I’m leery of riding in a self-driving car. When I ask myself why, my sense is simply that I fear them. Is it because of
the loss of control? Makes little sense as I am often
percent of all court cases now involve
an automobile. What is to become of
our personal injury lawyers? Their
transformation is critical if we plan to
Let us not forget that there will be
less need for parking lot attendants.
Our service-oriented autonomous
vehicles, after they drop us off at work,
will be sent off to work as Uber or Lyft
cars, which will likely become a key
component in a new kind of public
transit system. Gone will be the days of
abundant taxis, street cars and buses.
The most common job in the U.S.
is truck driver. Driverless vehicles have
the potential to eliminate these jobs in
29 out of 50 states.
Is death to driving a good
thing? Are we redesigning
Forty-seven percent of U.S. jobs
are threatened in the next 15 years.
Technological unemployment is
real and caused by “the introduction
of labor-saving ‘mechanical-
Technology will result in millions
of surplus traditional workers. This
surplus is coming fast. Are these
automated space. In 10 to 15 years, my
prediction is that only autonomous
cars will be available to us.
This should be a good news story.
We know that today 94 percent of car
accidents are due to driver error. What
a wonderful world we will have saving
40,000 lives and avoiding maiming 2.5
million of our fellow humans every
year in North America.
That said, over these upcoming
years, let us think of all the other
industries that will need deep
transformation and reinvention,
Besides, the use of autonomous
vehicles is inevitable.
But is this new reality being truly
accepted? It appears that “traditional”
car manufacturers may be a bit asleep
at the wheel. They claim these self-driving cars might claim just 2 to 3
percent of their current market.
Prophecy should be an inherent
skill for me and my fellow risk
managers. As such, I see lots of
unaddressed risk when it comes to this
BY ROBERTO CENICEROS
millennials; up 47 percent. It’s also up
47 percent for adolescent boys and
65 percent for girls. Major depression
now impacts more than 9 million
The report notes that 85 percent
of people diagnosed with major
depression also suffer one or more
serious chronic health conditions, with
nearly 30 percent suffering four or
more additional health conditions.
Discussing depression in the context
of workers’ comp scares claims payors
who fear being on the hook for mental
claims. But depression is already
showing up in claims that drag on.
So, of course, I think there is
potential that more depression among
Americans in general means eventually
more workers’ comp losses.
I know that’s a depressing thought
for claims payors already feeling
the weight of the world. Magic
mushrooms, anyone? Or maybe just a
good podcast will do it for you. &
ROBERTO CENICEROS is senior editor at
Risk & Insurance® and chair of the National
Workers’ Compensation and Disability
Conference® & Expo. He can be reached at
Depression treatment possesses some quirky edges, such as a potential cure many in the workers’
compensation industry might find laughable.
Depression is a serious ailment
that can be debilitating. It can trigger
suicidal thoughts, outright suicide,
and costs employers tens of billions of
dollars in absences and lost productivity.
I’ve learned that exercise, music and
socializing fend off the depression that
occasionally visits me. For others, fending
off depression may seem impossible.
Injured workers commonly develop
signs of depression post injury.
Financial stress, medication side effects
and pain are some causes and often
require prescription anti-depressants.
The depression connection is one
reason why return-to-work programs
are crucial. Being at work helps
workers feel less isolated and provides
the financial and mental rewards of
That’s all post injury, though. I’m
wondering what happens when you
have more Americans showing up for
work, or newly entering the workforce,
already prone to depression.
Research published in May by the
Blue Cross Blue Shield Assn. revealed
that diagnosis of major depression
rose 33 percent among commercially-insured Americans since 2013.
The rate is rising even faster among
that psychosocial issues — including
depression — hamper the resolution of
hard-to-manage, physical-injury claims
that drag on while costs mount.
It stands to reason that reports
showing that major depression
is increasingly rampant among
Americans could mean that the
affliction will become a bigger drag
on the long-term outlook for workers’
comp claims losses.
Maybe we’ll find salvation in a
different kind of trip; by taking shrooms.
Curing depression with magic
mushrooms will strike many as
laughable. I’m okay with that because
laughter, even if induced by a fungus, is
a good antidote for depression.
A recent book generating media
buzz, along with internet postings,
focuses on the potential for curing
depression with hallucinogenic
mushrooms, known as psilocybin
mushrooms to scientists and “shrooms”
to party goers. And a podcast called
“The Hilarious World of Depression”
attracted millions of downloads with
comedians humorously and seriously
reflecting on mental health.
Depression probably doesn’t leap
into an employer’s mind when they
consider exposures that are driving
their workers’ comp losses. Car
crashes, falls, machinery accidents,
slips, and trips come to mind first.
But the WC industry is learning
BY JOANNA MAKOMASKI
mechanical minds coming at us too fast
maybe? Are we keeping up with this
exponential speed of adoption? Or are
we frozen in fear?
Should we consider a more risk-disciplined pace allowing us to react
and plan for work alternatives before
destroying so many livelihoods? Queen
Elizabeth in 1589 refused to patent a
weaving machine in fear of her subjects
losing their livelihoods. She thus
delayed patenting of these machines
for another 200 years.
Then I remember that only 150
years ago 80 percent of our jobs were
in agriculture, yet today agriculture
accounts for only 2 percent of jobs.
I find this reassuring. Somehow, we
survived and in fact thrive.
But what to do today? Put a
thoughtful pause on advancement
allowing us to catch our breath, or
allow things to unfold unabated?
One thing for sure that is in true need
of speeding up is the conversation
on this. &
JOANNA MAKOMASKI is a specialist in
innovative enterprise risk management
methods and implementation techniques.
She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.