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More workers compensation claims in the retail sector occurred in January compared to the busy holiday months of November and December, according to the 2023 AmTrust Retail Risk Report.

Despite retailers typically seeing an influx of seasonal workers during the months of November and December, AmTrust’s report found that the number of injuries that are claimed for every $100,000 of a retailer’s payroll in the United States is 25 percent higher in January.

Currently, there are 4.1 million retail store employees in the U.S.

“In the bustling holiday season of November and December, the paradox of lower retail injuries emerges,” explains Matt Zender, SVP, Workers Compensation Product Manager, AmTrust. “While one might expect injury rates to soar due to the influx of seasonal workers, there’s a hidden dynamic at play. Younger workers, who often comprise a significant portion of the seasonal workforce, might choose not to report minor injuries, relying instead on their health insurance or treating them at home. This reluctance to engage with workers compensation could artificially deflate injury statistics over the holidays.”

Overall, January also had the highest annual number of retail claims, with claims related to strains and falls most likely to occur in that month, the small business insurer found.

The report shows that strains account for 26 percent of claims reported and 29 percent of claims payouts among retail businesses.

Falls were a close second, accounting for 19 percent of claims reported and 27 percent of claims payouts.

Motor vehicle accident claims in the retail sector — at only 2.5 percent of all work-related claims — are far lower than in other sectors yet carry the highest workers compensation claims payout at $20,451, AmTrust found.

“Relatively few employees drive regularly as part of their job responsibilities in retail,” said Zender. “Nevertheless, businesses are wise to take all the necessary precautions when it comes to deliveries and other driving by retail workers since the payout for a strain or fall is between $12,000 and $15,000, while the average claim payout for motor vehicle accidents is much higher at over $20,000.”

AmTrust, the nation’s third largest provider of workers compensation insurance, analyzed more than 42,000 claims that were filed with the company by retailers during the five-year period 2017-2022.

Retail categories in the study include convenience/grocery, meat/fish, hardware, furniture, auto parts, beauty/barber, clothing and dry goods.