A review of 2022 and a view of 2023 and beyond — Casualty and Occupational disease
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The dominant issue for insurers and compensators in 2022 was “claims inflation”, both present day and how this will unwind in 2023 and beyond.
New claim volumes for both employers’ liability (‘EL’) and public liability (‘PL’) have largely stabilised following the significant reductions seen both in the latter half of 2020 and the whole of 2021 compared to pre-pandemic levels. The long term, underlying trend remains downwards for workplace injuries and fatalities – evidence of the “safer society” first envisaged by Lord Robens 50 years ago in his report into health and safety in the workplace which culminated in the passing of the Health and Safety at Work Act .
Two areas which are the subject of detailed commentary in this review are workplace stress/anxiety/ depression and violence in the workplace. Incidents have increased markedly even though they have not (yet) translated into a higher number of claims. The UK’s cumulatively poor ‘mental health’ is having a pervasive effect in many areas and is in part responsible for the UK being the only European nation with record and rising levels of “economic inactivity” – responsible in part for fuelling claims inflation.
Claims for occupational disease have presented in line with most commentators’ predictions – many claimants continue to pay the price of the UK’s industrial legacy exposures to asbestos, noise and vibration
- Portal data revealing a total of 29,182 EL claim notifications and 37,608 PL claim notifications for calendar year 2022 – almost identical to last year but showing respective reductions of 33% and 31% compared to 2019 figures
- CRU data covering the period April 2021 to March 2022 showing EL claim volumes of 43,769 and PL volumes of 52,724 which compared to 79,000 and 73,000 respectively in 2019, a decline of 35 % and 38%
- 914,000 new and existing cases of workplace stress, depression and anxiety – a rise of 14 % on the previous year
- Workplace injuries rose to 565,000 from 441,000 but are still below 2019/2020 levels of 693,000
- 123 workplace fatalities - a fall from 145 deaths seen in the previous year. Deaths caused by workplace COVID-19 contraction and mesothelioma/respiratory diseases are excluded
- 12,000 lung disease deaths caused in whole or in part by historical occupational exposure
- 2,544 mesothelioma deaths recorded for 2020
- The British Retail Consortium Survey revealing an average of 1,300 incidents of violence and abuse occurring each day in the retail sector compared to 455 each day seen in 2019
- 123,000 COVID-19 cases thought to have been contracted in the workplace (HSE summary statistics covering the period April 2021 to March 2022)
- 85,914 personal Injury cases issued in the county courts – similar to last year but down from the 113,654 seen in 2019.
This annual review:
- Considers the judicial and legislative developments seen in 2022
- Provides a situational analysis of the personal injury market specific to employers’ and public liability claims
- Outlines which current trends are likely to emerge in 2023 and beyond.