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Is a Workers Comp Insurance Loss-Sensitive Plan Right for You?

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Apr 18, 2020

save_workers_comp_insuranceMore and more employers are moving away from the traditional guaranteed Workers’ Compensation Insurance plans into loss-sensitive plans. Loss-sensitive plans can help some businesses save money, but for others, a loss-sensitive plan can cost a company more than a guaranteed plan.

How do you know which type of Workers’ Compensation plan will yield the highest return for your business? Here are three tips to help.

Understand the Different Types of Loss-Sensitive Plans Available.

Retrospective Rating Plans

The Insurance Journal defines a retrospective rating plan as a plan “in which the final premium is based on the insured’s actual loss experience during the policy term, subject to a minimum and maximum premium, with the final premium determined by a formula which is guaranteed in the insurance contract.”

With a retrospective rating plan, an employer pays a standard premium - a combination of a basic premium and a loss projection - at the beginning of the policy year. After eighteen months, the insurer uses the employer’s actual losses to calculate a retro premium. If the retro premium is lower than the standard premium, the employer receives a premium from the insurer for the difference. If the retro premium is higher than the standard premium, the employer has to pay an additional premium.

Typically, there is a cap on the additional premium (usually 1.20 times the standard premium) an employer must pay.

Large Deductible Plan

A large-deductible plan is basically a guaranteed WC plan that includes the employer self-insuring part of its compensation losses with a large deductible. With this type of plan, the employer pays a lower premium but is then required to set up an escrow fund and reimburse the insurance company for claims up to a certain dollar amount.

Captives

The Insurance Journal defines captives as “any insurance company that is owned by one or more organizations, and that insures only the owners of the company.” There are typically two types of captives used for WC. One is a single owner, where the company that is insured has complete control over everything, including investments, operations, etc. The other type is a rent-a-captive, which is owned and run by an organization other than the insured, such as a broker, a fronting insurance carrier, etc.

Understand Your Risk Tolerance

The advantage of a guaranteed Workers’ Compensation Insurance plan is that your premiums are very predictable. You can put it into your budget and not worry about it. The cost of loss-sensitive plans can vary significantly. You can include an estimate in your budget, but the actual cost can vary, along with the frequency and timing of payments.

IF your company has a low tolerance for risk, a guaranteed plan may be a better choice. However, if you’ve created an effective safety program, provided all of your employees with appropriate safety training, have a robust return-to-work program, and have minimized workplace injuries, your loss projections should be reasonably accurate. Therefore, you may want to consider taking on more risk with a loss-sensitive plan. You’ve reduced risk within your organization, and a loss-sensitive plan could provide a higher return on your investment.

Consider the Financial Impact of Each Type of Plan

You should understand the impact each type of plan will have on your cash flow and the tax implications of each. A guaranteed cost plan may cost you more; however, it provides consistent payments, and you know how much you’re going to pay. You can put the cost of your premiums into the budget and not worry about it.

However, a loss-sensitive program can offer cash flow advantages because you’re paying for claims as they occur rather than paying an insurance company upfront for expenses that may not occur for months or even years.

Need More Help Lowering Workers’ Compensation Costs?

American Insuring Group is committed to providing the best insurance coverage at the best price. First, we offer blogs for a variety of industries to help improve workplace safety, which will help lower WC costs.

Plus, we are independent agents who specialize in Workers’ Compensation Insurance. Give us a call today 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, Return-To-Work Programs

4 Benefits of Workers’ Compensation Insurance for Employers

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Jan 12, 2020

save_property_insuranceAs an employer, you may look at Workers’ Compensation (WC) Insurance as a necessary evil, but the truth is Workers’ Compensation Insurance provides many benefits to employers as well as employees.

It is required by law for the majority of employers in Pennsylvania, and savvy employers understand the value of having Workers’ Compensation Insurance.

What is Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry defines Workers’ Compensation as “mandatory, employer-financed, no-fault insurance” that compensates employees who suffer a work-related injury for medical treatment and lost wages. The goals of WC are to 1) create safer workplaces, 2) promptly treat and compensate injured employees, and 3) reduce litigation costs.

In Pennsylvania, any employer with at least one employee who could be injured or develop a work-related disease is required to provide Workers’ Compensation for its employees, with very few exceptions such as federal workers, longshoremen, railroad workers, domestic workers, and some agricultural workers.

Here are 4 Benefits of Workers’ Compensation Insurance for Employers:

Regulatory Compliance

If an employee suffers a compensable work-related injury and the employer does not have Workers’ Compensation Insurance, the employer will be required to reimburse the state for not only direct costs of the injury, but also interest, penalties, attorney fees, and fees under the Workers’ Compensation Act.

An uninsured employer can also face the risk of civil litigation by the injured employee and the risk of criminal charges by the state.

Financial Benefits

By complying with the commonwealth’s Workers’ Compensation Insurance requirements, a business avoids the reimbursement costs stated above. Workers’ Compensation Insurance also protects employers from direct lawsuits by injured employees, eliminating the risk of costly legal fees and potential settlement.

Prevent Lawsuits

The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act does not allow employees to bring lawsuits against employers for work-place injuries if the employer provides Workers’ Compensation benefits.

Any form of litigation can have negative effects on a business. It can drain your company’s finances, time, energy, and resources. Litigation can also affect your relationship with your employees, customers, vendors, investors, etc.  A lawsuit can tarnish your company’s reputation and has been known to lower a company’s value and sales, and even force companies out of business.

Protection for a Vital Asset – Employees

Workplace injuries have far-reaching effects on employers’ costs, including lost productivity, retraining costs, and more. A safer work environment and fewer injuries are better for everyone – employer and employee alike.

Workplace injuries can cause negative physical and psychological effects on employees – both in and out of the workplace.  A serious injury can change an employee’s life forever, creating chronic pain, limited abilities, depression, and anxiety. One study found that anxiety affected more than 50% of injured workers and more than 25% experienced depression.

Fewer injuries mean lower Workers’ Compensation costs. That saving has become a great incentive for smart employers to create safer workplaces for their employees. To save on WC costs, many employers have developed safety programs and provide safety training.

Another Workers’ Compensation cost-saving measure employers often implement is a return-to-work (RTW) program. The goal of such a program is to get an injured employee back to work as quickly as possible, even if that means working part-time or having lighter duties. An RTW program benefits employees by improving morale, helping them retain social connections and skills, and providing financial security.

How to Save on Workers’ Compensation

Since Workers’ Compensation is required by law for most employers in Pennsylvania, you might as well embrace these benefits. However, that doesn’t mean you should pay more than necessary.

Give the experienced independent agents at American Insuring Group a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online. We’ll help you save on Workers’ Compensation costs by carefully comparing policies from multiple providers to ensure you get the right policy at the best price!

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

5 Ways to Lower Your Workers Compensation Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Nov 10, 2019

AIG business man pushing cost buttonWorkers' compensation coverage is mandatory for most employers in Pennsylvania, and according to the PA Department of Labor & Industry, “Employers who do not have workers' compensation coverage may be subject to lawsuits by employees and to criminal prosecution by the commonwealth.”

Although it may be a necessity, there are ways to lower the cost of your Worker’s Comp Insurance premiums. To lower your WC costs, you need to understand how your premium is calculated.

How is Your Worker’s Compensation Premium Calculate?

A simple formula is used to calculate your Workers Comp premium for each employee:

RATE x (PAYROLL/100) x EXPERIENCE MODIFIER = PREMIUM

RATE:

The rate is determined by an employee’s classification code, which is based on how likely that worker is to be injured on the job. The same classification code is given to employees in the same industry who perform similar functions. It’s no surprise that pilots, drivers, and construction workers – considered among the most dangerous jobs – have a higher rating than an office worker.

PAYROLL:

This number is derived from a projection of your payroll for the current period of your Workers’ Compensation policy.

EXPERIENCE MODIFIER:

Your modifier is based on your company’s loss history – how many WC insurance claims you have submitted - compared to the average loss history in your industry. A company is issued an experience modifier of one if their loss history is average. If your company’s loss history is better than average, you will receive a lower modifier. If your company’s loss history is worse than average, you will receive a higher modifier. The lower your modifier, the lower your insurance premiums.

5 Tips to Lower Your Workers’ Compensation Costs

Review Your Classifications

A classification error can cost you a lot of money. For instance, if your administrative assistant has accidentally been assigned the classification of a roofer, you’re going to pay a higher WC premium for that employee than you need. A roofer is more likely to be seriously injured on the job; therefore, the classification code of a roofer will be significantly higher than that of an administrative assistant.

To make sure you aren’t making any costly classification mistakes, it’s a good idea to have your insurance agent review any classification codes you aren’t sure of.

Create a Safer Work Environment

Fewer insurance claims result in a lower experience modifier, which results in lower WC premiums. How can you make fewer claims? Create a safer work environment. Your business should have a documented safety program that is enforced and embraced by all of your employees.

A small reduction in your experience modifier can result in a significant reduction in your WC premiums.

Plus, in Pennsylvania, employers can receive a 5% Workers' Compensation premium discount by forming and maintaining a workplace safety committee that meets state-established requirements for certification.

Maintain a Substance-Free Workplace

An employee who uses drugs or alcohol while on the job can cause injuries to both themselves and their co-workers. Make it clear from the time you interview a potential employee that you have a zero-tolerance for substance abuse.

One way to do that is requiring a pre-employment drug test, and depending on how dangerous a work environment is, random drug testing for all employees.

Establish a Return-to-Work Program

The longer a claim remains open, and an injured employee is off the job, the more it costs the employer. A return-to-work program gets employees back to work once they are medically ready. That could mean reduced hours or reduced duties that are approved by the injured worker’s physician.

Find Out If You Can Join a Group

In some states, employers that have been in business for a while and have a better-than-average safety history can get a group rating by joining a recognized group, which results in lower WC premiums.

How to Save EVEN MORE on Your Workers’ Compensation Insurance!

American Insuring Group specializes in Workers Compensation Insurance, so we can guide you through the process and provide suggestions for additional ways to save on your Workers’ Comp Insurance. As independent agents, we have the advantage of working with lots of insurance companies, giving you more ways to compare and save! Give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

 

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

4 Steps to a Speedy Workers’ Comp Insurance Claim

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Oct 13, 2019

workplace_safety_lower_insurance_300Despite all of your best efforts to create a safe work environment, accidents do happen on worksites – whether it’s a restaurant or a construction site or even an office, and you should be prepared.

Knowing what to do when someone injures themselves in the workplace can help ensure that the injured employee gets immediate medical attention and that any Workers’ Comp insurance claims are processed quickly and accurately. You should have a process in place, and all managers and supervisors should be trained in that process.

Here Are Four Steps That Should Be Included in the Process:

Take Care of the Injured Employee

Your employee’s welfare should be your first priority. As soon as an injury occurs, determine the appropriate medical treatment. If it’s a serious injury, call 911 immediately. If it isn’t a serious injury, take the injured employee to a medical care facility.

Some insurance carriers offer a 24/7 injured employee hotline that has registered nurses who can provide medical guidance. If your Workers’ Comp insurance carrier has a hotline, all managers and supervisors should be aware of that number.

Survey the Scene of the Accident

Once the injured employee has received appropriate medical care, survey the scene. If it’s a severe injury, any equipment involved in the incident should be secured, and the area where the incident occurred should be cordoned off with cones or tape until the local police and/or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are finished with their formal investigation.

Even with minor injuries, surveying the scene could reveal what caused the injury. For example, if an employee falls because of a wet floor, that area can be cleaned up to avoid further accidents.

The purpose of an investigation isn’t to lay blame but to determine the root cause of the accident, so it doesn’t happen again. In that same example, if a faulty refrigerator caused that wet floor, the appliance can be fixed to avoid any additional injuries.

Collect Information

A manager or supervisor should then gather details about the incident. Write down the details of the accident – where it happened, how it happened, etc. – and any medical treatment the injured employee received. Also, talk to anyone who witnessed the incident and document what they share and their contact information. 

Complete the Incident Report

Before the details of the injury fade from memory, the incident report should be completed. OSHA requires employers to maintain records of all work-related injuries using its Injury & Illness Record-keeping Forms and to notify OSHA if the injured employee needs to be hospitalized.

Any Workers’ Compensation claims should be filed within 24 hours of the incident. 

If the injury is fairly minor but still prohibits the injured employee from performing his or her regular tasks, you may also need to consider if a transitional or modified job may be appropriate. The longer an employee is out of work, the harder it is to go back and the more it costs you. A return-to-work program can help keep injured employees off of long-term disability and save you money.

You may also want to take a look at your safety program. Did an employee not receive proper training? Was a safety procedure ignored? What can you do to help ensure this type of accident doesn’t happen again?

Want to Save on All Kinds of Commercial Insurance?

The agents at American Insuring Group specialize in commercial insurance, including Workers’ Compensation. We can help ensure that you have the right coverage and – as independent agents who can compare costs with several companies – that you get it at the best price!  Give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

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

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

Return-To-Work Programs & Workers Comp Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Thu, Apr 21, 2016

Use Return-to-Work programs to lower your workers compensation insurance rates in Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Allentown. Lehigh Valley, Reading, Lancaster, York, Pittsburgh, Erie, PA and beyond.Return-To-Work programs are instrumental in enticing employees out on a workers’ compensation claim to come back to work. Many employers struggle to manage and fill the void that is left behind when a worker is out; however, a solid Return-To-Work program will encourage employees to return to work quickly (once they are cleared to do so by a medical professional of-course), thereby contributing to lower workers compensation insurance costs.

It is extremely important that the return-to-work program is well-known and understood throughout the company. It needs to be an indispensable part of the corporate culture understood by owners, managers, and employees. If you want employees to return quickly and efficiently, it needs to be a system that everyone can follow and understand.

Five Essential Elements of a Successful Return-To-Work Program:

#1) Offer employees a transitional position

Present them with a temporary job that will ease them back into the workplace while still making them feel as though they are making a difference. If their job usually requires heavy lifting, consider offering a light-duty job instead. Make sure the job makes sense for both the employee and the company, otherwise you run the risk of further loss.

#2) Make the cost of workers’ compensation very clear to all employees

Each employee, regardless of their current position, should understand how expensive workers’ compensation claims are and how it affects the organization. Most employees have absolutely no idea that companies pay a large deductible each time an employee goes out on a claim and assume the insurance company is the only one paying. Employees may feel differently if they know it is coming directly from their employer’s pocket!

#3) Remain in constant contact with the employee

Never underestimate the power of a “get well” card! There will be many outside sources, such as friends, families, lawyers, etc., trying to tell your employee what to do. Make sure you call to check in with them frequently and keep them posted on any updates or changes within the company. In most states, the company is able to direct medical care for an employee as well, which allows them to check-in with healthcare professionals to ensure that the employee is following protocol and is not being dishonest about their care or their return to work date.

#4) Make necessary arrangements to “speed up” return time, if possible within four days

90% of all workers out on a workers’ compensation claim can return back to work within four days. Whether they are returning to a transitional job or their actual position, the quicker they return to the workplace, the less expensive it is for the employer. These four days are considered the waiting period and if you bring an employee back before the waiting period ends, the company’s workers’ compensation company may not have to pay indemnity or lost wage payments, which in turn saves the company from having to pay the claim deductible.

#5) Keep employees updated on company “happenings” while they are out

Even though an employee is unable to perform their regular duties, they may be able to continue attending trainings and meetings. If they are unable to attend these sessions in person, the company may be able to skype them in, or at the very least can provide them with a PowerPoint deck or notes from the meetings. Keeping them in the loop can encourage them to return quicker and will allow them to transition back into their position more easily when they do return.

One of the keys to keeping the cost of workers’ compensation in check, is to get employees back into their position as quickly as possible. This doesn’t happen by accident; it’s important for companies to take a proactive approach.

Contact us for help in lowering your worker's comp insurance rates!We'll Help You Save on Workers Compensation Insurance

For more information about saving on workers’ compensation costs, contact us online or give our experienced agents a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp, workers comp insurance, PA Workers Compensation Insurance, Commercial Insurance, Business Insurance, Return-To-Work Programs