Starting with our time RIMS 2014, we had Workers’ Comp industry stakeholders participate in WorkCompWire’s “4 For 14” series, focused on what to look for this year and in the future! Here’s what Mark Wilhelm, CEO of Safety National had to say:
1. What do you believe will be the most significant development in the Worker’s Comp industry in 2014?
I think TRIPRA plays a huge role in our industry’s ability to make coverage obtainable and affordable, so if it gets renewed or not (and when) will have a major impact on workers’ compensation. Without TRIPRA as a backstop, it’s going to make insuring companies in high-employee concentration areas very difficult and costly to insure (and a lot of large companies fall into that category). The potential of its pending expiration is already affecting pricing.
2. What is the top issue/problem you and your organization are currently grappling with?
Developing underwriting talent organically. There is a large generation and talent gap in this area and we are focusing heavily on a succession plan to try to overcome that.
3. Looking out 5 years, beyond obvious trends, what do you think one big change in the Workers’ Comp industry will be?
I believe more states will take a serious look at developing opt-out programs. I think there’s still some uncertainty around the subject, but Texas and Oklahoma will serve as examples. Once employers understand that opt-out programs can provide better control over medical costs and better results at getting employees back to work faster, the potential of opt-out programs will be very attractive to them.
4. What is one thing you’d like to promote?
This month we launched Safety National Crisis Protection – a domestic crisis management and international extraction benefit for our excess and large deductible policyholders. This benefit is being offered complimentary to our policyholders and, to my knowledge, we are the only carrier providing a free benefit of this type. Our growing suite of value-added products and services, which now includes Safety National Crisis Protection, is a key differentiator for us in the industry.
About Mark Wilhelm
Mark Wilhelm is Chief Executive Officer of Safety National. He joined Safety National in 1977 when the company had approximately 20 employees and $11 million in assets, and led its underwriting operations from 1985 until he was named CEO. Safety National is now a leading workers’ compensation insurance provider with nearly $3 billion in assets and more than 300 full-time employees. Safety National, a recognized leader in workers’ compensation, provides large deductible and excess workers’ compensation coverage to thousands of employers and nearly 10,000,000 employees in the US.
Mr. Wilhelm is a regular speaker and panelist at industry conferences regarding self-insurance, workers’ compensation and the insurance industry. He has authored numerous articles on workers’ compensation.
Mr. Wilhelm holds a BS in Accounting from the University of Missouri—St. Louis and an MBA in Finance from St. Louis University.