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AmTrust’s 2022 Report Reveals What’s Contributing to the Rise in Restaurant Worker Claims
By Lonce Lamonte - January 7, 2023

After restaurant workers’ compensation claims increased as restaurants reopened after the COVID-19 shutdowns, staffing shortages, turnover, and new hires contributed to the upswing according to a report from AmTrust Financial Services.

A senior vice-president at AmTrust, Matt Zender, said AmTrust knew the pandemic was having a major effect in the restaurant industry and it showed in some of the numbers.

The AmTrust report from 2022 found that over 10 years and 170,000 claims that injuries like crushing, fainting, inflammation,,,,, strains, and mental stress were noticeably higher compared to pre-pandemic numbers.

Matt Zenter told the magazine Business Insurance that there was a drop in frequency of claims from the restaurant sector during the pandemic but the bounce back was higher than anticipated.  This was due to many workers being now in their jobs, which led to more claims and also different ones.

Mental stress claims ascended 70% above pre-COVID levels in the year 2021.  That was the highest on record. 

These claims varied by state, according to Zender.  Some states had a clear path towards comprehensibility on what constitutes mental stress while other states did not.

But, on the average, Zender said an increase in mental stress claims accurred.  The pandemic had an effect no only in physical ways, but in mental ways as well.  He told Business Insurance, “Workers had to deal with stressors that left them ill-equipped to deal with certain situations.”

In the AmTrust report, the four most common causes of injury claims along with their average payouts were:  cuts, punctures, and scrapes $1,529; slips and falls $10,041; strains $9,277; and burns or scalding injuries $3,160. 

Cuts, punctures and scrapes from knives and other sharp kitchen objects occurred most frequently, falls from slippery or wet surfaces as well as movement around dining tables added four times more in claims costs.

Claims from muscle strains went up 32% compared to pre-pandemic levels.  This could be from workers jumping straight back into physically demanding work after long restaurant closures.

Mike Zender compared this to what could happen if an athlete were on injury leave and then immediately jumped back into play.  One needs to work oneself back into shape.

Zender suggested underwriters should also look at employees’ tenure when they assess restaurant exposure.  Restaurants also should leverage an important step in their hiring process:  onboarding.

“(Onboarding is) the first opportunity to let employees know who you are and what makes your restaurant special, because it’s an extremely competitive space,” he asserted

 

Lonce Lamonte, journalist, lonce@adjustercom.com. 

 

 

 
 

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