Workers’ Compensation premiums are on the rise in most states and, as a result, business owners have to budget for these increases regardless of how little their actual bottom lines may have grown. The reason for the increase is due to the rise in what the average employee injury costs an insurance company. Industry trade periodicals report that in the last twenty years the cost has risen 67% and is expected to go to 80% by the year 2015.
Due to a new method in calculating experience modifiers, the cost of Workers’ Compensation is due to continue increasing. The fix for employers is to enlist the aid of their insurance agents to exercise greater control over Workers’ Compensation costs by reviewing their existing policies with an eye toward the following:
1-Review classification of employees to ensure that employees are being classified according to the work they perform;
2-Making sure that employees are actually fit to do the job they have been hired to do by submitting to a physical examination on an annual basis;
3-Ensuring that all employees receive proper training in the use and maintenance of all equipment to be used on the job;
4-Maintaining a safety conscious workplace where everyone is concerned not only about their own welfare, but about the welfare of other workers as well;
5-If an employee is injured, making sure that a report is made and that injuries are treated without delay;
6-Instituting a return to work program for injured employees so they can get back to their jobs as soon as possible and discourage any malingering;
7-Employers should have relationships with medical personnel who understand the nature of the employer’s business and have some familiarity with the process of Workers’ Compensation claim handling. Such medical support can direct an injured worker to physical therapy as an adjunct to their recuperation and this, too, speeds up the process of returning to work.
As is usually the case, an educated consumer can usually make better decisions concerning all their business needs and Workers’ Compensation is no exception.
By Karen Skoler, CPCU