Keeping employees safe and managing outcomes once injuries occur are important tasks for employers-and ones where agents and brokers can help if they understand the issues and can bring resources to the table.
There's good reason to do so. "Companies that keep their employees safe can see potential financial savings," says Jim Wucherpfennig, vice president of workers' compensation at Travelers. "U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration data show that some $1 billion is paid by employers in direct workers' compensation costs every week." That's on top of indirect costs resulting from accident investigation, productivity losses, and the need to hire and train replacement employees.
Creating and fostering a culture of workplace safety is a good first step. It's a way of thinking about how you work-a shared vision expressed by the company's core values and behaviors. Weaving safety into the company's mission, policies and procedures demonstrates its importance and helps ensure its effectiveness company-wide. Establishing a safety culture starts with engaging management in creating, planning, implementing and communicating safety programs, and making sure they work and fit the business.
Employees need to play a role. A safety program will be most effective when employees at all levels are involved and trained to work safely. Outline responsibilities and accountability for all employees and make safety goals part of job descriptions and employee reviews. Positive reinforcement of safe behaviors builds a strong safety culture.
Better claims outcomes
Despite solid prevention efforts, injuries happen. Unfortunately, too many employers don't know what to do when an injury occurs, particularly if they rarely have a claim.
Report claims promptly. Carriers can help injured employees get appropriate, quality medical care as quickly as possible, and they can gather information that's useful in adjusting the claim.
The best strategy is to develop a strong return-to-work program. Have some sort of transitional-duty or light-duty programs, and make sure they're working extremely well. If you keep people at work, they'll come back to work. It sounds backwards, but it's absolutely true.
Better claim outcomes start with aggressively managing losses and expenses, implementing strategies to improve adverse claim patterns, and leveraging managed care and claims data to fully understand what's happening with claims.
Use predictive analytics and claim and managed care data to proactively identify claims that produce poorer outcomes. Then let managed care and claims experts partner to make the best decisions to guide injured workers to appropriate treatment with the most efficient and cost-effective providers.
With medical costs now approaching 60% of claims expenses, costs need to be addressed at every stage of a claim.