NCCI's Annual Survey of Insurer Executives Focuses on COVID-19
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By NCCI InsightsDecember 09, 2020

For more than a decade, NCCI’s annual survey of insurer executives has profiled their perspectives, needs, and challenges related to the workers compensation system. In recent years, NCCI has published the top five findings from this survey as our Focus on 5.

Not surprisingly in 2020, insurer executives were focused on the well-being of their employees and their customers. Nearly two-thirds of our 102 respondents identified a COVID-19-related issue as their top concern and biggest challenge. So this year, we narrowed our Focus on 5 to dig deeper on pandemic-related issues and to share this broad industry leader perspective.

1. COVID-19’s Impact on the Industry

Among the most frequent mentions in our survey of executives was the potential impact the pandemic would have on the industry. Executives recognized that there were many unknowns, and they are awaiting further data and insights. This uncertainty raised concerns about the duration of the pandemic, as well as the size and number of claims that could develop. There were additional concerns regarding recovery time for workers sickened by COVID-19 and whether there would be long-term needs or lasting adverse effects. The long-term effects for the industry and the change that may accompany it were also top of mind. Resources related to this subject on include:

2. COVID-19 Presumptions and Statutory/Regulatory Activity

There were numerous mentions about state compensability presumptions that have arisen during the pandemic. The variations developing across states and the complexity of legislation and regulations added to the perceived challenges in a rapidly evolving environment. Several noted the growing attention around issues and questions related to reinsurance for presumptive claims. Others are contemplating whether compensability presumptions for contagious diseases, such as those instituted for COVID-19, will be widely adopted and permanently enacted or even expanded in some cases to include other common diseases. Resources related to this subject on include:

3. The Pandemic Economy

The downturn in the economy was a major concern expressed by insurer executives. They wondered when the country would see a recovery and how employment levels could change. They also voiced concern about policyholders who have been forced out of business. For their own companies, they are also evaluating how impactful reductions in insured payroll may be and are contemplating how the workers compensation line of business will look in the coming year. Resources related to this subject on include:

4. Maintaining Rate Adequacy During the Pandemic

While maintaining rate adequacy has frequently been among insurer executives’ top concerns, many mentioned growing apprehension specific to the conditions created by the pandemic. They are contemplating how to best evaluate risk without having significant COVID-19 data in hand and look forward to that data developing. Executives also recognized that the pandemic’s developing impact will overlay several years of declining loss costs in the aggregate state level and at the industry class level.

5. COVID-19 and Working From Home

Insurer executives have previously identified the changing workplace as an area to closely watch, but the rapid switch to many employees working from home has brought elevated attention. Questions around class codes, determining compensable injuries at home, ergonomic considerations, and home safety were among the most mentioned areas of consideration. Check back in First Quarter 2021 for more information on this topic.

Insurer Executive Strategies

When asked how they are responding to these top COVID-related concerns, insurer executives consistently noted several actions/strategies they were undertaking:

NCCI is committed to understanding the impacts of COVID on workers compensation and we continue to expand our COVID analysis across all of these concerns and more. For example, our most recent analysis of COVID’s impact on our economy is now available in NCCI’s Quarterly Economics Briefing. For more information and the latest news on COVID-19 implications for workers compensation, check out our COVID-19 Resource Center on

​This article is provided solely as a reference tool to be used for informational purposes only. The information in this article shall not be construed or interpreted as providing legal or any other advice. Use of this article for any purpose other than as set forth herein is strictly prohibited.