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Want Faster Workers Comp Claim Resolution? Don’t Annoy Your Adjuster!

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Sep 15, 2019

Quick-WC-claim-resolution-300Filing a Workers’ Compensation Insurance claim is probably not one of your favorite things to do, but it’s essential when a worker is injured on the job. If you want to make sure the Workers’ Comp claim gets processed as quickly as possible - saving you both time and money - don’t annoy your adjuster.

Adjusters are busy too – juggling 150-200 claims every day - and would like to see your claims processed as quickly and smoothly as possible.  The best way to make that happen is to provide them with what they need in a timely manner to make their job easier and avoid annoying them.

Here are Four Things That Are Frequent Annoyances to Workers’ Compensation Adjusters:

Not completing the Injury Form Correctly

The first step in any WC claim is completing and submitting the injury form. All of the information on that form – social security number, birth date, type of injury, etc. - is relevant to the adjuster and helps them process the claim more quickly. If you leave a field blank, they have to interrupt what they’re doing to contact you for the information.

If you want your claim processed more quickly, gather the information in advance and fill in every field on the form accurately. Make sure names are spelled correctly, the date of the injury is correct, etc. This first report is vitally important, so double check everything before submitting it, and remember if you leave a field blank, someone else could fill it in with information you don’t like.

Not Reporting a Claim Right Away

As soon as an injury occurs, start the process of gathering information to submit the claim as quickly as possible. Submitting a claim days after an injury occurs could force an adjuster to rush through the process and make mistakes. The quicker you can get it in, the more thorough the adjuster’s investigation will be, which results in more accurate and ethical decisions regarding the claim without penalties, leakage, or delays.

Also, adjusters will prioritize claims that include lost wages, so let them know upfront if that applies to your claim. They understand that any delay in the claim is another day of potential wage loss. Providing this information up front allows them to determine if the claim is compensable and get your employee back to work on light-duty as quickly as possible, which helps keep your claim costs down.

Not Knowing the Details of the Injury

Immediately after an injury occurs, begin gathering facts and witness statements to understand exactly what happened. Send all the information you gather to the adjuster and be prepared to answer questions about the incident if they contact you.

Witness statements can be crucial in determining the validity of a claim, and adjusters will compare those statements with the employee’s recount of the incident. If they see any discrepancies, they will research further, which could prevent payment on a false claim; thereby, minimizing leakage and helping to keep your WC costs down.

Not Working With Them

Adjusters are experts regarding the compensability of WC claims. They have been trained and certified to make WC decisions, but you are the expert regarding your employees and the type of work they do. Your input is crucial to ensuring an accurate investigation.

When an adjuster emails or leaves you a voice mail with a question, reply as quickly as possible. Also send anything you receive related to the claim to your adjuster as quickly as possible including bills and medical information.

If you want to save time and money and help ensure your Workers’ Compensation claims are processed as quickly and accurately as possible, keep these four things that annoy WC adjusters in mind.

Want to Learn More About Saving on Workers’ Compensation Costs?

Although Workers’ Compensation Insurance is required for most businesses with employees, that doesn’t mean you can’t get more bang for your buck! Start saving by giving the Workers’ Comp experts at American Insuring Group a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

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

5 Situations When Contractor’s Workers’ Comp Claims May be Denied

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Aug 25, 2019

save-contractors-insurance-300Since the passing of the Pennsylvania Workmen’s Compensation Act in 1915, most contractors with employees are required to have Workers’ Compensation Insurance by law. The purpose of Workers’ Compensation insurance is to protect both employee and employer when an employee is injured on the job - regardless of who is at fault.

Workers’ Comp covers medical costs, disability payments, death benefits, and lost wages to the injured employee and protects employers from direct lawsuits by injured employees. Failure to have Workers’ Comp Insurance can lead to lawsuits by employees and criminal prosecution.  

While Workers’ Compensation Insurance is meant to cover work-related injuries and illnesses that prevent an employee from doing their job, there are some things Workers’ Compensation Insurance will not cover.

Here are Five Situations When Workers’ Compensation Insurance Benefits Could be Denied:

Off-Site Work Injuries

The primary purpose of Workers’ Compensation is to protect employees who are injured on the job; therefore, any injuries that are not work-related and occur off a job site are not covered, but you would be surprised how blurry the line between on and off job site can become.

If an employee is injured on their lunch-break and they are not on a job site, the injury is typically not covered under Workers’ Comp. However, if the employee is injured while picking up lunch for their boss or while in an employee lunchroom, it usually is.

Typically, Workers Comp also covers employees who are injured at events such as parties or picnics hosted by the employer.

Workers’ Comp generally does not cover employees who are injured while driving to or from work unless they are driving a company car, doing errands for the employer, traveling on business, or regularly travels for work.

Company Rule Violations

If an employee is injured while violating a company safety rule or any other act the employer has prohibited, they may be ineligible for Workers’ Compensation depending on the level of misconduct. Sometimes that employee’s medical costs and lost wages are covered under WC, but does not allow the employee to sue the employer.

Breaking the Law

If an employee is injured while breaking the law, any Workers’ Compensation claims may be denied.

Under the Influence

If an employee is injured while under the influence of alcohol or illicit drugs, which impairs their motor skills, any Workers’ Comp claim could be denied – regardless of what the company policy is. When an injured employee goes to the doctor for a work-related injury, employers have the right to ask for a drug and alcohol test.

Self-Inflicted Injuries

The majority of Workers’ Compensation claims are legitimate, but as with anything else, there are dishonest employees who may purposely cause their own injury to collect on a claim. Although Workers’ Comp usually does not take fault into account, a claim based on a self-inflicted injury may be denied.

Security cameras throughout a job site can often help determine whether or not Workers’ Compensation insurance should cover an injury.   

Are You Paying Too Much for Workers’ Compensation?

The agents at American Insuring Group specialize in Workers’ Compensation Insurance. They will work hard to ensure that you get quality Workers’ Comp Insurance at the best rates by comparing your costs with companies who are competing for your business.

Let us help you save money while still protecting your employees and your business by giving us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, Contractor Insurance, PA Workers Compensation Insurance, Contractor Safety Management

4 Tips to Handle an Angry Workers’ Compensation Claimant

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Aug 11, 2019

best-workers-comp-rates-300Sometimes when an employee is injured on the job and files a Workers’ Compensation Insurance claim, they can become frustrated and take it out on their employer. It isn’t right, but it happens. Sometimes no matter how hard you work to keep things civil, you’ll find yourself facing an angry employee.

 

 

Here are four tips to help diffuse a tense situation (many can be helpful in other situations, not just WC claims):

Do Not Take it Personally

If you do your best to do a good job for your injured employee and he or she still lashes out at you, it’s important to remember that not everything is about you. You need to understand that when an injured employee becomes angry, there are often mitigating circumstances that you will never know. They may be in pain; they may be confused; they may even be scared. Do not take their anger as a personal attack on you and how you are handling their claim.

Stay Calm, Listen, and Be Patient

Staying calm and patient is easier said than done when an employee is blasting you about their WC claim, but it’s essential if you want to diffuse the situation. Before you can resolve any issues with them, you need to try to get them calmed down.

You do that by staying calm, not raising your voice or using a sarcastic tone, and remaining objective. Otherwise, you will irritate the worker even more, and nothing will be resolved.

Let them know you are listening to them by using phrases such as “I hear what you’re saying.” It may sound corny, but it can help calm an angry employee. Don’t interrupt them. Sometimes they just need to vent or want to know that they’re being heard.

Once they calm down, you can focus on answering questions and coming up with solutions.

Empathize

Remember, this can be a scary time for an injured worker. They probably aren’t familiar with the process of filing a Workers’ Compensation claim, and they may be worried about how they’re going to take care of their family or if their injury will ever heal. Try to put yourself in their shoes and not only sympathize but empathize.

WC claimants want to know that you understand what they are saying and what they are going through and that you are willing and able to help them resolve their issues.

Some people have a hard time apologizing even when they know they’re wrong. Imagine how difficult it would be to apologize to someone when you know you are right, and they are wrong! If that sounds like you, swallow your pride and realize that your goal is to diffuse the situation. If an apology will get that done, do it! You can genuinely say you’re sorry for the confusion, or you’re sorry for what they are going through.

Offer Solutions

Most injured employees do not have experience handling Workers’ Compensation claims, but you do, so instead of arguing with them about how wrong they are, try to explain what is going on calmly. Let them know what is being done to resolve their issue or how they may be able to help resolve it.

Don’t talk so fast they can’t catch what you’re saying and don’t use a lot of jargon they may not be familiar with. This will only frustrate an angry employee further.

If you don’t know the answer to a question, find someone who does and get back to the injured worker promptly.

People can be irrational at the best of times. Throw in a little uncertainty and a little fear, and you have the potential for a nasty situation. If you find yourself dealing with an injured worker who is angry, use these tips to help diffuse the situation and resolve the issue more quickly.

Get the Best Price for Workers’ Compensation Insurance

American Insuring Group specializes in Workers’ Compensation Insurance, and we can make sure that you get the best price by comparing the cost of coverage with several insurance companies that meet your needs. Give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

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

Lower Workers Comp and Liability Insurance Costs With Safety Signs

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Jul 14, 2019

lower-WC-insurance-with-signs-300The best way to reduce workers’ compensation insurance and commercial liability insurance costs is to create a safer work environment that reduces the number and severity of injuries. Whether your workplace is filled with hazards like a construction site or imposes minimal danger like a retail space, it is your responsibility as an employer to create the safest work environment possible.


One way to create a safer environment for employees, customers, vendors, etc. is to use safety signs to draw attention to potential hazards.

Several agencies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) set standards and regulations for the design, use, and placement of workplace safety signs.

Here are three things to consider when using signs to improve safety, lower injuries, and save on insurance costs:

OSHA has three classifications of signs:

  • Danger Signs are used when there is an immediate danger, and special precautions are needed. These signs need to be red, black, and white.
  • Caution Signs are used to warn people about potential hazards or to caution against unsafe practices. Those signs need to have a yellow background and black panel with yellow letters. Letters placed on yellow backgrounds need to be black.
  • Safety Instruction Signs are used for general instructions and suggestions regarding safety measures. These signs need to have a white background, green panel, and white letters, and any letters on a white background must be black.

Location

Signs should be placed where they can be read from a safe viewing distance, so people have time to prepare to enter or avoid the area. If needed, safety signs should be displayed with illumination or retro-reflectiveness so they can be read under normal operating conditions.

Signs should NOT be placed on or next to moveable objects such as doors and windows and should NOT be a distraction or create a hazard. Safety signs need to be protected from damage.

Signs should be used in these areas:

  • where there is a risk of injuries such as uneven ground or the risk of falling objects
  • where personal protective equipment is required
  • where equipment poses a threat such as loud machines that can cause hearing loss
  • where dangers aren’t visible or apparent such as around radiation or irritating chemicals
  • where equipment such as forklifts and mobile cranes are used
  • where potentially dangerous substances are located
  • where there is asbestos, where it is suspected to be, or where it has been recently removed

Content

Keep your messages concise and straightforward and easy to read, so people are quickly alerted to potential dangers. Use vivid colors, so your signs stand out even in busy areas.

Use symbols, diagrams, and images where possible to bridge any language barriers. Lettering should be large enough that a person with normal vision can read the sign at a distance where they still have time to prepare for or avoid potential danger.

Safety signs are a cheap and easy way to alert employees, customers, vendors, etc. to potential hazards, which should reduce the number and severity of injuries and help lower your workers’ comp and liability insurance costs.

Want to Discover More Ways to Save on Commercial Insurance Costs?

Give the experienced independent commercial insurance agents at American Insuring Group at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online. We will compare the cost of your coverage with several companies to ensure that you get the lowest price.

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, PA Workers Compensation Insurance, Commercial Insurance, Safety Programs

Opioids: The #1 Workers’ Compensation Problem

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Jun 16, 2019

Opioids are the biggest workers compensation insurance cost driverIf you want to keep your Workers’ Comp insurance costs down, you need to understand the effects of opioid abuse.

The economic burden of prescription opioid misuse in the U.S. is about $78.5 billion every year including healthcare, lost productivity, treatment, and criminal justice costs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Health insurers and workers’ compensation carriers bear about one-third of that cost, according to Claims Journal


The result is increased workers’ compensation costs. A 2012 report from Lockton Companies reported that “Prescription opioids are presently the number one workers’ compensation problem in terms of controlling the ultimate cost of indemnity losses. There has never been a more damaging impact on the cost of workers’ compensation claims from a single issue than the abuse of opioid prescriptions for the management of chronic pain.” 

Why is This Happening?

Often, when an employee is injured on the job, a physician will prescribe an opioid for the pain. The Addiction Center reported that in 2012, 259 million opioid painkiller prescriptions were written. According to the Talbot Campus, the US makes up just 5% of the world’s population but consumes about 80% of the world’s prescription opioid drugs. 

The problem is that opiates are one of the most addictive substances available today. The Addiction Center reported that of the 259 million prescriptions written in 2012, an estimated 2 million led to addiction. 

According to the Talbot Campus, prescription opioid drugs contribute to 40% of all US opioid overdose deaths. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that every day, more than 130 people in the US die after overdosing on opioids. 

Furthermore, approximately 5% of those who abuse prescription drugs eventually transition to heroin. 

The Link Between Prescription and Illicit Opioids

Opioids include pain relievers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, etc. that are available by prescription. However, many opioid addicts turn to illegal drugs like heroin and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl.  The Talbot Campus reported that about three out of four heroin users misused prescription opioids before their use of heroin. 

Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is fifty times more potent than heroin, is cheaper to produce and more readily available than heroin. Pharmaceutical fentanyl is primarily used to manage severe pain for cancer patients and end-of-life palliative care. Non-pharmaceutical fentanyl is often mixed with heroin or cocaine – often without the users’ knowledge. 

According to the CDC, there were more deaths involving synthetic opioids (more than 28,000) than from any other type of opioid in 2017. The introduction of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids is currently the most significant concern among opioid experts.

What can you do as an Employer?

Despite these frightening statistics, most people who are prescribed opioids do not become addicts; however, the ones who do are costing U.S. businesses like yours billions of dollars every year.

Thankfully, some precautions can be taken to address pain relief for injured employees. Here are a few steps to take if you want to reduce your workers’ compensation insurance costs.

Educate Your Employees

Make sure they understand the risks of opioid use, how addictive it can be, and how to prevent problems.

Build Good Relationships with Providers

Build a good relationship with area physicians - especially physicians within your network – and pharmacy benefit managers to make sure that they understand the risks of opioid use and how to minimize those risks such as screening patients for addiction, avoiding the use of opioids as the first line of therapy, and conducting urine screenings.

Intervene

If you suspect a case of opioid over prescription or abuse, intervene by talking to another physician, the insurer, and/or the third-party administrator. 

Accidents do happen, and employees do get hurt, but don’t allow the prevalence of opioid addiction exacerbate the effects of those injuries on the injured employee, his or her family and coworkers, or your workers’ comp costs.

 

Want to Lower Your Workers’ Compensation Insurance Costs?

Another way to save on workers’ compensation and other commercial insurance costs is to work with an independent agent who can compare the cost of your insurance with more than one company.

Give American Insuring Group a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online. Our independent agents will make sure that you get the best price on quality insurance protection. 

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, PA Workers Compensation Insurance, Commercial Insurance, Opioid Epidemic

Nail Gun Safety and Workers Compensation Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Oct 15, 2017

Nail Gun Safety Tips - Avoid Injury and Lower Your PA Workers Comp Insurance Costs.Contractors and handymen, do you remember the days before nail guns? When you had to use a hammer to nail something.

Today, you probably can’t imagine doing your job without a nail gun! They’ve probably made your job a lot easier, and, unfortunately, more dangerous, which can lead to increased workers compensation insurance claims and higher insurance costs.

According to the CDC, nail guns are responsible for approximately 37,000 emergency room visits every year. Sixty-eight percent of those injuries are work-related. Severe nail gun injuries can even cause death.

7 Risk Factors for Nail Gun Injuries

The CDC has identified 7 major risk factors that can lead to nail gun injury:

  1. Unintended nail discharge from double fire

  2. Unintended nail discharge from knocking the safety contact with the trigger squeezed

  3. Nail penetration through lumber workpiece

  4. Nail ricochet after striking a hard surface or metal feature

  5. Missing the workpiece

  6. Awkward position nailing

  7. Bypassing safety mechanisms

Nail Gun Safety Prerequisite: Know Your Triggers!

Before we can discuss ways to avoid nail gun injuries, it’s important to understand the different types of nail gun triggers.

There are two controls with every nail gun: a finger trigger and a contact safety tip on the nose of the gun.

  1. Full sequential trigger – This is the safest type of trigger. The controls need to be activated in a very specific order for the gun to fire, and nails can’t be bump fired – also called bounce nailing. Bump firing or bounce nailing is using a nail gun with a contact trigger held squeezed and bumping or bouncing the tool along the workpiece to fire nails.

  2. Contact trigger – This type of trigger fires a nail when the safety contact and trigger are activated in any order. A nail will be fired each time the safety contact is pushed in if you keep the trigger squeezed. Nails can be bump fired with this type of trigger. Contact trigger nailers are prone to double firing, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

  3. Single sequential trigger – To fire this type of trigger, controls must be activated in a specific order and nails cannot be bump fired just like the full sequential trigger. However – unlike the full sequential trigger – only the trigger must be released to fire the second nail.

  4. Single-actuation trigger – This trigger will fire a single nail when the safety and trigger are activated in any order just like the contact trigger. To shoot the second nail, you can release the trigger, move the tool and squeeze the trigger again without releasing the safety again. Nails can be bump

 

6 Ways to Avoid Nail Gun Injuries

The CDC offers six steps to help avoid nail gun injuries:

  1. Use full sequential trigger nail guns, which reduce the risk of unintentional discharge and double fires especially with inexperienced employees.

  2. Provide safety training to both new and experienced employees that covers topics such as how triggers differ and the leading causes of injuries and how to avoid them.

  3. Establish nail gun work procedures specific to your company that address risk factors.

  4. Provide personal protective equipment (PPE) such as safety shoes, high-impact eye protection, etc.

  5. Encourage reporting and discussion of injuries and close calls to draw attention to possible risks, so they can be avoided and to ensure that your employees are getting medical care when needed.

  6. Provide first aid and medical treatment. Sometimes, what seems like a minor injury can be more severe. For example, materials such as nail strip glue or clothing can become embedded, which can cause infection.

Play it Safe with Proper Workers Compensation Insurance!

Trusted Choice Workers Compensation Insurance Independent Agents Serving Reading, Philadelphia, Allentown, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, PA and beyond.It is your responsibility to provide the safest workplace environment for your employees. The fact that it also reduces your workers’ compensation costs is just icing on the cake!

To learn more about saving on workers compensation insurance, give American Insuring group a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or contact us online. Our independent agents are ready to get you solid coverage options at a great price. Call or click today.

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, PA Workers Compensation Insurance, Business Insurance, Nail Gun Safety

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