There’s never a shortage of studies, statistics and polls to read, or write, about. And they all seem designed to get the reader to look at things another way.
They are also designed to get you to scratch your head and say to yourself things like “Gee whiz,” “I never knew” or even “Wow.”
As an editor I love studies, statistics and polls. They are easy to write about, and most of the time they garner solid reader interest.
Take a recent poll by insurer Aflac. It shows that only 7 percent of workers in Northern California’s Bay Area “strongly agree” their families would be financially prepared if an emergency were to occur. It also reveals that 63 percent say they have no emergency financial plan at all.
To highlight the high rate of unpreparedness, the survey shows that two-thirds would tap into their savings accounts to pay for an unexpected illness, 26 percent would use a credit card and 15 percent would withdraw funds from their 401(k) account.
Let’s put that in the “Gee whiz” category.
At a recent joint hearing in Sacramento on workers’ compensation in California with the Assembly and Senate statistic after statistic flew out of the mouths of speaker after speaker during the nearly four-hour session.
Some were “Wow” stats that showed how big and unwieldy the state’s workers’ comp system is, while other numbers were seemingly parts of an apparent equation that added up to either more or less than the whole — an idea with which people who deal with workers’ comp are likely more than familiar. And depending on who was giving the stats — applicants’ attorneys, insurers, the medical community, employer representatives — those numbers often showed different entities bearing an unfair share of the burden of a system that appears once again to be broken.
One person stated that workers’ comp medical treatment costs have been rising in excess of 10 percent each year in the wake of a systemic reform spearheaded by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger during his tenure.
Another speaker noted that accident year combined ratios are up around 130 percent, making those ratios well in excess of premiums. Then another speaker noted that injured workers are getting 60 percent less in benefits than in pre-reform era 2003 benefits.
Talk about a system that’s broken. Of course no one wants it fixed on their backs, but all agree comprehensive reform is necessary.
I wonder how many out of 10 people would say they see that happening?