Can the zany antics of deadbeat employees who dare to collect workers' compensation compete with the white-collar humor of "The Office"? We'll see as production ramps up on "Workers' Comp," a new half-hour sitcom now shooting in Florida.
I blinked twice at the article about it in Insurance Journal. I mean, what could be funnier than a sitcom built around a fictitious family-owned insurance company run by a wacky matriarch (Morgan Fairchild of "Falcon Crest" fame) that ferrets out workers' comp freeloaders? Throw in a Carradine (Robert from "Revenge of the Nerds") and a Soprano (David Proval, who played Richie Aprile) and I'm doubled over already!
The producers say their goal is to provide "insight into the who's-scamming-who" dynamic between insurance companies and claimants, with said insights coming from 19- year old Castille Landon, who stars as Zoe and co-wrote the script based on her family's workers' comp insurance business.
In real life, workers' comp is rarely spit-take funny, whether for the injured worker, the frustrated boss, the phalanx of co-workers who frequently have to pick up the slack or the insurance carrier who must sort out the legitimate claims from the bogus. Our current economic uncertainty and high unemployment rates jack up the tension on all fronts.
A few LJ readers shared my skepticism that this show at this time may not be hilarious:
"Why do I get the feeling this show will do little to dispel the 'Insurance Companies are Crooks' mindset of the American public?" said one.
"WC in not a laughing matter," wrote another. "We have a new client who has a landscaping business who had a $125,000 claim because one of his employees tore his Achilles tendon. No laughing matter indeed. Now his rates went skyrocketing and he's out there shopping for a better rate."
And a third: "Most claims ARE NOT fraudulent, but many insurance carriers commit fraud upon the innocent victims of occupational injuries and hide behind the premise of litigation privilege to shield them from any criminal charges. By the insurance industry's own admission injured worker fraud is less than 1 percent. So why don’t we hear about the other 99 percent. It’s all about the money!"
What do you think? Is it high time we injected some levity into the workers' comp dysphoria? Or is this a classic case of bad taste and timing?
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