Bruce Wood is a recognized expert in national workers' compensation law and policy, including benefit design and delivery, as well as the insurance mechanism. He spent 27 years with the American Insurance Association (AIA), a national property and casualty insurance trade association, headquarted in Washington, D.C. where for the last 20 years he headed the workers' compensation practice in the AIA Law Department. Mr. Wood's prior experience includes serving on the personal staff of a Member of Congress, as Republican Counsel for Labor with the House Education & Labor Committee, deputy director of the Labor Department's Congressional Affairs Office during the Reagan Administration, and Executive Assistant to the Chairman of the National Labor Relations Board. His legislative experience and policy expertise gives him cross-over capabilities, covering both policy and political realms.
At the American Insurance Association, Mr. Wood headed the workers’ compensation practice for 20 years and, as Secretary to AIA’s Workers’ Compensation Committee, was responsible for developing policy and in representing AIA members on legislative and regulatory issues. These responsibilities entailed drafting of legislation and testifying before legislative and regulatory bodies.Mr. Wood also participated in AIA’s amicus curiae program, in identifying issues of policy significance and organizing the filing of amicus briefs before state and federal appellate courts on behalf of its members. This role also extended to managing member-wide litigation, as plaintiffs or defendants, notably on constitutional challenges.
Mr. Wood has a B.A. in Political Science from George Washington University, and a J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He is member of the Virginia, District of Columbia, and Supreme Court Bars.
Mr. Wood advises employers and insurers on policy matters arising under federal and state workers’ compensation systems. His workers’ compensation expertise extends back over 35 years, while working on Capitol Hill, playing a major role in drafting the Longshore & Harbor Workers’ Compensation Amendments of 1984, and participating in policy debates involving the federal Black Lung Act and the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act.
Workers’ compensation is our nation’s oldest social insurance system, now over a century old, with the first workers’ compensation program enacted in Wisconsin in 1911 and thereby predating the enactment of the Social Security Act by 25 years. The workers’ compensation system entails a “grand bargain” between employers and workers. Workers’ compensation is a no fault system whereby the employer promises to pay benefits as required by statute, irrespective of fault – the employer’s, employee’s, co-worker, or third party -- in exchange for a worker giving up his right to sue their employer. Since its inception, workers’ compensation has been a state-based system except for a few federal programs. As an integral element of a state’s economy it is imperative that a state’s workers compensation system remain financially sound – a program that ensures injured workers receive all reasonable and necessary medical treatment and wage replacement, at a price employers can afford. Workers’ compensation public policy must reflect this financial and social balance.