Workers Compensation Adventures from the Last Frontier, part 2: Bugs, and Bears, and Moose! Oh My!

Editor’s note: This is the second entry in a four-part series about Crawford & Company’s claims adjusting work in Alaska submitted by Rose Etheridge, senior claims examiner for Broadspire® in Anchorage, Alaska.

It’s springtime in Alaska, and I’d like to share some stories which involve the wildlife here in Alaska. Over the course of four years we have had claims for injuries that occurred as a result of bears, moose, mosquitoes and sled dogs, just to name a few.

CW bugsBugs

Mosquito swarms occur across Alaska in the spring and summer when the hungry insects hatch. Seasonal swarm strength is dictated by the weather, and conditions this year may have been particularly favorable for the state’s insects. North Slope mosquitoes are aggressive and the largest of their kind, and have been known to drive the direction of caribou herds.

We have had claims for severe allergic reactions due to the number of bites sustained during a five-minute walk from one building to another.

Bears

CW bearsSpringtime also has the added benefit of babies. Not just millions of baby blood-sucking mosquitoes, but also bear cubs and moose calves.

We have had two injuries due to charging sows (mother bears protecting their cubs) and one due to a bear vs. vehicle collision. Because of the proximity of the wilderness, it is not uncommon to have bears showing up on your back porch, crossing the highway or even trying to get into your garbage. Mother bears are extremely protective, even when their babies are not being threatened.

Moose

CW mooseMama bears are not the only springtime mothers we see. There are more than 1000 moose living within Anchorage city limits, and moose encounters are actually more prevalent than bears. Alaska has an average of 25 moose trampling injuries a year, and some of these are considered work-related, especially with employees out in the field.

Moose vs. vehicle accidents occur year-round in Alaska and because of their size 10 percent of those accidents result in the death of a driver or passenger.

In compiling this list of Alaskan animal injuries I actually found I had more than anticipated. Next time we will get to know all about summertime sled dog bites, attacking seagulls and the occasional small water craft vs. whale encounter.

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