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Hearing Loss Safety & Workers Comp Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Nov 12, 2017

Hearing loss can impact the cost of workers compensation insurance. Contact us to lower your workers comp costs in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Lancaster, Allentown, PA, NJ, DE and beyond.Hearing is one of those things that many people take for granted … until it’s gone.

A Chronic Condition

Hearing loss is the third most common chronic physical condition in American adults – following hypertension and arthritis. Hearing loss is even more common than vision trouble.

Approximately 11% of US workers have hearing difficulty, and about 24% of that hearing difficulty is caused by occupational exposures according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

Hearing loss can also lead to miscommunication and accidents, potentially harming employees while driving up workers compensation insurance costs.

20 Million in Workforce Affected

There are more than 20 million people in the U.S. workforce currently experiencing hearing loss, and it’s affecting their jobs and costing businesses money. Any worker can suffer work-related hearing loss, but the top industries include construction, carpentry, mining, entertainment, military, and agricultural according to Healthy Hearing.

Impact of Hearing Loss

According to the CDC, Hearing loss can lead to miscommunications and depression. It has also been associated with cognitive decline and heart problems. Hearing loss can affect safety within the workplace, and the Better Hearing Institute found that workers with hearing loss are five times more likely to take sick days due to severe stress.

Epic Hearing Healthcare says, “… when workers have trouble following conversations, misunderstand what is being said, or pretend to hear things that they don’t hear, it can negatively affect the worker’s productivity and the company’s bottom line. Untreated hearing loss affects companies – whether through lost productivity or increased healthcare costs.”

Causes of Hearing Loss

The causes of hearing loss in the workplace include loud noises and chemicals that cause damage to the inner ear (ototoxic chemicals). When sound reaches 85 decibels or higher or if a person needs to raise their voice to speak to someone who is three feet away, noise is considered potentially harmful. Ototoxic chemicals include organic solvents like trichloroethylene, heavy metals like mercury and lead, and asphyxiants like carbon monoxide.

Approximately 30 million U.S. workers are exposed to dangerous noise levels or ototoxic chemicals.

How To Prevent or Minimize Hearing Loss

The good news is that much of this hearing loss is preventable. NIOSH has created a hierarchy of controls:

  1. Prevent or contain the escape of the hazardous workplace agent at its source (engineering control),
  2. control exposure by relocating the worker to a safe area (administrative controls),
  3. and control the exposure with barriers between the worker and the hazard (personal protective equipment).

Here are a few simple steps recommended by the CDC to reduce your employees’ risk for hearing loss:

  1. Use quieter equipment and keep equipment well maintained and lubricated.
  2. Put a barrier between employee and the source or enclose the source completely
  3. Increase distance between employee and source
  4. Reduce employee’s time in noisy areas
  5. Provide and enforce the use of hearing protection in noisy areas.
  6. Educate your employees about noise hazards

Here are tips to reduce hearing loss due to exposure to ototoxic chemicals:

  1. Use a less-toxic or non-toxic chemical
  2. Provide and enforce the use of gloves, eye protection, respirator and other protective equipment as appropriate.
  3. Follow all chemical safety instructions.

Hearing Loss Prevention Program Benefits

According to the CDC, “A successful hearing loss prevention program benefits both the company and the affected employee. Employees are spared disabling hearing impairments, and evidence suggests that they may experience less fatigue and generally better health. Ultimately, the company benefits from reduced medical expenses and worker compensation costs. In some cases, there may be improved morale and work efficiency.”

Contact Us For Advice on Reducing Workers Compensation Insurance Costs 

To learn more about workplace safety and ways to save on workers compensation insurance costs, give American Insuring Group a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or Contact Us Online. We specialize in workers comp insurance for employers in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey.

Our independent agents will shop and compare competing insurers to find a policy that meets your needs at the best price possible. Contact us today to learn more!

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp costs

Workers Comp: 3 Keys to Effective Return-to-Work Programs

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Nov 05, 2017

Tips to reduce the cost of your return-to-work programs while reducing workers compensation insurance costsSome companies believe that taking the time to develop a return-to-work (RTW) program for injured employees costs more than its worth.

Some don’t think they have enough injuries to justify the cost of an RTW program, or they don’t think they have any “light duty” jobs available.

Some employers just don’t like the idea of paying an employee their full salary for doing light-duty work.

 

Studies Prove Return-to-Work Programs are Effective

But studies have shown that getting an injured employee back to work as quickly and safely as possible is the best approach for both the employee and the company. Return-to-work programs save employers on medical costs, lost time days, and workers compensation insurance costs. These programs can even reduce the number of lawsuits, wage replacement costs, and productivity losses.

The longer an injured employee is out of work, the less likely they’ll be to return to work and the more it costs the employer. Return-to-work programs reduce the length of claims and help injured employees recover more quickly.

RTW programs show that the employer cares about the well-being of the employer and wants to help them get back to work. And getting an employee back to work can help lift the injured employee’s spirits and the morale of their co-workers.

 

Keep Your RTW Program Simple and Cost-Effective

Despite common misconceptions, back-to-work programs don’t need to be costly or complicated.

First, you’ll want to work with your managers, supervisors, and insurance agent to ascertain if specific jobs are more prone to injuries, approximately how many injuries occur within your company each year, and how your injury stats compare with others in your industry.

Once you have this information, work with your insurer and possibly a trusted physician to develop a return-to-work program that fits your company.

 

Here are 3 Components of an Effective Return-to-Work Program:

  1. The Right Medical Providers
    You want to find medical providers who are on the same page as you. You want them to focus on what an injured employee can do, rather than what they can’t do, and you want the provider’s focus to be on safely returning the employee to work as quickly as possible.

  2. Communication
    Every employee should know that there is a return-to-work program in place and that it is followed. They should be familiar with the details of the program. And all employees should understand that the company’s goal is to return an injured employee to work as soon as it’s safe to do so – even if that means a light-duty job.

  3. Alternative Jobs
    You should have a list of light-duty jobs that may be appropriate for someone who is injured. Most companies have tasks that need to be done or activities that once completed could make other jobs easier or improve production, but these tasks or activities aren’t done because there isn’t time or manpower to do them. These tasks may be perfect for an injured employee. When the time comes, discuss the possibilities with the injured employee to see what would be a good fit with their abilities and their medical restrictions.

Taking the time to develop a return-to-work program for your company – no matter how big or small it is – can help your business reduce costs.

 

We Can Help You Lower Your Costs

Trusted Choice Independent Insurance Agents Specializing in Workers Compensation Insurance in Reading, Philadelphia, Harriburg, Altoona, Allentown, State College, Lancaster, York, PA and beyond. Contact Us.American Insuring Group can assist you in creating an effective return-to-work program that works for you and your employees.

Our Independent Agents can also help lower the cost of your Workers Compensation Insurance. So give us a call at (800)947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or contact us online to start saving.

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp costs, Return-To-Work Programs

The #1 Factor Affecting Workers Compensation Outcomes

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Sep 16, 2017

Reduce Workers Compensation Insurance Fraud by Building Trust. Serving Philadelphia, Lancaster, Reading, Allentown, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Erie, PA and beyond.Trust… What is trust? Merriam Webster defines it as “one in which confidence is placed” or “assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something.”

But what does trust have to do with workers’ compensation claims? EVERYTHING!

Studies have found that the biggest single factor that determines the success or failure of a workers’ compensation insurance claim is trust between the injured employee and his or her employer. And that trust (or lack of trust) begins as soon as the claim is reported (often before).

Workers Compensation Insurance Fraud is Rare. Surprised? 

Now, you may be thinking that there are so many cases of Workers Compensation Insurance fraud that you can’t trust anyone. We have an interesting statistic for you: studies show that only 1 to 2 percent of all workers' compensation claims are fraudulent. That means 98 to 99 percent are legitimate. So, yes there should be a thorough investigation of every claim, but you should also give your employees the benefit of the doubt. After all, trust is a two-way street.

How to Build Trust

Here are two areas that employers should focus on when trying to develop trust, plus one magic question that can help lead to a mutually successful claim.

#1. Work on The Employee / Supervisor Relationship

Research has shown that a supervisor’s response to an injured worker at the moment the claim is reported is key to building trust, and once trust is lost, it’s very difficult (if not impossible) to get it back.

If the supervisor responds with blame or anger by saying something like “What did you do to cause the injury?” there will be an immediate lack of trust. Perhaps even worse is expressing apathy with something like “You’re not hurt; get back to work.” Both of these show a lack of trust in the employee and puts them immediately on the defense.

If the supervisor responds positively by taking every workers’ compensation claim seriously and by showing genuine concern for the employee’s well-being, trust is built. And with trust you will have a significantly better claim outcome.

Supervisors should continue to leverage that trust by following up with a call or a visit to the hospital the day of the injury to let the injured employee know how sorry they are that he or she got hurt and how eager they are for the employee to return to work. Follow this up with a get well card signed by the supervisor and the injured employee’s co-workers. Again, say something like, “We’re so sorry that you got hurt. We look forward to seeing you back at work.”

The supervisor should continue to solidify that trusting relationship over time with weekly conversations reaffirming that they care about the employee’s well-being. These discussions also allow the supervisor to assess the attitude of the injured employee, how their medical treatment is going, and how their transitional duty job (if there is one) is going.

#2. Work On The Employee / Insurance Adjuster Relationship

First impressions are crucial. If you present a positive reaction to an injured employee during the first interaction, it’s much easier to build that trust. The adjuster should avoid using insurance jargon, such as “adjudication” and avoid calling the injured worker the “claimant."

And remember that this is probably the employee’s first workers comp insurance claim, so they probably don’t understand the process, what is going to happen, or what they need to do. It’s up to the adjuster to guide them through the process as a trusted advisor. If the injured employee believes their rights are not being protected, they will call an attorney, which often makes a claim even more complicated and more costly.

#3. Ask The “Magic” Question

One of the most powerful questions you can ask an injured employee is, “Do you think you will be back to work within four weeks without any restrictions?” If they say no, ask them why and offer additional resources and support. If they answer yes, they’ve set the expectation in their mind, which will drive them back to work more quickly. This question helps builds trust and should be asked with every Workers’ Compensation claim.

This may sound like a lot of work, but if you want to resolve workers’ compensation claims quickly and minimize your workers’ compensation insurance claims costs, these are necessary actions.

Contact Us To Learn More About Workers Comp Insurance 

A Trusted Choice Independent PA Workers Comp Insurance AgencyTo learn more about saving on workers compensation insurance, contact American Insuring Group online or call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848.

Our independent insurance agents are motivated to help you save on the best workers comp plans from reliable insurers.Best of all, as independents we are free to shop among lots of competing insurance providers, so you can be confident of getting a great price on the right coverage!

For helpful tips and plenty of insightful blog posts on the topic, visit our Workers Compensation Insurance page.

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp costs

Workers Comp Insurance Fraud? Try This

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Sep 03, 2017

Tips for Investigating PA Workers Compensation Insurance FraudThe majority of workers’ compensation insurance claims are legitimate, and if an employee is injured on the job, they are entitled to the medical care and indemnity benefits stated in the workers’ compensation statutes. Unfortunately, there are also a number of fraudulent workers’ compensation claims every year.

Workers Compensation Insurance Fraud Statistics

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) estimates that workers’ compensation insurance fraud costs the insurance industry $7.5 billion every year, which in turn drives up the cost of workers’ compensation premiums. This doesn’t even take into account the cost of replacing the “injured” employee, training a new employee, overtime, and even a decrease in employee morale and productivity.

“Workers’ comp fraud is a large crime in America today,” according to the Coalition Against Fraud Insurance. “Scams are forcing premiums higher — draining business profits and costing honest workers their pay and jobs.”

Tips for Investigating Workers Comp Insurance Claims

Yet, many employers don’t investigate workers’ compensation claims properly. There is one simple thing every employer can and should do immediately following an accident or injury: collect written incident reports from the injured employee and any witnesses.

The injured employee should provide a written description of the incident including details of the accident, what caused the injury, the nature and scope of the injury, and what the employee thinks could be done to prevent the accident from happening again because.

Here’s why:

  1. Immediately following an incident, the employee should be able to recall the accident or injury more accurately than they could months or years later.

  2. Having the details of the accident in writing will discourage the employee from embellishing the details later, and having documentation of exactly which body parts were injured, limits the employee’s ability to add additional body parts to the claim at a later time. Tales do tend to grow taller on down the line.

  3. Often, if a claim is questionable, the adjuster will take a recorded statement from the employee. A written report allows them to compare the two reports to look for deviations. In this interview, the adjuster may also ask if the employee has any prior claims, accidents, and any prior injuries to the same body part.

Keeping the WC Claims Process Honest

The bottom line is that knowing that an employer has the details of the incident written in the employees’ own words goes a long way to help keep an injured employee honest.

Obtaining a written report from every witness immediately following the incident will help provide additional information about the accident and the extent of the injuries. Employers should be cautious of any accidents that have no witnesses or that the only witnesses are friends of the injured employee.

The employee’s supervisor or someone familiar with the work process should review the reports to confirm the accuracy of the information, and those reports should be given to the workers’ compensation adjuster. The employer should also provide information to the adjuster about any previous workers’ compensation claims, any other accidents or injuries the employee has incurred in the past, and any strenuous activities, sports, or hobbies the employee participates in.  

Create a Standard Protocol for Investigating Workers Comp Accidents

Having an established protocol for investigating accidents can help ensure that the proper steps are taken each time. It’s important that you react quickly to an accident or injury, capture the details quickly, and take the right actions to investigate the claim. Doing this will help limit the ability of dishonest employees to exploit legitimate workers’ compensation claims and help you keep workers’ compensation costs down.

How to Get the Best PA Workers Comp Insurance Coverage

Contact us for tips in preventing WC insurance fraud and for the best WC insurance protection in PA.To learn more about protecting your company against WC insurance fraud or your workers compensation insurance coverage options, you can reach us via our Contact Page or call American Insuring Group at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848.

Our independent agents are ready to help you get affordable insurance protection. We'll drive down your cost by comparing prices and coverages among lots of competing WC insurance carriers. Don't delay - contact us today and start saving!

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp, workers comp insurance, PA Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp costs, WC Insurance

INFOGRAPHIC: Opioid Epidemic & Workers Comp Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Jul 23, 2017

You’ve probably heard that the United States is in the middle of an opioid overdose epidemic. Opioids - a class of drugs that include both heroin and prescription pain relievers such as oxycodone, codeine, and fentanyl - are being prescribed at an alarming rate and too often those prescriptions are leading to opioid addiction and even death. Workers compensation insurance costs are, of course, impacted by the epidemic.

INFOGRAPHIC:
The Opioid Overdose Epidemic And Workers Compensation Insurance

INFOGRAPHIC- The Opioid Overdose Epidemic And Workers Compensation Insurance. Contact American Insuring Group, Ltd for all your Workers' Compensation Insurance needs.

 

259 Million Opiod Prescriptions in the US?

The American Society of Addiction Medicine reported that in 2012, 259 million prescriptions were written for opioids, which is more than enough to give every American adult their own bottle of pills!

Opioid abuse impacts workers compensation insurance costs. Contact us for affordable PA workers compensation insurance.The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported that every day, over 1,000 people are treated in emergency departments for misusing prescription opioids, and in 2014, almost 2 million Americans abused or were dependent on prescription opioids.

“Opioids were involved in the overdose deaths of more than 33,000 Americans in 2015, nearly quadruple the number from the year 2000 and more than any year on record,” according to the CDC.

The Impact on Your Workers Compensation Insurance

There is no denying that the human costs of this epidemic are tragic, but have you ever considered what this epidemic is costing your business? The CDC reports that the side effects of opioids – drowsiness, mental confusion, depression, nausea, etc. - can increase the risk of workplace incidents, errors and injury. In 2013, the estimated lost productivity for people in the United States with opioid use disorder totaled $20.4 billion and a cost of $29 billion in increased health care and substance abuse treatment.

60% of Injured Workers May be Addicted to Opiods

According to the International Risk Management Institute, Inc. (IRMI), 5,000 employees a week are injured and disabled for at least a week and pain management is often part of their treatment. The CDC reported that in 2011 approximately 25 percent of workers compensation prescription drug claim costs were for opioids. IRMI says, “While reliable data showing the proportion of injured workers that may be addicted to opioids is hard to find, it is estimated around 60 percent of all those prescribed.“

Reducing the Human and Financial Impact of Opiod Abuse

At the 2017 Workers Compensation Research Institute Conference earlier this year, experts provided two recommendations to reduce the human and financial impact of this epidemic.

  1. Mandate for Physicians to check Prescription Drug Monitoring Data

Kentucky, which was has been at the epicenter of the opioid drug problem and opioid overdose deaths, became the first state (2012) to require physicians to search patients’ prescription drug histories on an electronic database - Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) - before prescribing opioid painkillers, sedatives or other potentially harmful and addictive drugs. According to a former employee at the Kentucky Department of Workers Compensation Claims, this one step had the biggest impact. Since then, fifteen more states – including Pennsylvania – have instituted the same mandate.

  1. Alternative Pain Treatment

The current medical model for the treatment of pain isn’t working because it doesn’t consider the biopsychosocial factors of pain management. This includes “biological factors (genetic, biochemical, etc.), psychological factors (mood, personality, behavior, etc.), and social factors (cultural, familial, socioeconomic, medical, etc.),” according to John W. Santrock, Ph.D. Some popular options for pain management include mindfulness and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

When it comes to Workers’ Compensation claims taking a collaborative approach that includes a variety of experts, different pain management approaches, and the injured worker has shown to be more effective in reducing medical costs and in getting employees back to work more quickly.

 

Don't Overpay for Worker's Compensation Insurance - Contact Us

To learn how we can help you save on workers compensation insurance, contact American Insuring Group online or call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848. Our independent insurance agents will check for the best rates among many competing insurance carriers. You'll get a quality policy at a geat rate.

Contact us today to start saving!

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp, workers comp insurance, PA Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp costs, Insurance Infographics, Workers Compensation Insurance Infographics

5 Common Workers Compensation Questions

Posted by David Ross on Thu, Jun 22, 2017

Recently, I learned of a book called Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die. It refers to a phenomenon called “the curse of knowledge,” which states that “when we know something, it becomes hard for us to imagine not knowing it.

As a result, we become lousy communicators.”

Tips for proper communications during the Worker Comp Insurance claims process in Philadelphia, Lancaster, Reading, Allentown, Harriburg, Pittsburgh, PA and beyond.This “curse” often affects individuals who work with the workers’ compensation insurance claim process, which can be quite complicated – especially to an injured worker who has never filed a claim.

Here are 5 Common Questions an Injured Worker May Have When Filing a Workers Comp Claim

  1. How and when will I get paid, and how much 
    will I get paid?

If the case is determined to be compensable (which usually takes a week or two to a month or so), the injured employee will receive a check (which is typically about 66-80% of their net pay) either by mail or direct deposit every week or two. A payment from Workers Comp is not taxable income, so the employee will not receive a W2 for this payment.

  1. What physician can I go to?

This can vary by jurisdiction, but generally after a certain period of time, the injured employee can go to his or her primary care physician, and usually, the first appointment will be paid for by the insurance company handling the claim. Whether or not they can continue with their primary care physician will be determined by two things: 1) if the adjuster authorizes it and 2) if the doctor accepts workers compensation patients.

  1. Why isn’t my adjuster more attentive?

Just because the adjuster doesn’t return a call immediately, it doesn’t mean that the injured worker isn’t important to them. Most adjusters handle hundreds of workers compensation cases at the same time – all at different stages in the process and all of varying complexity. Advise your employee to try to be patient and give the adjuster a day or two to return the call; however, if they’ve left several messages and a few days go by, suggest that they call and ask for a supervisor. Every adjuster is obligated to return calls from the cases they are handling and can incur penalties or fines if they fail to return calls within a reasonable amount of time.

  1. Can a light duty job pay less than my regular job?

Yes, it can, but the insurance carrier will take the reduced wages the injured employee earns and issue a supplemental check for the difference. That amount can vary depending on the jurisdiction the claim is made in.

  1. Should I contact an attorney?

Only the injured employee can answer this question. They can speak with a lawyer without filing a lawsuit against their employer, and if talking with a legal professional helps put them at ease, then they should do so.

Don't Assume - Think Before You Communicate About Workers Compensation Claims

Don’t fall prey to “the curse of knowledge.” Remember that this may be the first and only time an employee files a workers compensation insurance claim, and they may have questions. Do your best to answer their questions, and when in doubt, reach out to his or her adjuster for clarification.

 

Are You Paying Too Much for PA Workers Compensation Insurance? We Can Help!

To learn more about saving on workers compensation insurance, contact American Insuring Group online or call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848. Our independent agents will compare policies from competing insurers to find the best insurance at the best price. Call or click today to start saving.

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp, workers comp insurance, PA Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp costs

Reduce Workers Comp Costs with the Right Attorney

Posted by David Ross on Thu, May 25, 2017

Choosing the right attorney can help lower your workers compensation insurance costs. Call us for workers compensation insurance in Reading, Philadelphia, Lehigh Valley, Allentown, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, PA and beyond.Reviewing defense attorneys and panels should be done on an ongoing basis because choosing the wrong workers compensation defense attorney for your business can cause missed opportunities, unnecessary litigation costs, and time. Just because you’ve built a relationship with one attorney doesn’t make him or her the best choice to defend your workers compensation insurance claim.

You can start by looking at an attorney’s reputation, but you also need to find someone with workers compensation experience and a familiarity with your industry and someone who meets the objectives of your program.

So what should you look for in a good workers compensation defense attorney?

1. Outside-the-box Thinker
There are a lot of different ways to handle a workers comp claim, so first you need to look for someone who can think outside the box. Yes, they need to understand the basics and be able to evaluate the situation based on criteria related to the statute and be able to interpret the case law. But they also need to be able to look at the claim from different angles to develop the right strategies to resolve your case. You want someone who will consider all potential defenses, analyze how each of those defenses may play out, and develop creative solutions to complex problems.

2. Honest Assessments
It’s important to understand that the workers compensation system is inherently biased toward the employee, which means that most cases that go to court will end in an award to the employee. A good WC attorney will understand that and only recommend taking cases to court that you have a chance of winning. Otherwise, they should recommend settling on those cases that there is little chance of winning and make sure that those settlements are fair. You want your case to be resolved as quickly and fairly as possible.

3. Excellent Communication
This may seem obvious, but it is often overlooked. First, you’ll want an attorney that asks you lots of questions and takes the time to understand your industry, your business (including what your employees do), and your goals. You’ll want an attorney who responds quickly to your inquiries and provides regular updates that include an honest analysis of the claim, detailed information about their “plan of attack,” and status reports.

Here are 9 questions to ask before hiring a workers compensation defense attorney:


1. Do they also handle claims for employees?

2. Are they open to an in-depth interview before hiring?

3. Can they provide references from other clients who you can contact – preferably in your industry?

4. Do they have experience in hearings before the Board/Commission?

5. Do they have a thorough understanding of workers compensation laws and administrative regulations in Pennsylvania?

6. Do they have an in-depth understanding of statutes that can affect workers compensation claims such as social security disability and vocational rehabilitation?

7. What is their fee structure?

8. How will they bill you – monthly, quarterly, yearly?

9. Are they willing to provide you with copies of deposition transcripts, expert reports, Board/Commission decisions, and medical reports?


Contact Us to Lower Your Workers Compensation Insurance Costs

Contact us for help in lowering your workers compensation insurance costs.Having the right defense attorney for your workers comp claims will save you time and frustration and help you save money on your workers compensation insurance.

To find the right workers comp insurance for your business at the right price, contact American Insuring Group online, or call us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 to get started.

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp, workers comp insurance, PA Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp costs

Workers Comp Tips: Getting Employees Back to Work

Posted by David Ross on Thu, Apr 27, 2017

Tips for getting employees back to work to help reduce workers compensation insurance claim costs in Philadelphia, Reading, Lancaster, York, Harrisburg, Allentown, Lehigh Valley, Pittsburgh, PA and beyond.Getting people back to work on time can help reduce the cost of workers compensation insurance claims. But how is this achieved?

People are different. We are not robots. We are not cookie cutters of each other. We are all unique. And good managers understand that every employee is different. What one employee may respond to, another may not (and may cause the opposite effect). You need to “read” your employees to determine the best way to motivate and communicate with each one individually. 

The same applies when it comes to an injured employee’s return to work. If you want to get them back to work as quickly and safely as possible after a workers’ compensation claim, you need to understand a little about their personality type and determine the best way to communicate with them.

Workers Compensation Return-to-Work Strategies

Fortunately, there are many different return-to-work programs, and it’s up to you to match the right strategy and the right communication style with each employee. Most employees fall under one of these four different employee personality types:

  1. Satisfied-Active
    These employees are happy and ready to return to work. This employee has probably missed few if any days of work, is committed to the company, and is considered a go-getter. This type of employee may even look at his or her injury and workers’ comp insurance claim as a weakness or setback. With this kind of employee, you’ll want to send them a get well card and work with them to create a strategy – whether that means a transitional duty position (if appropriate) or just getting them back to work. Repeated phone calls aren’t necessary and could be considered intrusive.

  2. Satisfied-Passive
    These employees are generally happy with their jobs, but aren’t necessarily chomping at the bit to get back to work. This type of employee needs a little more prodding than the Satisfied-Active employee. It’s okay to call this employee a few times to keep up with their progress, and you’ll probably need to come up with a return-to-work strategy for them.

  3. Dissatisfied-Passive
    These employees are unhappy. While they may not actively create schemes, they will take advantage of any opportunity to stay out of work. This type of employee definitely needs more communication to help keep them on the straight and narrow. Regular communication with them and their physicians to monitor their progress is needed.
  4. Dissatisfied-Active
    These employees are unhappy with their situation and actively do their best to take advantage of the system. You will need a more aggressive approach with this type of employee including fraud prevention measures, hiring investigators, and having constant communication with them.

An Important Workers Compensation Cost Control Goal

Your goal should be to get workers who have filed a workers’ compensation insurance claim back to work as quickly and safely as possible. Using different approaches based on their personalities will help make that happen.

We Can Help with Workers Comp Insurance

For help in lowering your workers compensation insurance costs contact American Insuring Group  online, or give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848. Our independent agents will be sure to find you the right policy at a great price. Contact us today to get started!

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp, workers comp insurance, PA Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp costs

Eliminate a Frequent Cause of Seasonal Workers Comp Claims

Posted by David Ross on Tue, Mar 21, 2017

Many workers compensation insurance accidents and the resulting claims are avoidable. Follow these tips to reduct costs in Philadelphia, Reading, Harrisburg, Allentown, Lehigh Valley, Lancaster, York, Lebanon, Pittsburgh, PA and beyond.Cold weather is here, and as the temperature dips, workers compensation insurance claims often rise. Needless to say, most of these claims are related to the slippery conditions that accompany inclement weather, but other hazards are waiting to wreak havoc on your employees and your bottom line.

Think about all that dangerous snow-removal equipment and the possibility of frost-bitten fingers and toes from over-exposure to frigid temps and low wind chill factors.

No, you can’t control the weather, but you have complete control over the cold-weather risks that your employees may face. Most accidents are preventable and slipping, tripping, and falling accidents are no exception. Here’s how to keep your employees and your bottom line safe:

Keep your workplace safe with these tips

  • Monitor the weather conditions
  • Keep adequate supplies of snow and ice removal tools in accessible areas
  • Shovel and apply ice melt to keep walking areas clear and dry
  • Pay particular attention to areas where ice tends to form
  • Remove ice accumulations promptly, and use additional ice melt to prevent buildup
  • Provide good lighting and clear path markings in parking lots and walkways
  • Identify steps and ramps that might not be visible in snowy conditions
  • Contract with a snow removal company to clear your lots after a snow or ice storm
  • Place high quality, beveled edge track-off mats in entrance areas
  • Change mats regularly to ensure those in place are dry

Reduce workers comp claims - instruct your workers on winter safety

Workers who will be going outdoors must be given or told to wear the proper footwear. Shoes and boots should have slip-resistant soles for the best traction, and employees need to be reminded to take shorter steps and walk more slowly on slippery surfaces.

Ladders are always dangerous but become more so in winter conditions. They should only be placed on surfaces that are free of snow and ice. And workers who are working on rooftops must take extra care and be trained in fall protection methods.

Additional training to keep your workers safe

  • As mentioned, stick to footwear that is insulated, waterproof, and has a non-slip sole with a flat heel
  • Ice grippers can also help your workers walk more safely on ice and snow
  • Only use walkways that have been shoveled and salted--stay away from snow piles or areas where snow and ice removal is not possible
  • Test any surface for slickness by sliding one shoe or boot on it before proceeding
  • Walk with your head up, and don’t lean forward
  • Never run on slippery surfaces
  • To avoid wet and slippery conditions indoors, remove as much snow as possible as you enter
  • Use your vehicle for support when you enter or exit it

Establish a fall prevention program in your company

Here's an effective way to reduce workers comp insurance claims: set standards for your parking lot and all sidewalks when snow or ice arrives, and train the employees who will have the responsibility for clearing them. Then, define everyone else’s role in preventing falls. Whatever standards are set, monitor them to ensure that they are being met. Acknowledge the program’s successes and make changes to it when necessary.

The best fall prevention method is for employers to keep their workers indoors on cold days or when ice and snow are a problem. When that isn’t possible, appropriate training on fall prevention and the proper use of snow removal equipment, such as snow blowers and plows, are the next best things.

We're Ready to Help with Workers Compensation Insurance

Contact us for workers comp insurance cost reduction tips and to save on workers compensation insurance.Getting the right workers compensation insurance is also a key to lowering your costs while protecting your business. Let our professionals help you do both. We shop among competing insurance providers to make sure you get the right policy for your business at the right price.

To learn more, contact American Insuring Group online or call us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848.

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp, PA Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp costs

5 Steps to Control Workers’ Compensation Costs

Posted by David Ross on Thu, Feb 09, 2017

Follow these steps to control workers compensation insurance costs in Reading, Philadelphia, Harrisburg, York, Allentown, Lancaster, PA and beyond.As an employer, you want to make sure that you have adequate workers’ compensation insurance; however, you also want to make sure that you aren’t paying too much for it.

If you aren’t properly managing your workers compensation program, there’s a good chance that you are indeed paying too much.

If you want to change that, here are 5 workers’ compensation cost control systems to implement.

1. A Return to Work Program

While an injured employee may not be capable of returning to his regular job and performing all of his regular duties, he may be able to come back to work on “modified duty,” “transitional duty,” or “light duty.” For example, a worker with an injured back may not be able to return to a job that requires frequent lifting, but he may be able to perform modified duties such as answering phones or counting inventory. Modified duty reuces disability costs, which in turn lowers your cost of the workers’ compensation claim. Plus, several studies have shown that injured employees who come back to work for modified duty recover more quickly.


2. A Safety Program

Frequency and severity of claims are two of the biggest causes of higher workers’ compensation insurance premiums. A good safety program can decrease both the frequency and the severity of injuries. A good safety program identifies all of the potential job hazards and teaches employees how to work more safely and avoid injuries. An effective safety program requires a concerted effort to eliminate or reduce all job hazards that are identified and should include a safety specialist or committee that keeps on top of those (and new) hazards.


3. Medical Management Cost Control

In 2017, health care costs are expected to grow 6.5%. This means that controlling the cost of medical care provided to an injured employee is necessary to help control the cost of workers’ compensation premiums. Employers can do this by 1) having a worksite nurse who is available to evaluate and ensure that injured employees receive the proper level of medical care, 2) involving a nurse case manager in the claim, so she can coordinate and facilitate the medical care and assist the employer and employee in compliance and return to work options, and 3) having cost control services in place for medical fee schedule reviews, utilization reviews, and peer reviews.


4. Fraud Prevention Program

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, up to 25 percent of all workers’ compensation claims contain some element of fraud, and this fraud can add 10 to 20 percent to your overall cost of workers’ compensation. If you turn a blind eye to fraud, you’re encouraging other employees to commit fraud. You should have a fraud prevention program in place and make sure that every employee understands that fraud is a serious crime and that the cost of fraud could directly affect them in lower raises or bonuses.


5. Control Medical Provider Selection

You may be surprised by how much this can affect the cost of medical care, but research has shown a strong correlation between the states with the highest cost of workers’ compensation and the states that allow injured employees to select their medical provider. First, you should understand how much you can and can’t control this selection. In Pennsylvania, employers can (and should) provide a list of acceptable medical providers that employees can use in a workers’ compensation claim. Employees are required to use one of those medical providers for 90 days. If you don’t provide a list, the injured employee can select his own medical provider during those first 90 days and many employees will find a doctor who will keep them off work longer. 

 

Call Us to Lower Your Workers Comp Insurance Costs!

Contact us to lower your Workers Comp costs.Subscribe to our blog to learn additional ways to control your workers’ compensation and other business and personal insurance costs. And be sure to Contact American Insuring Group online or call us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848. Our independent agents will compare policies from competing carriers to find the right coverage at the right price for your business.

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp, workers comp insurance, PA Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp costs