the virus and its variants on the economy, on society, and on workers’ compensation. One response to the pandemic has been the expansion of workers’ compensation presumptions by various states.

Conning’s research into the disease, the expanded presumptions, and impacts finds that there are three potential outcomes for workers’ compensation from the pandemic: (1) destabilization of the workers’ compensation system (undermining the Grand Bargain), (2) creation of a workers’ compensation crisis, or (3) management of a controllable stress on the system. The three are not mutually exclusive, but they serve as useful conceptual frameworks to identify the issues and inform development of appropriate insurer responses. 


Executive Summary

Scenario 1: Presumptions Challenge Workers’ Compensation Principles

Scenario 2: It’s Going to Cause a Crisis

  • Long Haulers

Scenario 3: We Can Handle It

  • Denials and Rebuttal

  • Insurer Experience

  • But There Always Have Been Presumptions

  • Reported Covid-19 Losses

States Matter

Battles Over Presumptions



How will the expansion of Covid-19 presumptions affect workers’ compensation insurance? Will newly introduced presumptions challenge the foundations of the workers’ compensation, cause the next workers’ compensation crisis, or prove to be manageable? Is workers’ compensation the appropriate source of benefits for an infectious disease in the first place?

Answers to these and related questions take center stage in the workers’ compensation world and are the subject of this special Conning Focus Series Report. They are the most central concern of workers’ compensation industry executives, attorneys, workers’ compensation judges, regulators, and legislators today. In this study, we explore three potential outcomes for workers’ compensation from pandemic driven presumptions based on the latest data and research available. We also draw on the views expressed in exclusive interviews with a dozen subject matter experts, including insurance company leaders, workers’ compensation judges, workers’ compensation plaintiff and defense attorneys, independent rating bureau managers, research organizations, and others specializing in workers’ compensation.