Change to Workers’ Comp “Won’t be a Panacea”

I read with interest Anna Elizabeth’s January 30 article about State Senator Cathy Osten’s initiative to expand Workers’ Compensation coverage for mental health conditions. While I haven’t seen the senator’s proposed legislation, I know from my professional experience as a veteran commercial insurance executive that any change won’t be a panacea.

As with any Worker’s Compensation claim for an occupational injury or disease, the claimant has the burden of providing the causal relationship between injury and employment. That’s a dicey proposition in the shadowy world of mental health, even in the wake of a definable triggering event.

Claimants and insurers alike will incur significant legal fees to adjudicate such claims — and there’ll likely be some rate impact to employers required by law to maintain such insurance. That was the case in California, when the state opened the gates to stress-related Workers’ Compensation claims, making it one of the country’s most challenging jurisdictions.

I hope Senator Osten will work with the insurance industry and Department of Labor to develop an equitable solution that accommodates legitimate occupationally-induced mental health claims without making Connecticut an even less business-friendly state.

Scott R. Konrad
Essex, CT

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