Tips, Trends and Findings

Posted by on May 16, 2017 in Blog

Here are studies, reports and stories that caught our eye in the last month. Auto technology and insurance claims: Technology and consumer expectations are among the issues driving the evolution of auto insurance as we know it, according to an article in Property Casualty 360. The article explores “seven key areas that are ripe for further discussion, research and analysis.” Storefront crashes: “Storefront crashes,” which involve a vehicle running into a commercial, public or retail building, cost insurers millions of dollars a year, according to an article in Claims magazine. In fact, in 2015 and 2016, the Storefront Safety Council is aware of more than $100 million in claims paid. “The trend is increasing as more cases go to trial and plaintiffs find it easier to show that a location was poorly protected against a foreseeable and preventable risk,” says the article, which also details new safety standards and trends to watch. Top liability loses: Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty’s Global Claims Review 2017 recently ranked the top modern corporate liability exposures. The report finds that defective product or work; collisions and crashes; and human error were the leading causes of liability losses. Drowsy driving: At least 21 percent of fatal crashes involve exhausted drivers, according to an article in Claims Journal. But activities to keep drivers alert, including radio adjustments and opening a window, come with their own risks. The article explores the issues, signs of drowsy drivers and ways to ensure drivers get enough sleep before they hit the road. More data needed: According to a report from the National Safety Council, 2016 may have been the deadliest year on the nation’s roads since 2007. Last year, 40,000 people may have died because of a motor vehicle crash. Another 4.6 million were seriously injured. But, the council’s report says that “little is known about key driver behavior factors in these crashes because critical data is under-reported.” The report makes recommendations for law enforcement and those in the traffic safety...

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Case Study: Lead poisoning

Posted by on May 2, 2017 in Blog

Why what’s missing is sometimes the most important detail There is no safe blood lead level in children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But, more than 500,000 U.S. children have elevated levels, which can cause lifelong developmental delays. One of our clients, an insurance company, pulled in MKC Medical Management to review the alleged lead poisoning case of a toddler. The child was healthy as an infant, but he developed significant speech and other developmental delays. Doctors eventually diagnosed the child with pervasive developmental disorder (PDD), which is on the autism spectrum. What we found, according to the medical records, was that the child had lived in a building with toxic levels of lead. Tests also revealed that he had elevated blood lead levels. But, those findings don’t necessarily mean that lead poisoning was behind the child’s diagnosis and delays. In any case under review, correlation doesn’t always mean causation. Here are the facts of the case: Overview: The claimant is a three-year-old child who, the plaintiff attorney alleges, has developmental and behavioral issues because of lead exposure in the home. MKC’s legal nurse consultants worked on the defense team for the insurance carrier.    What the records say about the child’s lead levels At one year of age, the child’s blood level was 5 mcg/dL, which is considered elevated. Five months later, it was up to 5.3 mcg/dL. Six months later, it was up to 6.9 mcg/dL. The blood lead level was later reported to have spiked to 16 mcg/dL before dropping to 11 mcg/dL, but no lab reports for these final two tests were submitted for review. What the records say about the child’s home When the child was age two, city officials sent a letter to the property owners of the building the child was living in to notify them that there were “toxic levels of lead in or on the dwelling.” A lead abatement plan was required. It’s unknown how long the child had lived in the home and whether he had lived anywhere else. After the abatement order was issued, the family was relocated. Red flags Missing lab reports were just one of this case’s red flags. Here are some other warning signs: The child lived with five siblings, ages 2 to 12, but no test results were submitted to indicate that any of the other children had elevated levels of lead in their blood. According to an assessment with the family, there is a family history of genetic issues, sickle cell trait and seizure disorders, but the relationship to the individuals with these medical issues and more specific diagnoses were not identified. If the child has a genetic history...

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