With my penchant for (relative) accuracy and insistence on (somewhat) verifiable facts, I cannot believe this happened. But it apparently did, and a public apology is due. In my campaign to get states to stop their dependence on social security numbers for everything from claim management to hall passes and beverage cart discounts, I omitted giving credit to the state of Illinois for their responsible behavior in this area.

By now, many of you know I was a recent victim of identity theft. That experience, where my full personal information including social security number was compromised, led me to more closely examine how the workers’ compensation industry uses and abuses the same type of critical information. We conducted an analysis of state workers’ comp forms, and I have written follow up articles detailing the good, the bad and the ugly. It is while I was writing the “ugly” article that I noticed an omission made earlier in the series.

As part of that post I listed the results for all the states; how many forms they have and how many of those call for full social security numbers. The audit also disclosed how many forms in each state ask for just the last 4 digits, a common practice being adopted in many industries these days. It was while I was posting and reviewing those that I noticed my error.

The State of Illinois, with 71 workers’ compensation forms, only has 2 forms that require a full social security number. That gives them, as a percentage of total forms, the third lowest percentage in the nation. Yet even though they were among the best three in the nation using that metric, I failed to mention them in the “Good” category.

I sincerely and humbly apologize for the mistake. I assure you, someone will be held accountable for not preventing my error.

This is even more poignant, as Illinois’ reputation is constantly being battered by media and industry alike. I’ve taken my share of potshots at the state. And dammit, when they actually get something right, we should darn well give them credit for it.

I recognize that the folks of Illinois, a state that former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels once referred to as “that dysfunctional family down the street”, are not used to accepting accolades. Therefore, I shall pause a moment to allow them a moment to bask in the unique feeling of success and positivity…………..

Only 1.4% of Illinois workers’ compensation forms ask for a full social security number. To give you an idea of how significant this is, you should compare this to other useful statistics in the state:

  • You have a better chance of getting shot at a child’s birthday party in Chicago than having your social security number compromised by an Illinois WC form.
  • More Illinois Governors have gone to prison than the total number of workers’ comp forms asking for this personal info.
  • Your chance of getting delayed at O’Hare are 4,028% greater than having your identity stolen from an Illinois workers’ comp form.
  • The odds of getting stuck in an endless traffic jam on the Kennedy are, well, absolute, so no percentages were available – but that isn’t the case with identity compromise from Illinois forms.
  • The Cubbies probably even have a better chance at winning the World Series, although as I think about it that might be a bad example.

I am sure that somewhere out there in darkened cubicles actuary minded individuals are working the math on the statistics I just outlined. Don’t bother. I would refer you to my previously mentioned penchant for (relative) accuracy and insistence on (somewhat) verifiable facts.

Just trust me. This all works as long as you don’t look too closely.

So, I again extend my apologies to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. You are not only right on this issue, you are leading the nation along with Maine and Connecticut. I regret that you were not included in the original list, but rest assured we want to make it right. I further assure you that I will find somebody to blame for my egregious mistake.

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