Ongoing and Emerging Texas Issues


Workers’ compensation excels in property and casualty, maintaining underwriting profitability with loss ratios below 100%, unlike other lines facing rising costs and loss severity. Economic growth fuels this success, driving payroll growth. Employers benefit from substantially lower workers’ comp rates, with a nearly 77% drop since 2003, as reported by TDI-DWC’s latest biennial report.

Designated Doctors 

Texas uniquely utilizes qualified providers for key determinations like maximum medical improvement, impairment ratings, and income benefit eligibility. In recent years, qualifications for designated doctors have evolved, with new rules introduced in early 2023 affecting their selection, certification, and qualifications. These changes, driven by a substantial decrease in designated doctors – declining by nearly 60% from over 600 to under 250 since 2016 – significantly impact injured workers’ benefits and healthcare.

Remote Work is Here to Stay 

COVID-19 prompted widespread remote work, and while some have returned to the office, many still embrace remote or hybrid setups. As remote work continues, the rise of workers’ compensation claims related to home offices is anticipated, raising questions about what home office circumstances qualify as compensable work-related injuries, necessitating a thorough evaluation of course and scope situations.

Workplace Stressors and Mental Health 

Growing discussions center on workplace stressors and their impact on the mental health of workers’ compensation professionals and the injured workers they assist. The combination of the COVID-19 pandemic, remote work, heightened isolation, environmental worries, and political concerns is affecting well-being. Injured workers, grappling with physical health issues, face the added challenge of longer recovery times and hurdles in achieving positive outcomes following workplace injuries.

Increased Use of Automation 

Artificial Intelligence and technology are playing an expanding role in workers’ compensation, covering claims handling, underwriting, fraud detection, remote work, and reserving processes. This tech integration impacts workforce requirements, training, data management, and telemedicine’s increased role in treating injured employees. The potential of wearable tech and health apps in employee well-being is also emerging. These advancements raise questions about the balance between technology and staff, with discussions focusing on how technology can enhance rather than replace human employees.

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