Around the Nation, March 2012
Claims, risk, and litigation news from around the nation.
NWCC Merges with CLM
Chicago-based National Workers’ Compensation Coalition (NWCC) has merged with CLM, strengthening CLM’s resources in workers’ comp.
The NWCC is focused on sharing best practices, networking, and educational programming for those in the workers’ compensation defense industry. The first jointly held workers’ compensation event from the two organizations will be CLM’s Workers’ Compensation Mini Conference, slated to be held in Columbus, Ohio on June 8. Registration is available at TheCLM.org.
“[NWCC’s] work in providing resources to the workers’ compensation industry parallels the services that CLM provides,” says Adam Potter, CLM executive director. “By merging both organizations, we have strengthened CLM’s resources in workers’ compensation and are able to offer NWCC members the full spectrum of resources provided by the CLM.”
Head Injury Research Focuses on Boxers
Why do some boxers suffer brain damage from repeated blows and others show few effects? It’s a question that has plagued doctors and the sports industry for years. A new study, funded mostly by Las Vegas hotel mogul Kirk Kerkorian and conducted at Cleveland Clinic’s new Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in downtown Las Vegas, will set out to get answers. Researchers hope to enroll more than 600 fighters in a four-year study of their brains.
With the recent attention on football and other professional sports where concussions are an ongoing concern, the study will have implications outside of the boxing industry.
Student Dies in Fall from Chairlift
A University of Utah student fell 30 feet from a chairlift at the Canyons Resort after suffering a seizure. A Canyons spokesman said the lift did not malfunction, but they were not certain about whether or not the woman and her friends were using the safety bar. Chairlift deaths and injuries are uncommon, although national records are spotty because resorts aren’t required to report every incident, says David Byrd, a spokesman for the National Ski Areas Association. The association reports that malfunctioning lifts caused 13 deaths between 1973 and 1993. There have been none since then, although there have been numerous injuries.
Ferry Fire Causes $750,000 in Damage
A fire broke out on the Alaskan ferry Malaspina last month while it was in dry dock undergoing maintenance. No one was injured in the blaze. While the ferry system has not estimated total damages, cleanup costs are estimated at approximately $300,000. The Ketchikan Fire Department estimated the damages at $750,000, according to a report obtained by the Ketchikan Daily News.
The 372-foot ferry was built in 1963 and has an estimated value of $107.5 million, the report states. Fire authorities determined that the fire was caused by welding being done in a marine sanitation space two decks below the car deck. No other possible sources of ignition were found. Investigation results are pending from the shipyard’s insurance company and the U.S. Coast Guard.
Lockton Digs into Mining Education
Lockton, the largest privately held insurance brokerage in the world, recently hosted its first North American Mining Summit, which was created to give attendees a broad view of the political and commercial areas of risk and opportunity for North American mining firms involved in the global commodities markets.
A highlight of the event was speaker David Benedict, chief of insurance and financial compliance for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Division of Coal Mine Workers’ Compensation, who addressed details of the Labor Department’s new underwriting guidelines for the self-insurance program for coal mine operators. The guidelines were updated in order to provide a greater focus on solvency, actual black lung loss costs, and compliance.
Key Rulings Precede Oil Spill Trial
Several recent court rulings in New Orleans are primed to affect the trial over the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history.
According to U.S. District Court Judge Carl Barbier, BP must indemnify Halliburton, which provided cementing services for the Macondo oil well, for third-party compensatory claims under contract. Judge Barbier also rejected efforts by BP to keep out evidence regarding settlements reached prior to trial.
Additionally, U.S. Magistrate Judge Sally Shushan ruled in favor of BP and Halliburton, keeping several potentially damaging e-mails out of trial.
Judge Barbier will preside over the non-jury trial to assign blame for the April 20, 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig, which killed 11 people and caused the oil spill. The key corporate defendants include BP, rig owner Transocean Ltd., Halliburton, and Anadarko Petroleum, one of BP’s partners in the well.
Crawford Sees Record Revenues
Atlanta-based Crawford & Company reported record revenues of $1.125 billion for 2011 and a 60 percent increase in earnings over 2010. Growth was driven by three of the company’s four segments, which saw an increase in overall claims received. Fourth-quarter mild U.S. weather conditions and the wind-down of support for the Gulf Coast Claims Facility project were offset by solid operational performance and increased weather-related claims in the Australian market.