The Workers Compensation Insurance Market Can Be Cruel
The workers compensation insurance market can be a really cruel beast. Take for example a client of ours with a pretty sizable payroll (and big premium account) whose workers compensation insurance policy is renewing this month. They hadn’t sustained a work related injury in almost ten years which is a feat in itself considering the risky work they do as seismic retrofitters of unreinforced buildings.
After almost ten years with a clean workers compensation loss history, this client experienced two unexpected employee injuries this year with over $100,000 in claims paid for injuries and disability. This $100k is only a fraction of the premium this client has paid for their workers compensation insurance over the last ten years. However, the current carrier is non-renewing their policy and most other carriers are declining to quote. Funny thing is, these same carriers were begging for a chance to write their renewal in years past. In either case, this is how the workers compensation insurance market works sometimes as harsh as it can be.
Although it’s impossible to completely eliminate employee injuries, there are steps you can take as an employer to help minimize the frequency and severity of injuries:
7 Steps To Manage Workers Compensation Costs
1. Hire responsibly. Employers should take time to find the right employees for the workplace and use tools like employment applications, reference checks, pre-hire drug screens, motor vehicle driving history and background checks.
2. Establish a safety program. Develop policies, procedures and rules. Provide employees with the necessary training, proper tools and personal protective equipment to do their job safely.
3. Enforce safety rules. It is not enough to train employees and provide them with the proper tools. Businesses should routinely remind employees to work safely through the use of workplace audits, safety meetings, toolbox talks and annual training.
4. Provide immediate medical care. Pre-arrange medical facilities for employees in the event of a workplace injury. Be prepared to provide transportation for nonemergency injuries. For emergencies, call 911. Always require a post-accident drug test to be administered.
5. Report all injuries immediately. All injuries should be reported to the insurance carrier within 24 hours of the incident. Ongoing communication with the injured employee and the claims adjuster is extremely important in order to better manage the claim.
6. Investigate all accidents and near misses. Businesses should review accidents to assess what happened and take necessary steps to make sure it does not occur again.
7. Provide transitional modified jobs. Once an employee is released to return to work, businesses should be prepared to offer alternate duty if the employee is not currently able to perform duties required by their position.
These steps don’t have to be taken alone. Talk to your broker or carrier about the resources available to help your business mitigate risk.