EPLI Market Observations from the ACI Conference

I spoke at the EPLI conference hosted by the American Conference Institute, which was the 15th occurrence of this interesting event.  With an audience of attorneys and insurers active in EPL, it is one of the best conferences that I attend.

Here are some observations that I heard this year:

News about the economy and claims

  • More ‘claims’ being submitted by individuals without attorneys; wording cut and pasted  from web sites that help people with EPL claims (sites not cited)
  • About the same # of claims as in years past, despite there being fewer employees
  • Claims types are similar as recent years; would have expected more age related due to layoffs, but not yet
  • No sign of any uptick from Lily Ledbetter-type claims

Wage and Hour continues to be big:

  • Department of Labor got a budget increase to pursue wage issues; supposedly 200 more investigators, but they are still in startup mode, so no action yet (there’s a Washington joke in here somewhere)
  • Expect an explosion in independent contractor reclassification actions; reason is to ‘protect employees’ and create a major source of new tax revenue.  Some say that 30% of employees are mis-classed and therefore that revenue is lost to the states and federal government;  EEOC is also pursuing this

Other News about Washington and the EEOC was prominent:

  • More and deeper EEOC inquiries, including directly to employees (interviews), lots more follow-up by EEOC
  • EEOC understaffed so delays and big backlog; this has helped employers since employees may lose interest/find replacement jobs (that may have ended due to recession) as EEOC investigation drags on.  End of backlog will be trouble for employers
  • EEOC increasing disability/accommodations investigations

Insurance Market still soft:

  • Market going sideways; rates neither up nor down
  • More carriers actively pursuing business; 35 or so real players
  • Carriers for largest employers that had backed away (due to recession?) now willing to write again
  • Wage and Hour coverage becoming more widely available, primarily defense costs, for small- to mid-sized employers.  Not available for large employers. Risk is insurable since, for smaller employers, mis-classed employees might actually be a mistake, not intentional (which has been used as a reason not to insure wage and hour)

2 responses to “EPLI Market Observations from the ACI Conference

  1. Rick –

    This is a nice summary – thank you. I missed the ACI prgram (first missed eveent in 10 years due to travle delays into New York). Hope you are well.


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