Meeting the Challenges of COVID-19: Insurance Executives Cite the Pandemic as Their Top Focus in Annual Survey

Posted Date: December 09, 2020

(Boca Raton, FL, December 9, 2020)—The still-evolving impacts of COVID-19 on US workers, the workers compensation industry, and the economy dominate the 2021 edition of the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) Focus on 5. For more than a decade, NCCI has conducted an annual survey probing the perspectives, needs, and challenges of insurer executives. Nearly two-thirds of the 102 leaders surveyed cited pandemic-related issues as their top concerns, prompting NCCI to dedicate its 2021 Focus on 5 to COVID-19.

“As the pandemic continues to cause uncertainty, NCCI provides workers compensation stakeholders with timely, critical insights they need to navigate the crisis,” said Bill Donnell, president and CEO of NCCI. “The 2021 Focus on 5, devoted primarily to COVID-19, is the next in a long list of insights and tools we provide to stakeholders through our online COVID-19 Resource Center.”

The survey found that the five biggest COVID-19 concerns of industry leaders heading into 2021 include:

  • The impact on the industry: Leaders are concerned about uncertainty related to the duration of the pandemic, the size and number of COVID-19 claims, and how long it will take workers and the economy to recover.

  • Statutory and regulatory activity: With compensability presumptions developing across states, leaders are monitoring whether they will become permanent or evolve to include other common diseases.

  • The pandemic economy: Insurers are closely watching COVID-19’s overall impact on the health of the US economy and the timing for a recovery.

  • Maintaining rate adequacy: They are also keeping a pulse on how best to evaluate risk in the current environment and how the pandemic overlays several years of declining loss costs.

  • Working from home: The rapid acceleration of at-home work related to the pandemic and how it might impact issues such as compensable injuries at home, ergonomics considerations, and at-home safety, are also on leaders’ minds.

Industry leaders say they are responding to the challenges of COVID-19 with policyholder-focused efforts, such as allowing deferred payments and providing safety education, along with closely monitoring market changes and legislative and regulatory developments in states. Leaders are also looking at their own operations and closely scrutinizing underwriting patterns, growth strategies, and risk management plans, while analyzing trends in the COVID-specific claims they see.

Since the outset of the pandemic, NCCI has provided data, insights, and solutions for evaluating it through its COVID-19 Resource Center, accessible on, along with conducting industry webinars and briefings on potential impacts. Using the Resource Center, stakeholders can access FAQs, updates on COVID-19 court cases, legislative and regulatory activities, and workers compensation presumptions. NCCI also created a Hypothetical Scenarios Tool that allows industry executives, regulators, and legislators to model potential COVID-19 impact scenarios for the total workforce, healthcare workers, and first responders.

With the release of the 2021 Focus on 5, NCCI is launching two additional, powerful new resources to help stakeholders evaluate the latest impacts of COVID-19. “COVID-19’s Impact on Medical Treatment in Workers Compensation—A First Look at 2020” is NCCI’s first research report providing insights on the medical component of 2020 claim activity, including COVID-19 claims. As data for 2020 begins to emerge, NCCI will continue to provide the latest information that will impact workers and the workers compensation industry.

Also, NCCI’s new Quarterly Economics Briefing (QEB) Employment Scenario Tool illustrates potential alternative economic impacts of the COVID-19 recession on employment, using scenarios that reflect different recovery trajectories. The tool puts users in charge allowing them to visualize potential employment paths through 2021—based on COVID recovery scenarios presented in NCCI’s Q3 QEB—updated with employment data through Third Quarter 2020. Starting with a nationwide picture, the Employment Scenario Tool also allows users to bring it down to state and sector levels and to graph and download scenario employment paths for a customizable selection of states and industries.

For a complete look at the 2021 Focus on 5 report and the other valuable resources from NCCI, please visit

About NCCI

Founded in 1923, the mission of the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) is to foster a healthy workers compensation system. In support of this mission, NCCI gathers data, analyzes industry trends, and provides objective insurance rate and loss cost recommendations. These activities—combined with a comprehensive set of tools and services—make NCCI the source you trust for workers compensation information.

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