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Lower Workers’ Comp Costs By Preventing Fraud, Waste, and Abuse

Posted by David Ross on Sat, May 28, 2022

Tips to reduce waste, fraud and abuse to save on Workers Comp Insurance in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Lancaster, Lebanon, Erie, Allentown, Reading, Harrisburg, and throughout PA.In most states, including Pennsylvania, almost all employers are required to carry Workers’ Compensation (WC) Insurance. WC helps cover lost wages, health care expenses, disability payments, death benefits, and permanent injury payments (such as the loss of a body part) when an employee suffers a work-related injury or disease. It also helps protect your business against lawsuits related to the injury. 

How is Your WC Premium Calculated?

Your Workers’ Compensation premium is based on the following calculation:

          WC Premium = Classification Code Rate X Experience Modifier X payroll/$100.

Your experience modifier compares the history of your losses to what is typically expected in a class similar to your company. It is based on the following:

  • Number of Claims
  • Cost of Claims
  • Frequency of Claims
  • Severity of Claims
  • Closed vs. Open Claims
  • Claims History of other businesses in your industry
  • Years in business
  • Number of employees
  • State minimums

 The lower your experience modifier, the lower your premiums. Unfortunately, WC fraud, waste, and abuse can raise your experience modifier and increase your WC premiums. In fact, the Insurance Information Institute reports, “workers’ compensation insurance fraud alone costs insurers and employers $30 billion a year.”

 What is WC Fraud, Waste, and Abuse?

The first step to minimizing WC fraud, waste, and abuse is the ability to recognize each.

  • Fraud – According to the PA Department of Labor & Industry, “An employee commits fraud by knowingly and intentionally receiving wages while collecting total disability benefits or receiving partial disability benefits in excess of the amount permitted while receiving wages.” Examples include faking an injury, inflating an injury, and reporting an injury that happened off the job. Employers and medical providers can also engage in fraudulent WC activities.
  • Waste – WC waste occurs when an injured employee overutilizes WC benefits. An example of WC waste is an employee who injures their back on the job and continues to see a chiropractor after full recovery.
  • Abuse – WC abuse occurs when an employee who is injured on the job expands their symptoms to receive additional benefits. For example, an injured employee may falsely report symptoms to prevent them from participating in a return-to-work program.

 Signs of Possible WC Fraud, Waste, and Abuse

There are a few common signs of WC fraud, waste, and abuse that you can watch out for:

  • No witnesses to an incident
  • Conflicting diagnoses
  • Refusing treatment
  • Not reporting injury immediately
  • Inconsistent or suspicious recount of the injury
  • A history of WC claims
  • A history of frequently changing physicians, jobs, and addresses
  • An injury that occurs right after a weekend, strike, or holiday
  • The inability to reach an injured employee
  • A post-termination claim
  • Pre-existing medical conditions
  • Financial problems
  • An unwillingness to cooperate in the injury investigation

 11 Tips to Prevent WC Fraud, Waste, and Abuse

Industrial Safety & Hygiene News offers the following tips to “keep claims above board”:

  1. Create a fraud-free work environment by having a strong policy against fraud.
  2. Establish a culture of safety.
  3. Hold regular safety meetings.
  4. Institute sound hiring procedures by screening potential employees.
  5. Communicate regularly with injured employees.
  6. Follow proper WC reporting and investigating procedures.
  7. Educate employees on WC fraud, waste, and abuse and their consequences.
  8. Make it easy to report injuries
  9. Use surveillance equipment
  10. Implement a drug testing policy
  11. Choose credible medical providers that have WC experience.

 Lower Your Workers Compensation Insurance Premiums:

In addition to preventing WC fraud, waste, and abuse, another way to lower Workers’ Compensation Premiums is to work with one of the experienced independent agents at American Insuring Group. Our independence gives us the freedom to shop the market to find the right insurance to meet your specific needs at the best price.

Call American Insuring Group today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

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

10 Tips to Lower Workers' Compensation Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Apr 23, 2022

10-tips-to-lower-Workers-Comp-Insurance-costs

Workers' Compensation (WC) Insurance is mandated by Pennsylvania (and most other states) for all employees. WC was designed to protect employees injured on the job by providing lost wages, medical expenses, disability expenses, and funeral costs. As a no-fault benefit, WC also helps protect your business from direct lawsuits by employees injured on the job. Failure to comply can lead to misdemeanor or felony charges and fines.

However, just because it is mandatory doesn't mean that there aren't steps you can take to lower your WC costs.

10 Tips to Save on Workers' Compensation Insurance Costs

  1. Vet Employees – Employees can be your greatest asset or your biggest liability. Every employer hopes they hire an honest worker, but did you know that 95% of businesses encounter problems with employee theft. When hiring a new employee, conduct background investigations and reference checks. Also, if you're hiring a driver, check their driving record. You may also want to include a pre-employment drug testing policy.

  2. Develop a Safety Program - Providing a safe and healthy workplace benefits employers with lower Workers' Compensation Insurance costs, reduced absenteeism, increased productivity, and better employee morale. A workplace safety program can lower expenses, reduce paid time off and litigation, provide higher employee satisfaction and a positive public image, and much more. According to OSHA, a study of small businesses found a statistical correlation between workplace safety and the health and survival of a small business. The study found that companies that failed within one to two years of start-up had an average injury rate of 9.71, while businesses that survived more than five years had an average injury rate of 3.89 in their first year of business.

  3. Provide Appropriate Training - OSHA states, "Training in the safe way for workers to do their jobs well is an investment that will pay back over and over again in fewer injuries and illnesses, better morale, lower insurance premiums and more."

  4. Use the Right Job Classification Code – Every employee in Pennsylvania is assigned a PCRB classification code to help determine WC rates. These codes are based on the level of risk each employee faces. For example, if an office worker is assigned the code for a construction worker, they will be considered more of a risk, and you will pay higher WC premiums for that employee. Ensuring all of your employees are correctly classified can help save you on WC costs.

  5. Work With Your Medical Team – PA Workers' Comp laws allow employers to create a list of designated health care providers. When the list is properly posted, injured workers must seek treatment for the work injury or illness with one of the designated providers for 90 days from the date of the first visit. By carefully researching the physicians you include on that list, you can help ensure your employees get the best treatment and that you don't pay more than you have to for WC premiums. In addition, building a relationship with those physicians can further expedite WC claims.

  6. Develop a Return-to-Work Program - The longer an injured employee is out of work, the less likely they'll 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. Return-to-work programs save employers' medical costs, lost time days, and workers' compensation insurance costs.

  7. Design an Injury Response Protocol – If an employee is injured, the quicker they get treatment, the better chance they have of making a speedy recovery. Therefore, you should have an injury response protocol in place that employees understand.

  8. Manage Claims – Properly managing WC claims helps you avoid liability and fraudulent claims, resolve claims more quickly, and lower WC costs. WC claim management includes an injury reporting process, investigations, ongoing communication, etc.

  9. Investigate Injuries - Every workers' compensation insurance claim should be investigated because it's imperative to make accurate and legal assessments related to primary liability.

  10. Review Your Loss Run Report – A Loss Run Report lists the date of all of your business's losses and claims, a brief description of each claim, the amount paid to the insured, and whether or not the claim is closed. You can think of it as a credit report or report card for insurance companies. They use the information in the report to determine how risky a business is to insure, which can affect the premium you pay for insurance or even if an insurance company will issue a policy or renew a policy for your business. Conversely, you can use the information to lower your insurance costs and improve other business areas.

BONUS Workers' Comp Savings Tip

Work With a Trusted Independent Insurance Agent – The independent agents at American Insuring Group specialize in Workers' Compensation Insurance. We can answer all of your WC questions, help you control loss, and lower your premiums!

Give us 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, Workers Compensation Insurance Fraud

What is the True Cost of A Workers' Compensation Claim?

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Mar 19, 2022

How to calculate the true cost of a workers comp insurance claim in Philadelphia, Reading, Allentown, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, PA or elsewhere

If Workers' Compensation Insurance (WC) protects your business and employees in the event of a workplace injury, you may wonder why does this blog spends so much time on safety issues? It's simple. Workplace injuries and WC claims can cost your business – both directly and indirectly and both monetarily and non-monetarily. Therefore, creating a safer work environment helps lower workplace injuries and WC Claims and their associated costs.

Let's take a look at the actual cost of injuries and WC claims.

Administrative Costs

It takes time to process a Workers' Compensation claim. You need to…

  • Report incident to the appropriate party
  • Complete and file injury/illness report
  • Stay in contact with the WC carrier
  • Stay in touch with the injured employee
  • Establish a timeline for return to work
  • Return the employee to work
  • Continue leave or terminate when an injured employee is unable to return to work

You could find yourself – or an employee - spending a significant amount of time meeting with the insurance companies and/or lawyers until the claim is closed.

Hire Replacements

Depending on the severity and nature of the injury, you may need to hire and train a new employee to replace the injured worker. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), it takes on average 42 days to fill a position at an average cost of $4,129. Furthermore, research shows "it takes at least 1 to 2 years before an employee is 'fully productive.'" Therefore, even after you've hired a new employee, it could take two years for them to be as productive as the injured employee. 

Decreased Productivity

Immediately following an accident, work may slow or completely stop as you take care of the injured worker, investigate the incident, and possibly take temporary safety measures to ensure it doesn't happen again. Depending on the employee's role, you may need to find someone to replace them before work can resume. Finally, research shows "the aftermath of a workplace fatality can have long-lasting effects on other employees' emotional health, productivity, and safety." Furthermore, "the death of a coworker can affect all employees, regardless of whether they witnessed the incident, worked in the same department or were close with the deceased worker."

 Legal Action

Not all Workers' Comp claims are legitimate. If you believe a claim is fraudulent, you may decide to take the case to court, which will cost you additional time and legal costs. In addition, if you lose the case, you could end up paying more than if you had settled.

Increased WC premiums

One of the most significant effects a WC claim can have on a business is increased WC premiums. Depending on the nature of the claim and resulting costs, one claim probably won't affect your WC premiums.

However, your premium is based on the following formula: WC Premium = Classification Code Rate X Experience Modifier X payroll/$100. Your experience modifier compares the history of your losses to what is typically expected in a class similar to your company. It is based on the following:

  • Number of Claims
  • Cost of Claims
  • Frequency of Claims
  • Severity of Claims
  • Closed vs. Open Claims
  • Claims History of other businesses in your industry
  • Years in business
  • Number of employees
  • State minimums
  • If your experience modifier goes up, your premiums go up.

Lower Workers' Comp Costs

Bottom line: fewer claims mean lower costs. Another way to lower insurance costs is to work with one of the experienced independent agents at American Insuring Group. We're free to shop and compare pricing, so you save!

Give us a call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp costs

Safety Training Guidelines to Lower Workers' Compensation Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Jan 29, 2022

Lower your workers compensation costs in Philadelphia, Allentown, Reading, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, PA - call us today.Finding and retaining good employees is often cited as one of the biggest challenges employers face, and the current labor shortage isn't making it any easier. Hiring new employees can be time-consuming, frustrating, and costly. According to Gallup, "The cost of replacing an individual employee can range from one-half to two times the employee's annual salary -- and that's a conservative estimate."

Businesses can help minimize those costs by remembering that keeping their employees safe on the job is financially in their best interest – not to mention one of their primary responsibilities as an employer. OSHA states, "Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace. No person should ever have to be injured, become ill, or die for a paycheck."

Providing a safe and healthy workplace benefits employers with lower Workers' Compensation Insurance costs, reduced absenteeism, increased productivity, and better employee morale. The bottom line: workplace safety is good for business, especially in those industries that are particularly dangerous, such as construction, restaurant, and trucking.

The first step to creating a safer work environment is a comprehensive workplace safety program. OSHA reports that businesses receive an average return of $4 to $6 for every dollar invested in workplace safety programs.

One of the essential elements of a workplace safety program is Training. OSHA states, "Training in the safe way for workers to do their jobs well is an investment that will pay back over and over again in fewer injuries and illnesses, better morale, lower insurance premiums and more."

Here are four safety training guidelines:

1. Identify Hazards

One of the first steps in any workplace safety program is to identify potential hazards and initiate controls. Hazard controls can help minimize employee exposure to workplace hazards before work begins. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) suggests implementing a hierarchy of controls that includes the following:

  1. Elimination – physically removing the hazard

  2. Substitution – replacing the hazard

  3. Engineering Controls – isolating people from the hazard

  4. Administrative Controls – changing the way people work

  5. PPE – protecting employees with personal protective equipment

Once you understand potential hazards in your workplace and initiated appropriate controls, your next step is to train employees on those hazards and how to avoid them.

2. Understand Safety Standards/Regulations

OSHA's Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 includes many regulations/standards that employers are required to follow, including training requirements. OSHA states, "Many OSHA standards, which have prevented countless workplace tragedies, include explicit safety and health training requirements to ensure that workers have the required skills and knowledge to do their work safely. These requirements reflect OSHA's belief that training is an essential part of every employer's safety and health program for protecting workers from injuries and illnesses. Researchers conclude that those who are new on the job have a higher rate of injuries and illnesses than more experienced workers."

Following these regulations help keep your employees safe and protects your business from OSHA penalties, which can be as high as $136,532 per violation.

3. Provide Effective Training

Not everyone is a good trainer, so choose your trainers wisely. A good trainer is organized, understands the importance of listening, knows how to engage employees, etc. If you want the safety training to be effective, choose someone adept at teaching people, not someone who will simply read from a book.

You may want to consider using some of the training resources offered by OSHA, such as training material and training courses.

4. Document Training

OSHA standards require training documentation for certain types of safety training but not all. However, it's in your best interest to document all safety training. Documentation should include the name of the employee attending (and possibly their signature), the name and signature of the person training, the date and subject of the Training, and proof of competency.

Lower Workers' Compensation Insurance Costs the Easy Way!

Give American Insuring Group a call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online to discover more ways to save on all of your insurance needs. We're independent agents, so we shop among competing insurance carriers to get you the best deal on the right insurance. Contact us today!

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp costs, Safety Programs

Workers’ Compensation Insurance and Employees Working Remotely

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Jan 15, 2022

We Provide Affordable Workers Comp Insurance in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Reading, Allentown, Erie, Lancaster and throughout PAThe COVID pandemic created a shift in the number of Americans working from home and has caused some gray areas for Workers’ Compensation Insurance. Statistics show that in the last five years, the number of people who work from home has risen by 44%, with approximately 62% of employees between the ages of 22 and 65 working remotely at least occasionally. Plus, 16% of companies worldwide are now 100% remote.

There are advantages to working from home for both employees and employers:

  • 77% of remote workers believe they are more productive when working from home.
  • 75% of employees working remotely do so because there are fewer distractions at home.
  • 69% of millennials say they would give up certain work benefits for a more flexible working space.
  • 64% of recruiters say that the ability to offer a work-from-home option helps them find high-quality talent.
  • 74% of workers say that having a remote work opportunity would make them less likely to leave a company.

However, working from home does create challenges when it comes to Workers’ Compensation Insurance.

What is Workers Compensation (WC)?

The PA Department of Labor & Industry defines WC as a “mandatory, employer-financed, no-fault insurance which ensures that employees disabled due to a work-related injury or disease will be compensated for lost wages and provides necessary medical treatment to return them to the workforce.” Failure to carry WC coverage can result in a $2,500 fine, up to one year imprisonment, and more.

WC covers any injury that “arises out of and in the course of employment.” So, any injury that occurs while an employee is performing work-related activities during working hours may be a valid WC claim. Where that work is performed is irrelevant; it can be outside or inside the workplace. However, the injury must be “work-related” to be considered a valid WC claim.

Workers' Compensation Challenges

Determining whether or not an injury is work-related becomes more challenging and finding witnesses to verify what occurred is nearly impossible for injuries that occur to employees working remotely.

Plus, one of the best ways to lower WC costs is to file fewer claims. When employees work in your facility, there are many steps you can take to create a safer work environment to minimize the risk of injury. However, when employees work remotely, you have little to no control over their work environment.

5 Steps to Reduce Liability for WC Claims

  1. Create a written statement that establishes policies relating to employees working from home, including defining the employee’s work duties and expectations regarding communication and status updates.

  2. Clearly define work hours and determine how you will track hours virtually.

  3. Provide home workspace guidelines. For example, show them how to include proper lighting in their workspace to avoid eyestrain and create a workstation to mitigate the risk of repetitive stress injuries.

  4. Review home offices to eliminate potential hazards, such as loose cords or overloaded electrical outlets.

  5. Establish cybersecurity processes. While this isn’t directly related to WC, it can help minimize a data breach or cyberattack liability risk because 54% of IT professionals consider remote workers to pose a greater security risk than traditional workers.

Review Insurance Policies

Any significant changes should warrant an insurance review to ensure you have the right coverage. For example, purchasing new equipment may require additional insurance, decreasing the number of employees could lower your WC costs, and allowing employees to work from home can create different liability issues that need to be addressed.

Save Now on Workers Compensation Insurance!

To ensure you have the right insurance at the lowest cost, call one of the experienced, independent agents at American Insuring Group today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp costs

5 Tips to Minimize the Risk of Back Injuries in the Workplace

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Dec 04, 2021

Avoid Back Injury, and save on workers comp insurance in Philadelphia, Reading, Lancaster, Allentown, Pittsburgh, Erie and throughout PA

Back injuries account for nearly 20% of all injuries and illnesses in the workplace, according to the Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), and those injuries are costing businesses billions of dollars in lost productivity, Workers' Compensation Insurance costs, and more.

What Causes Back Injuries?

Back Injuries can happen in an instant or develop over time. Here are five common risks for back injuries:

      • Repetitive Motion
      • Poor Physical Condition
      • Incorrect Lifting
      • Poor Posture
      • Inactivity

    How to Minimize the Risk of Back Injuries

Most back injuries are preventable. Here are five tips to minimize the risk of back injuries.

 

Modify Repetitive Tasks


Repetitive tasks or maintaining the same posture for long periods can strain your body, including your back. There's even a name for it – Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI). If you have a task that you need to do repeatedly, try to modify that task to alleviate some of the strain on your back.

For example, lift-assist tools can help if you need to lift on the job repeatedly, and blue-tooth headphones can help if you are constantly on the phone.

     Lift Properly

Improper lifting can cause back injuries. Before lifting anything, determine the size and weight of the load and get assistance or use a mechanical lifting device if needed. Here are five proper lifting tips from Princeton University:

    1. Warm up
    2. Stand close to load
    3. Bend your knees
    4. Grip the load
    5. Lower load in reverse

Notice Your Posture

Poor posture puts unnecessary stress on muscles, joints, and ligaments in different parts of the body. Even if you work in an office and sit behind a desk most of the time, bad posture can cause back injuries. To maintain good posture throughout the day, make sure your workstation is set up correctly and that you take regular breaks.

Here are six tips from Albert Einstein College of Medicine:

    1. Adjust your chair so that your thighs are horizontal with the floor, your feet are flat, and the backrest supports your lower back. If your feet do not rest comfortably on the floor, use a footrest.
    2. Adjust your keyboard or chair height so that, while you're typing, your elbows are at a 90-degree angle, and your wrists are straight.
    3. Adjust your computer monitor so that the top of the screen is at your eye level.
    4. Use a document holder so your papers can be kept at the same level as your computer monitor.
    5. Make motions such as typing and stapling with the least amount of force possible.
    6. Adjust the window blinds or lighting, so there is no glare on the computer screen.

     Stay Healthy

A healthy body performs better, is less likely to be injured, and heals more quickly; therefore, keeping healthy can help you avoid and minimize the severity and recovery time of back injuries. Healthy habits include…

Staying hydrated. According to the Mayo Clinic, men should drink about 15.5 cups of water per day and women should drink about 11.5 cups of water per day.

Staying active by getting at least 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week.

Eating healthy by focusing on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat milk; including a variety of protein foods; limiting saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt, and sugar consumption; and staying within your daily calorie needs.

Listen to Your Body

If you listen, your body can tell you a lot and help you prevent a multitude of injuries, including back injuries. If you feel pain or tenderness, stiffness, difficulty standing, muscle spasms, bruising, etc., your body is telling you that something isn't right. If you continue to try to "work through the pain," you may be causing more injury.

Lower Workers' Compensation Insurance Costs

Minimizing the risk of back injuries is one step toward lowering Workers' Compensation costs. Another step is working with one of the experienced independent agents at American Insuring Group who specialize in WC insurance.

So give us a call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

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

5 Tips to Lower Workers' Compensation Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Nov 13, 2021

Ways-to-Lower-WC-Costs-800Pennsylvania law mandates that every employer (with very few exceptions) provides Workers' Compensation Insurance for their employees.

The cost of this insurance is based on several factors, such as payroll, work risk, and work history. The National Academy of Social Insurance reports the average cost of WC insurance in PA in 2018 was $1.35 per $100 of payroll.

The good news is that there are many steps employers can take to lower Workers' Compensation Insurance costs. Number one is creating a safer work environment because fewer claims mean lower WC Insurance costs. Here are five additional tips to help lower your Workers' Compensation costs.

Immediately Report Injuries

PA law requires that workplace injuries be reported promptly, and reporting injuries quickly also provides many benefits to the employer.

  • A delay in treatment can worsen the injury, thereby extending recovery time and increasing days out of work.
  • It's harder to investigate a claim, determine compensability, and identify fraudulent claims that are not reported promptly.
  • If an employee reports an injury and the employer delays the claim, it can create distrust in the injured employee and other employees.
  • It's the law. Employers are required to file all WC claims within 21 days.

Communicate with Injured Employees

Regular communication helps maintain good relationships by letting injured employees know that you are concerned about their well-being and recovery and that they are valued employees. Failure to do so can cause an unhappy worker (which can extend to un-injured employees), and unhappy workers are more likely to hire an attorney. Regular discussions also help keep employers apprised of an injured employee's medical status so they can get them back to work as quickly and safely as possible.

Get Injured Employees Back to Work as Quickly and Safely as Possible

Getting injured employees back to work – even in a limited capacity – benefits both the employer and the injured employee. Here are the benefits of a return-to-work program, according to SHRM:

  • Increased productivity.
  • Reduced costs due to overtime pay as other workers fill in.
  • Reduced administrative costs associated with filling the position with temporary help.
  • Controlled workers' compensation claim costs.
  • Reduced short-term disability (STD) and long-term disability (LTD) costs.
  • Reduction in absenteeism and days away from work.

Employees benefit from an RTW program because:

  • They maintain some or all of their earnings.
  • They retain their skills and are productive contributors to the organization.
  • They are likely to return to their pre-injury jobs more quickly.
  • They maintain social connections and sense of purpose with their work routine.

Analyze

One way to lower your WC costs is to improve your loss history. One way to improve your loss history is by analyzing a loss run report – a report issued by your current insurance provider that shows your company's claim activity.

Loss Run Reports provide a great deal of information, such as the date of each claim, a description of each claim, the amount paid to the insured, and whether or not the claim is closed. Insurance companies use the information from these reports to determine how risky a business is to insure, which can affect the premium you pay or even determine if an insurance company will issue or renew your policy.

Use this information to lower your insurance costs. Here's how:

  • Is the information accurate?
  • Are there common injuries that you can minimize?
  • If you have a high number of claims from one individual or new hires, can you improve safety training?
  • If you have a lost-time claim higher than the average 20-25%, can you improve your return-to-work Program?
  • If you discover a pattern of long reporting times, can you provide additional safety training for managers?
  • If you see a large number of litigated claims, could it be a lack of communication, a bad business culture, or disgruntled employees?

Create a Wellness Program

Healthier employees lead to happier, more productive employees, fewer days away from work, and lower workers' compensation costs. A Duke University Medical Center analysis reported that obese workers filed twice as many WC claims, missed 13 times more workdays from a workplace injury or illness, and incurred seven times higher medical costs than non-obese workers.

Indiana State Department of Health reported, "Workers' compensation costs for a smoker averaged $2,189 compared to only $176 for a nonsmoker." And one study found that "smokers are absent from work for sickness as many as 6.16 days per year on average, compared with 3.86 days for those employees who never smoke."

A wellness program can help improve your employees' lives and your Workers' Compensation costs.

Lower Workers' Compensation Insurance Costs

Work with one of the experienced and trusted agents at American Insuring Group. We work with more than 25 competing insurance carriers to find the best insurance value to meet your specific situation.

Give us a call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

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

Reduce WC Costs with Designated Health Care Providers

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Oct 09, 2021

Reduce Workers Comp Costs with Designated Health Care ProvidersOne way to reduce the cost of Workers’ Compensation Insurance is by managing medical expenses. One way Pennsylvania employers can manage medical costs is by providing a list of designated health care providers.

The PA Workers’ Compensation Act allows employers to establish a list of designated health care providers and states that injured employees “must seek treatment for the work injury or illness with one of the designated providers for 90 days from the date of the first visit.” Without this list, injured employees can seek medical treatment from any provider.

Creating a list of good health care providers for your injured employees not only helps you manage health care costs and lower WC insurance; it also helps ensure that your injured employees receive the best care possible. First, however, there are guidelines providers must follow.


      • The list must be posted in an area where employees will see it.
      • There must be at least six providers on the list.
      • Three of the providers must be physicians.
      • A maximum of four providers can be coordinated care organizations.
      • The list must include the providers’ name, address, telephone number, and area of medical specialty.
      • Providers must be geographically accessible.
      • Providers’ specialties must be appropriate for anticipated work-related injuries and illness of employees.
      • If a particular specialty is not on the list and the specialty care is reasonable and necessary for treatment of the work injury, injured employees are permitted to choose their own health care provider.
      • Employers must state if any of the providers are employed, owned, or controlled by the employer or its WC insurance provider.
      • Employers must provide a clearly written notice to all newly hired employees regarding their rights and responsibilities, which every employee reads, signs, and returns to the employer.
      • When an injury occurs, the injured employee should read and sign another acknowledgment of their rights and responsibilities.
      • Employers can’t direct injured employees to any specific provider on the list and must allow employees to switch from one provider to another provider on the list.
      • In an emergency situation, the injured employee is not required to seek medical treatment from a provider on the list. But once the emergency is over, they must use a provider on the list.
      • Injured employees are permitted to change physicians after 90 days, but they must give notice of the change to the employer and the insurance carrier within five days of the first treatment.

Additional Tips to Save on Workers’ Compensation Costs

WC Insurance covers the cost of medical treatment and lost wages for employees who are injured on the job and helps protect businesses against lawsuits filed by injured workers. In Pennsylvania, Workers’ Compensation Insurance is mandatory for almost every employer, whether an employee is full-time or part-time or even family.

However, there are steps - besides creating a designated health care provider list – businesses can take to lower their WC costs. Here are just a few.

    1. Institute a Documented Safety Program – Several studies have found that every dollar invested in preventing workplace injuries can yield a $2 to $6 return on investment.

    2. Have a Return-to-Work (RTW) Program – Not only can RTW Programs lower costs related to employee injuries, but they can also help keep injured employees engaged, lower the risk of litigation claims, reduce employee turnover, and increase productivity.

    3. Work with an Experienced Workers’ Compensation Insurance AgentThe agents at American Insuring Group have many years of experience in Workers Comp Insurance and can help guide you through the process. Plus, as independent agents, we check with several insurance companies to make sure you pay the lowest rate for all of your insurance needs.

→ Start saving on WC and other insurance costs by giving American Insuring Group 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, Return-To-Work Programs

4 Tips to Lower the Risk of Workers' Comp Litigation

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Sep 25, 2021

4 Tips to Lower the Risk of Workers Comp LitigationIn Pennsylvania, almost all employers are required to carry Workers' Compensation Insurance (WC) for their employees. WC covers medical costs and lost wages for an employee that is injured on the job. WC also protects employers from negligence lawsuits. 

However, that doesn't make employers impervious to WC litigation. Under Pennsylvania law, if a workers' comp claim is denied, the injured employee has up to three years to file an appeal. And statistics show that litigated workers' compensation claims cost businesses more money, making minimizing the risk of litigation a smart move. 

Here are four tips to Lower the Risk of Workers' Compensation Litigation. 

Minimize the Risk of Injury

The best way to minimize the risk of WC litigation is to reduce the risk of injury with a workplace safety program.

 According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), every workplace safety program should include the following elements:

  • Commitment from management
  • Employee Involvement
  • A workplace analysis
  • Hazard prevention and control
  • Employee training
  • Communication

Creating a safer work environment does more than lower the risk of litigation. It also helps improve your bottom line. Discover the impact of workplace injuries on your profitability with OSHA's "$afety Pays" program. 

Understand Why Injured Employees Seek Litigation

A Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) study in 2014 took a look at why employees will hire an attorney. Here are the three primary reasons:

  • Fear of getting fired just because they were injured on the job
  • A belief that their supervisors don't believe it's a legitimate injury
  • Concerns that the claim will be denied 

Once you know what can trigger an injured employee to seek litigation, you can take steps to prevent those triggers from happening. 

Communicate With Injured Employees

One of those steps is to communicate with injured employees. In that study, WCRI found that 33% of all the injured workers they surveyed were afraid that they were going to be fired. Regular communication with an injured employee can help eliminate that and many other uncertainties (which is often why people seek litigation). 

As soon as possible, someone from your company should reach out to the injured employee to ask how they're doing. But, first, you need to determine the best person to keep in touch with the injured employee. That person could be the employee's immediate supervisor, someone from human resources, etc. 

Then, you should have weekly face-to-face meetings with injured employees to show them that you value them, get updates on their medical condition, and discuss a potential transitional duty job. During these regular meetings, you can also gauge the attitude of the injured employee more quickly. 

During these conversations, you should listen to and address their concerns, assure them that their job is safe, and encourage them to focus on recovery. 

Have a Return to Work program

A return to work (RTW) program helps bring injured employees back to work more quickly. That could mean modified duties for the employee until they can medically return to their original job. In addition, an RTW helps an employee feel more productive and more connected to their workplace, which means they will be less likely to seek litigation.

The PA Department of Labor & Industry states, "Return-to-Work programs benefit all partners in the compensation system."

  • Injured workers maintain employment security, seniority, and benefits and receive personalized and effective treatment;
  • Employers retain experienced employees while reducing accident and workplace costs;
  • Health care providers are supported in their decisions and treatment strategies;
  • Unions maintain the employment rights of their members; and
  • The workers' compensation system can manage rising health care costs and provide high levels of benefits to injured workers and their dependents. 

And, of course, RTW programs help minimize the potential for an injured employee to seek litigation.

Save on Workers' Compensation Insurance

The experienced agents at American Insuring Group specialize in WC insurance and ensure you have the right coverage 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 insurance, PA Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp costs

Reviewing Your Loss Run Report Can Lower WC Insurance Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Jul 17, 2021

Reviewing Your Loss Run Report Can Lower WC Insurance Costs in the Lehigh Valley, Philadelphia, Erie, Pittsburgh, Lancaster, Reading and throughout Pennsylvania.In Pennsylvania, almost every employer is required to carry Workers’ Compensation Insurance for their employees; however, they are not required to pay more than they have to.

There are many ways employers can lower WC costs - creating a safer workplace, working with an insurance agent – like those at American Insuring Group - who specializes in Workers’ Comp, and reviewing your company’s WC Loss Run Report at least once a year.

What is a Loss Run Report?

A Loss Run Report – issued by your current insurance provider - shows your company’s claim activity for the policy period. You can request this report for most types of business insurance – including Workers’ Comp, and most states require the company to provide the report within a certain amount of time.

Loss Run Reports list the date of each loss and claim, a brief description of each claim, the amount paid to the insured, and whether or not the claim is closed. You can think of it like a credit report or report card for insurance companies. They use the information in the report to determine how risky a business is to insure, which can affect the premium you pay for insurance or even if an insurance company will issue a policy or renew a policy for your business.

You can use the information to lower your insurance costs and even improve other areas of your business.

What Should You Review on a Loss Run Report?

Accuracy

At the very minimum, you should check the Loss Run Report for accuracy. Ensure that you recognize every claim listed on the report and that the information listed is correct. Invalid claims or incorrect information could impact how much you pay for insurance.

Common Injuries

The report also lists the most common and frequent injuries and where they occurred. You can use this information to improve safety and lower the number of injuries within your company, reducing your insurance (and other) costs.

Claimants

Suppose you notice a high number of claims from one individual or specifically from new hires. In that case, you can talk to them about safety or adjust your safety training to help reduce the likelihood of additional claims.

Lost Time

Lost-Time claims indicate that compensation was paid to an injured worker who cannot perform their job due to the injury. The national average for lost-time claims is between 20 and 25 percent. If you notice a high percentage of lost-time claims, you may want to take a look at your Return-to-Work program. There are many benefits for both employee and employer to get injured employees back to work as soon as possible – even if it’s in a modified capacity. 

Reporting Time

Injuries should be reported within 24 hours whenever possible so the injured employee can receive quick and proper treatment. If you notice a pattern of a long time between when an injury occurs and when it is reported, you may need to look at additional safety training for management.

Open Claims

The longer a claim is open, the more it costs you, so your goal should be to close claims as quickly as possible. Any open claims should be monitored closely.

Litigation

A large percentage of litigated claims could be a red flag. It could be an indication that employees are dissatisfied with their employer or their job. If you see a large percentage of litigated claims on your loss run report, you may want to consider how well management communicates with employees, your business culture, or other areas that can cause discontent among employees.

How to Lower Your Workers’ Compensation Insurance Costs

They say “knowledge is power,” which is certainly true when it comes to lowering your Workers’ Compensation costs. If you don’t know there’s a problem, you can’t fix it. A Loss Run Report can help identify potential issues that you can address to improve your company’s bottom line.

Working with an independent agent with experience in WC insurance – as the agents at American Insuring Group do – is another way to lower your WC costs. We will compare costs and options among competing worker's compensation insurance carriers to be sure you get the right insurance at the best price. Call today 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