Workers’ Compensation 101: What Can You Do to Control Your Costs?

This month, OneGroup hosted another 101 Series Webinar. President, Chris Mason spoke about the sometimes-confusing world of workers’ compensation, gave tips on claims, and how to control your costs.  

Typical workers’ compensation claims cover lost wages from time off work and medical benefits associated with the injury. Workers’ compensation can sometimes be described as having a “long-tail”, this is because some injuries can have a lifetime of implications and the claim stretches over a long period of time. 

Although workers’ compensation protects both the employee and the employer, the employer is the most influential stakeholder in a workers’ compensation claim. The way that the employer handles the situation and workers’ compensation claim can have a large impact on the outcome of the claim. 

How Can You Control Your Costs? 

Invest in safety programs. Train employees and managers in workplace safety. Both in the office and in the work environment from home. With our world rapidly changing in the technology sphere, work from home employees, and an increase in independent contractors, workers’ compensation claims can get tricky. Work from home employees are not exempt from worker’s compensation claims simply because they do not work in an office. For example, if an individual is working from home and gets up to answer the phone, trips over their cat and injures themselves, that may be a workers’ compensation claim. 

Engage your team. Include company workers’ compensation reports in management meetings. Implement supervisor training on how to report and prevent claims. Implement an injury reporting system. This will encourage employees to become comfortable reporting claims. Encourage open conversations with your employees about workers’ compensation and what you can do to prevent injuries.  

Encourage prompt reporting. Prompt reporting can reduce claims costs dramatically. Many employees injured on the job who are not aware of the importance of prompt reporting hire workers’ compensation attorneys. This can increase your total costs by 51% (2015 study by National Council on Compensation Insurance).  

Encourage prompt reporting not only with employees but with supervisors as well. 

The use of Contractual Risk Transfer. In some workers’ compensation cases where a third party is involved, workers’ compensation costs can be mitigated significantly. When third parties provide services for your company (i.e. snow plowing, parking lot work, landscaping, etc.), contractual risk transfer can be used to have risk transferred to that third party in the presence of a workers’ compensation claim.  

Best Practices for Employers Facing a Workers’ Compensation Claim  

Understand what you as the employer need to do to get the injured employee back to work. Accommodate the employees process to return to work. Make it clear that you as their employer will make the process as smooth as possible. If the employee can return to work within 7 days – there is no lost time paid by the employer. If the injured employee can return to work with light-duty work, do so. Some light-duty work can include taking inventories, performing office tasks, as well as supervising and reporting on job sites.  

Stay connected with the injured employee. Reach out and see how they are doing, send them and their family a card, offer to be a part of the claims process – as an employer, you are allowed to attend hearings. Most importantly, treat the injured worker with dignity and respect.

Understand where and when your claims are occurring. Use data from your carrier or broker to understand where the claims are occurring, the types of claims that are occurring (i.e. slip, trip, fall, etc.), and the category and tenure of the employees getting injured. This will help you identify trends and institute better safety measures and prevention training.   

Additional Thoughts Regarding Workers’ Compensation 

You are statutorily required to have workers’ compensation insurance if your organization is larger than one employee. 

When it comes to calculating your Experience Modification, frequency of claims and having lots of small claims will weigh heavier than severity of injury and having few large claims.  

All workers’ compensation claims are on a case-by-case basis. Please reach out to an expert with any questions regarding workers’ compensation and risk management. 

If you have questions regarding the webinar or workers’ compensation, please email or submit a quote form here to be connected to one of our experts. Another great resource Chris mentioned for trends and information on workers’ compensation is the New York Compensation Insurance Rating Board

OneGroup is looking forward to the next 101 Series Webinar, Personal Insurance 101, on August 7, 2024 from 9:30AM-10:30AM EST. Personal insurance experts Kimberly Hendrick and David Weaver will discuss the value and importance of an umbrella policy, personal insurance claims, and how to save money on insurance – the smart way. Register for OneGroup’s next webinar here

This content is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing professional, financial, medical or legal advice. You should contact your licensed professional to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Please refer to your policy contract for any specific information or questions on applicability of coverage.

Please note coverage can not be bound or a claim reported without written acknowledgment from a OneGroup Representative.