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Some thoughts on California’s climate

I’ve heard it said that if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.  Perhaps California’s kitchen has the heat a little too high for a business-friendly climate?

CNN Money has an article that speaks to this.  The doom-and-gloom headline: “California companies fleeing the Golden State.”  Business friendly states are offering their advantages to court California business,Arizona in particular “is trying to capitalize on [companies finding ways to reduce their costs] by promoting its lower workers compensation and unemployment insurance.”

In a similar vein, the Insurance Journal has an article about the 3% increase in California Workers’ Compensation loss and expense payments.  This shows an increase of 3% to over 11 billion for the industry.  Now, my fingers only go up to 10, so instead of counting I’ll just summarize and say that this is a lot of money.  If you are an employer in California, including a city, or state employer, you bled into the river that gushed 11 billion dollars strong in 2010.

Once, the generally accepted method of blood-letting was thought to cure many ills.  We now know that bleeding patients to death was not the best treatment for their ailments.  Sadly, this lesson is not learned with bleeding California’s employers.

Aside from heavy Workers’ Compensation costs, organizations such as the California Applicants’ Attorneys Association are throwing their weight behind Senate Bill 432, requiring hotels to use fitted sheets and long-handled mops for hotel housekeepers.  Perhaps a law requiring all work to be done by robots would eliminate the risk of any injury?  Of course, the law would not need to be implemented as its passage would scatter California’s employers to the four winds before it could be implemented, and no employees would get hurt because there would be no employees in California.

There are several more articles along these lines: taxing, regulating and scaring away business from California.

California’s employers and businesses put their resources and votes behind Workers’ Compensation Reform and produced the victory that is SB-899.  Because of this, Workers’ Compensation defense attorneys and adjusters have a lot more tools at their disposal for defending against fraudulent and excessive claims.

But something is different in the atmosphere now – it is no longer 2005, and the roster of self-insured employers shows more subsidiaries but fewer new members.

The courts have chipped away at the crown jewel of SB-899: the adoption of the AMA Guides, bringing order and predictability to the rating of impairment, has been gutted by Almaraz even with the limiting aspects of Guzman III.

Now, perhaps, California’s employers are finding it better to vote with their feet than with their dollars, and move to cooler climates: ones with cooler heads and colder shoulders when it comes to crippling taxes and debilitating regulations.

I for one do not want my job shipped to Texas or Arizona or any other place that would require me to move to follow it.  I’m guessing I’m not the only Californian to feel that way.

So I’m committed to doing what I do best – fighting tooth and nail to make sure employers and their insurers don’t have to shed a drop of blood more than what’s ordered by the good doctor(s), and sometimes even persuading the good doctors to order less.  Are you going to help me turn down the heat on California business?

Categories: News
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  1. August 17, 2011 at 8:10 am

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