For high risk industries such as manufacturing and construction, Workers’ Compensation insurance is a big portion of the P&L Statement – right behind payroll and employee benefits. Containing costs starts with mitigation and follows through to managing the claims process.
Let’s start at the beginning – the new hire. Best in class companies have well established employment practices, pre-hire screenings, safety programs including ongoing training, and a strict Workers’ Compensation injury reporting policy, process, and procedure.
The safety program, regardless of the industry or level of employee skill is a key step in the mitigation process and cost containment. Good programs adhere to OSHA standards and can easily be followed by employees AND easily be monitored and controlled by supervisors/managers. A strong safety culture starts at the top – meaning leadership must walk the walk. Routine inspections, training, and support are all part of best practices. We strongly suggest having monthly safety training programs or tapping into your insurance broker for suggestions.
Injury reporting policies are the next part of the process. Have ongoing team meetings and emphasize your injury reporting process. Transparency is important. Employees should understand what happens when they are injured, where they go for medical care if it’s not an emergency and what the return to work process looks like. Ideally your company should have a “Go to Person” for all injury reporting, to ensure no gaps in the process. Also keep your insurance broker involved from the very beginning as they can manage the process behind the scenes to ensure claims are being paid in a timely fashion
Communication after the injury. Your company’s Work Comp & Injury process should include a step by step follow up system to ensure open communication with your injured employee. Having a liaison working with the employee and medical care providers will not only speed up the recovery process, but also let’s your employee know you care and are on top of the situation. The last thing you want is a lawsuit to ensue because an employee feels ignored, frustrated or isolated. This also goes back to that upfront communication about your process.
Reviewing your Insurance claims loss run reports. We often find claims that are just sitting on your loss run reports when they should be closed. This happens a lot with bodily injury claims where carriers will hold reserves in the event of future expenses. Again, open communication with your broker is important – keep them updated on the status of your employee. Are they back to work at the same position or a different one? Is their care complete? No detail is too small!
In the end, it comes down to being proactive vs. reactive and having transparent policies and open communication with your team and your insurance broker. Claims management is a huge part of cost containment for your workers comp premium.