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7 Workers' Compensation Insurance Tips

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Sep 10, 2022

Use these tips to save on Workers Compensation Insurance in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Allentown, Reading, Harrisburg, Lancaster and throughout PennsylvaniaMost states – including Pennsylvania – require nearly all employers to carry Workers' Compensation (WC) Insurance, but shopping for WC insurance can be frustrating. American Insuring Group is here to help simplify the process and ensure you have the right coverage at the lowest cost.

What is Workers' Compensation Insurance?

Before we get into the nuts and bolts of purchasing WC Insurance, let's discuss what it is and how your premium is calculated. We will focus on PA WC, but many other states are similar (see first tip below).

The PA Department of Labor & Industry states, "The workers' compensation system protects employees and employers. Employees receive medical treatment and are compensated for lost wages associated with work-related injuries and disease, and employers provide for the cost of such coverage while being protected from direct lawsuits by employees."

In Pennsylvania, whether you have one employee or one hundred employees, full or part-time employees, or your employees are family, you are probably required to have Workers' Compensation Insurance. There are few exemptions, such as railroad workers, federal employees, domestic servants, etc. Failure to provide WC for your employees can lead to significant fines, lawsuits, and even criminal prosecution.

Your Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation premium is based on the following formula:

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

Here are seven tips for purchasing WC Insurance to ensure you have the right coverage at the lowest cost.

Know What Your State Requires

Your state will determine whether or not you are required to carry Workers' Compensation Insurance, the WC regulations you need to follow, and how you can purchase the insurance. Click here for a state-by-state comparison and links to the entities responsible for Workers' Compensation. And remember, even if you are not required to purchase WC insurance, it may be worth having.

Provide Your Existing Policy

If you already have WC coverage, keep your policy handy. Providing information – such as your employees' class codes, your experience modifier, and loss run reports – from that policy can help expedite the process.

Choose the Right Classification Codes

As shown in the formula above, the classification code will affect your WC premium. Classification codes are based on the likelihood of an employee being injured on the job. For example, the classification code for an accountant or someone with administrative responsibilities will represent less risk than a classification code for a driver or contractor. Typically, the more risk of injury, the higher your WC costs.

You don't want to misclassify an accountant as a driver because you'll pay more than necessary for your WC coverage. On the other hand, you don't want to misclassify a driver as an accountant because if caught during the annual audit or a claim, you may be required to pay the outstanding amount owed and/or severe penalties.

Monitor Your Payroll

When purchasing WC coverage, your annual payroll will be estimated based on your current circumstances, which of course, can change. When your insurance carrier conducts its annual audit, you may receive a credit or a bill based on the actual payroll. Monitoring and reporting your payroll throughout the year can help improve your business cash flow.

Ask About Discounts and Credits

Yes, your WC premium is based on the formula above, and most of the components of that formula are out of your control. However, you may be entitled to discounts and/or credits for lowering risk with workplace safety or formal training programs.

Review Annually

Your insurer will conduct an audit each year, and so should you. It's an opportunity to check for errors and provide any updates. Reviewing your loss run report – a report issued by your current insurance provider that shows your company's claim activity for the policy period - may also help lower your WC insurance costs.

Work With a Workers Comp Expert!

Working with an independent agent with experience in Workers Compensation insurance at American Insuring Group is a great 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 costs

The Key to Lowering Workers’ Comp Costs is Good Communication

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Aug 13, 2022

Good communication can reduce accidents and help you save on Worker's Compensation insurance in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Reading, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Allentown, Lebanon and throughout PA. Contact us today to learn more.Good communication is key to lowering Workers’ Compensation (WC) Insurance costs. Unfortunately, many business owners are under the false impression that communicating with injured employees can cause WC claims and increase the cost of those claims. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Lack of communication and miscommunication in the claims process can cost your business more. For example, injured employees typically hire a lawyer – not to get more money but because of inadequate communication with their employees. For example, one study found that “46% [of injured employees] said they hired attorneys because they felt the claim had been denied when, in fact, it had not yet been accepted into the process.” And the truth is that WC cases that involve attorneys often cost more. 

An injured employee may be worried about their injury, recovery, and how they will continue to support their family. In addition, they may be in pain or facing unfamiliar medical treatments or medication. Plus, WC claims can be complicated. This can result in a scared, stressed, confused, and possibly angry employee. If the injured employee understands that you are concerned about their well-being and are willing to help them through the WC claims process, you become an ally (rather than an adversary). The only way to accomplish that is through good communication before, during, and after a workplace injury. 

Workers’ Compensation Communication

Good communication should be part of the onboarding process of new employees:

  • Foster a Positive Culture of Safety – From the start, you need to create a culture of safety that emphasizes safety as a core value of your business.
  • Foster Ongoing Communication – Employees need to know that it is safe for them to report safety concerns and injuries without fear of retaliation.
  • Provide WC Information – Employers should provide all employees with information about WC, including how to report an injury, what type of injuries are covered, who to contact if they have questions, a list of designated medical providers, etc.
  • Training – All employees should receive ongoing safety training to minimize the risk of injury and to know what to do if an injury occurs. Supervisors should receive training regarding Workers’ Compensation in addition to safety training. CFO advises, “Supervisors are often in the best position to shape workers’ initial expectations about what should happen, post-injury.”

Good communication is also crucial when an injury occurs:

  • Seek Appropriate Medical Attention – When an injury occurs, your first priority should be to ensure that the injured employee receives appropriate medical attention.
  • Thorough Investigation – Every time an injury occurs, a thorough investigation of the incident should occur. The investigation should include interviews with the injured employee and any co-workers who witnessed the incident.
  • Documentation – Every incident should be well-documented while everything is still fresh in everyone’s mind. 

Ongoing communication during the claims process is critical for a timely resolution:

  • Designate one employee to be the primary contact point for injured employees. That employee should be patient, kind, understanding, and familiar with the WC claims process.
  • Provide written and verbal information about the claims process, what the injured employee should expect, etc.
  • Regular communication (at least every other week) throughout the recovery process allows employers to monitor the recovery process, update the injured employee on the progress of the claim, and answer any questions or concerns the injured employee may have.
  • Communicate Genuine Empathy and Trust. Regular informal phone and in-person conversations and get-well cards show the employee that you are concerned about their well-being.
  • Discuss Return-to-Work Assignments. Communicate to injured employees that you are concerned about their well-being and that you are looking forward to them returning to work when it is medically safe to do so. Discuss the possibility of light-duty or transitional duty opportunities with medical providers and the injured employee. 

The Key to Lowering Workers’ Compensation Costs

Good communication should begin with your insurance provider. The independent agents at American Insuring Group listen carefully to better understand your needs, so we can ensure that you get the right workers' compensation insurance coverage at a great price!

Get started today by calling (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, Business Insurance

How a Return-to-Work Program Can Save You Money

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Jul 23, 2022

A return to work program can help you save on workers compensation insurance costs in Philadelphia, Erie, Pittsburgh, Lancaster, Reading, Allentown, York, Hanover, Lebanon and elsewhere in Pennsylvania.Workers’ Compensation Insurance (WC) is mandatory in most states, including Pennsylvania. 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. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2.7 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses were reported by private industry employers in 2020. In addition, 1,176,340 of those injuries and illnesses caused workers to miss at least one day of work. 

The longer an injured employee is out of work, the less likely they will return to work. The longer a claim remains open and an injured employee is off the job, the more it costs the employer. 

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reports that absenteeism costs exceed $40 billion a year. Here are a few of the absenteeism costs cited for employers:

  • Recovery of production
  • Quality and hiring of replacement workers
  • Lower employee morale
  • Increased training costs
  • Overtime

 A Return-to-Work (RTW) program gets injured employees back to work more quickly and safely and provides many benefits to both employees and employers.

 What is a Return-to-Work Program?

An RTW program is designed to get injured employees back to work as soon as possible (based on their doctor’s recommendation). That could mean the injured employee comes back to modified duties or a temporary position to accommodate any limitations caused by the injury.

 The Department of Labor & Industry defines RTW as “a proactive approach, endorsed by many health care providers, designed to help restore injured workers to their former lifestyle in the safest and most effective manner possible. A partnership among workers, union representatives, employers, and health care providers stakeholders is developed in a collaborative effort to return the injured worker back to his or her pre-injury status.”

 What are the Benefits of a Return-to-Work Program?

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.

 Here are a few benefits of an RTW for the employer:

  • Claims are resolved more quickly
  • Reduced WC claim costs
  • Increased productivity
  • Retention of experienced employees
  • Reduced accidents
  • Reduced absenteeism
  • Reduced staff turnover
  • Lower training costs
  • Reduced overtime pay
  • Reduced administrative costs
  • More experienced and knowledgeable workers
  • Decreased number of grievances and arbitrations
  • Improved employee morale and employee relations
  • Shows employees that the employer cares about the well-being of its employees

 Here are a few benefits of an RTW for the injured employee:

  • Maintained employment relationship
  • Minimize loss of physical fitness
  • Maintained skills
  • Maintained pension plans, medical benefits, and group life insurance
  • Maintained vacation and sick day benefits
  • Maintained social connections and a sense of purpose
  • Focus on abilities rather than disabilities
  • Quicker recovery time

 Research shows that even co-workers can benefit from an RTW program.

 How Can We Create a Return-to-Work Program?

Despite common misconceptions, back-to-work programs don’t need to be costly or complicated but benefit everyone. SHRM recommends following the following steps to create an effective RTW program:

Step 1 – Determine who will be included in the RTW/light-duty program

Step 2 – Define what will be included in the program

Step 3 – Develop a written policy

Step 4 – Review the organization’s current job descriptions

Step 5 – Develop a bank of light duties

Step 6 – Develop a form

Step 7 – Designate an RTW coordinator

 

We Help You Save on Workers’ Compensation Insurance Costs!

The independent agents at American Insuring Group can help ensure that you pay the lowest premiums on WC and all your insurance needs. We shop the market for you to get you the best deal on quality insurance protection in Pennsylvania and elsewhere.

Call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online to discover how we can help save you money!

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

Alcohol and Workers' Compensation Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Jun 11, 2022

Alcohol use can affect workers comp insurance coverage in Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Lancaster, Allentown, Reading and throughout Pennsylvania.In Pennsylvania, Workers' Compensation Insurance (WC) is based on a no-fault liability premise, which means a workplace injury is covered by Workers Comp regardless of who is at fault. However, there are a few exceptions, such as the "intoxication defense."

"This is a relatively new defense. The Workers' Compensation Act, when originally drafted and enacted, had no intoxication defense," Rothman Gordon Attorneys states. "It was not until 1993 that the Intoxication Defense was added as a part of a nationwide trend of cracking down on drugs and alcohol in the workplace.

A string of drunk driving offenses established that because a blood alcohol content (BAC) over the legal limit (currently .08) established a presumption of intoxication, employers argued they could establish the same presumption in the workplace."

Furthermore, "Pennsylvania is the only state that does not oblige the employer to prove intoxication was the proximate cause (a material contributing factor) of the accident."

Today, the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act states, "In cases where the injury or death is caused by intoxication, no compensation shall be paid if the injury or death would not have occurred but for the employee's intoxication." However, it is important to note that the burden of proof is with the employer.

Over time, alcohol can affect job performance and threaten the health and safety of all employees and the security of your equipment and facilities. So, what can an employer do to protect itself and its employees regarding the use of alcohol? 

Create a Policy

Set a clear, legal, and enforceable written policy regarding the use of alcohol that includes enforcement, punishments, and drug and alcohol testing policies. Ensure that you have written confirmation that each employee understands the policy. 

Pay Attention to Employees

Pay attention to how your employees are acting. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management states, "Even though you must not try to diagnose the problem, there are many signs that may indicate a problem with alcohol…" Those signs include the following:

  • Unexplained or unauthorized absences from work
  • Frequent tardiness
  • Excessive use of sick leave
  • Patterns of absence such as the day after payday or frequent Monday or Friday absences
  • Frequent unplanned absences due to "emergencies" (e.g., household repairs, car trouble, family emergencies, legal problems)
  • Missed deadlines
  • Careless or sloppy work or incomplete assignments
  • Production quotas not met
  • Many excuses for incomplete assignments or missed deadlines
  • Faulty analysis
  • Relationships with co-workers may become strained
  • The employee may be belligerent, argumentative, or short-tempered, especially in the mornings or after weekends or holidays
  • The employee may become a "loner"
  • The smell of alcohol
  • Staggering or an unsteady gait
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • The smell of alcohol on the breath
  • Mood and behavior changes such as excessive laughter and inappropriate loud talk
  • Excessive use of mouthwash or breath mints
  • Avoidance of supervisory contact, especially after lunch
  • Tremors
  • Sleeping on duty

Document Reasonable Suspicion

SHRM states, "Concerns that an employee is under the influence often come from co-workers or even clients or vendors before a supervisor or manager notices." If you receive a complaint or suspect an employee is under the influence of alcohol (or drugs) at work, you need to document it properly. SHRM suggests the following steps:

  1. Receive complaints
  2. Observe the Employee
  3. Remove the Employee from Safety-Sensitive Areas
  4. Document Observations
  5. Assess the Situation
  6. Meet With Employee
  7. Prepare Transportation
  8. Send the Employee for Testing
  9. Wait for Test Results
  10. Respond to Employee's Refusal to Take the Test
  11. Respond to Negative Test Results
  12. Respond to a Positive Test Result

Workers' Compensation Benefits

If you suspect the use of alcohol caused a workplace injury, you can fight the claim; however, the burden of proof is on you as the employer. Policies regarding alcohol must be established and enforced, everything must be well documented, and a thorough investigation with evidence is crucial for successful denial of claims.

Here's How to Save on Workers' Compensation Costs!

The independent agents at American Insuring Group specialize in WC Insurance and are dedicated to helping you save on WC and other insurance costs. As independent agents, we shop the market, comparing rates and coverages among competing insurers. We shop so you can save!

So, call us 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

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

What Truck Drivers and Fleet Owners Need to Know About WC Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Mon, May 09, 2022

Workers Compensation Insurance Tips for Truck Drivers and Truck Fleet Owners in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Harrisburg, Reading, Lancaster and throughout PACommercial Truck Insurance – including Workers’ Comp Insurance - is designed to help protect your business financially in the event of an accident. This is good because we all know that trucking can be a dangerous and expensive industry. 

According to the National Safety Council, in 2020, 4,842 large trucks were involved in fatal crashes, and 107,000 large trucks were involved in crashes resulting in an injury. Furthermore, the Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports, “The estimated cost of police-reported crashes involving trucks with a gross weight rating of more than 10,000 pounds averaged $91,112 (in 2005 dollars).” 

Am I Required to Purchase Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

In Pennsylvania and many other states, every employer (with very few exceptions) is required to carry Workers’ Compensation (WC) Insurance. WC covers medical expenses, disability payments, death benefits, and lost wages in a work-related injury or illness. Therefore, if you employ drivers – whether it’s delivering food locally or cargo across the country – you are required by law to carry Workers’ Comp for those drivers. 

The requirement for owner/operator drivers is a bit grayer. According to the Department of Labor and Industry, “If an insured utilizes owner/operators and is part of a trucking operation, proof of workers’ compensation insurance coverage may be required.” If you aren’t sure if you are required to carry Workers’ Comp insurance, speak with the WC experts at American Insuring Group or check on the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation website. 

However, even if you find that you are not required to carry WC insurance, you may want to consider purchasing it. “Insurance experts and many attorneys, in fact, say that allowing owner-operators to opt-out of coverage is simply asking for trouble,” Layover.com states. “Owner-operators who run without some type of medical coverage risk financial devastation if they are injured on the job.” 

Consider this:

  • If you’re on your spouse’s medical insurance, work-related illnesses and injuries may not be covered.
  • Even if they are covered, if you’re injured and can’t work, you’re looking at lost income, which is something WC insurance covers but medical insurance typically does not.
  • If you are killed in a work-related accident, WC pays death benefits to provide financial support to your family.

 How Do I Purchase Workers’ Compensation?

Fortunately, purchasing Workers’ Compensation insurance doesn’t have to be complicated. The experienced agents at American Insuring Group can help. Here are typical questions we may ask when you’re requesting a quote:

  • What is your company’s name and type of business entity?
  • What is your FEIN or SSN?
  • How many employees do you have?
  • How many owners does your company have?
  • What are your liability limits?
  • Do you have a DOT number?
  • What type of vehicle(s) do you need to be insured?
  • What is the driving radius of your trucker(s)?
  • Is the driver hauling their own goods?
  • Does your operator(s) do loading and unloading?

 How Can I Lower Workers’ Compensation Insurance Costs?

There are many steps you can take to lower your WC and other insurance costs:

  • Hire the most qualified drivers
  • Provide safety training
  • Develop a positive culture of safety

Don't Miss Out on the Easiest Way to Save on Commercial Truck Insurance!

Another way to lower all your Commercial Truck Insurance costs is to work with an independent agent at American Insuring Group. We will carefully compare truck insurance coverages and costs among many competing carriers to ensure you receive the right coverage at the lowest cost.

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

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, Commercial Vehicle Insurance, truck insurance, PA Workers Compensation Insurance, Trucking Insurance

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

How Can DST Affect Truck Insurance?

Posted by David Ross on Thu, Mar 10, 2022

Daylight Savings and PA Truck Insurance tips for Philadelphia, Reading, Allentown and Harrisburg truckersMost people wouldn’t think that Daylight Savings would affect Truck Insurance, and yet research shows that it may. Every spring on the second Sunday in March at 2 am, most Americans “spring forward” by moving their clocks ahead one hour to Daylight Savings Time (DST), thereby losing one hour of sleep. Perhaps a nuisance for truck drivers, but no big deal, right? Hmmm… maybe… maybe not.

According to a study that analyzed data of 732,835 fatal motor vehicle accidents in the U.S. from 1996 to 2017, “Spring DST transition acutely increases fatal traffic accident risk by 6% in the U.S.” The study attributes this increase to “sleep deprivation and circadian misalignment” and “changing illumination conditions for peak traffic density.”

The study concluded that “28 fatal accidents could be prevented yearly if the DST transition was abolished.” These numbers only reflect accidents with fatalities, not accidents that result in damage to a truck or injury to a driver.

As you know, more accidents typically mean higher trucking insurance premiums; therefore, DST can affect truck insurance costs.

About Daylight Savings

DST has been the topic of many heated debates for many years. DST was first adopted in Germany on May 1, 1916, during WW I to conserve fuel. The rest of Europe soon followed, and the U.S. adopted DST on March 19, 1918. However, Americans weren’t too keen on the idea, and it ended after W.W. I. Franklin Roosevelt revived DST on February 9, 1942, during WW II. It ended on September 30, 1945.

Two decades later, the Uniform Time Act of 1966 made DST a standard in the U.S. The U.S. Department of Transportation states (DOT) oversees both time zones and the observance of DST because “time standards are important for many modes of transportation.” However, states can exempt themselves from DST, and currently, Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and most of Arizona do not observe DST.

According to the DOT, “Daylight Saving Time is observed for several reasons:”

  • It saves energy
  • It saves lives and prevents traffic injuries
  • It reduces crime

The debate on whether or not DST creates or prevents accidents and whether or not the U.S. should continue to observe it continues. One poll found that “Seven in 10 Americans prefer not to switch back and forth to mark daylight saving time.” However, wherever you stand on the debate, the fact is that most of us will be changing our clocks on Sunday, March 13, at 2 am. So how can truck drivers and fleet managers mitigate any of the possible adverse effects of DST?

4 Tips to Help Your Body Adjust to Daylight Savings Time:

The Cleveland Clinic offers four tips to help drivers adjust to DST:

  1. About a week before you spring forward, start going to bed 15 to thirty minutes earlier than you usually do
  2. Stick to your schedule
  3. Don’t take long naps
  4. Avoid coffee and alcohol

8 Driver Safety Tips:

  1. Ensure that all of your truck’s lights - headlights, taillights, signals, and auxiliary lights -are clean and in good working order.
  2. Avoid driving between 2 and 4 am and between 1 and 3 pm – peak times for fatigue-related collisions.
  3. Focus on driving and eliminate distractions (such as eating or texting).
  4. Reduce your speed when driving in the dark.
  5. Increase your following distance when driving in the dark.
  6. Always watch for pedestrians and bicyclists.
  7. Wear sunglasses with polarized lenses and U.V. protection to minimize sun glare (likely during evening rush hour) and eye fatigue.
  8. Pay attention to what your body is telling you.

How to Save More on Truck Insurance!

Fewer accidents typically mean lower insurance premiums, but don’t stop there! If you want to be certain you are paying the lowest rate for quality truck insurance, then you need to work with one of the independent agents at American Insuring Group.

We will check with multiple insurance companies to get you the best trucking insurance at the lowest rate. Call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, Commercial Vehicle Insurance, truck insurance, Trucking Insurance, Safe Driving Tips

Top 10 Pennsylvania Workers’ Comp FAQs

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Feb 05, 2022

We Answer Workers Compensation Insurance Questions for businesses in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Reading, Lancaster, Erie, Allentown, Harrisburg, and throughout PA and more.We get a lot of questions about Workers’ Compensation Insurance. Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions.

1. Do I need to carry Workers’ Compensation (WC or Workers Comp) Insurance? In Pennsylvania, whether you have one employee or one hundred employees, full or part-time employees, or your employees are family, you are probably required to have Workers’ Compensation Insurance. There are very few exceptions, and not having it can lead to lawsuits and even criminal prosecution.

2. What does Workers Comp Cover? Workers Comp helps cover health care expenses, ongoing 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.

3. What is not covered by Workers’ Compensation? Some things are not covered under WC in Pennsylvania:

  • Activities not related to work
  • Illegal use of drugs
  • Intentional wrong of employee
  • Intoxication
  • Reckless indifference
  • Self-inflicted injury
  • Violation of law resulting in an injury

4. How are Workers’ Compensation rates calculated? Your Workers’ Compensation premium is based on the following formula: WC Premium = Classification Code Rate X Experience Modifier X payroll/$100.

5. What are WC Classification Codes? There is a 3-digit classification code for every type of job in Pennsylvania. It is based on the likelihood of that employee being injured on the job, and it helps determine your WC premium. Typically, the more risk of injury, the higher your WC costs.

6. What is an Experience Modifier? 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.

7. Where can I purchase WC Insurance? In PA, there are four ways you can purchase WC insurance:

  • Insurance agent – As independent agents with experience specifically in WC, the agents at American Insuring Group compare the cost of your WC with several carriers and ensure you pay the lowest price possible for WC and all other insurance.
  • Insurance Carrier – More than 300 private sector insurance carriers offer WC policies.
  • Apply for self-insurance status – Larger businesses operating for three or more years and are financially healthy can apply for approval to individually self-insure.
  • State Workers’ Insurance Fund (SWIF) – SWIF is required to provide coverage for all businesses, particularly those having trouble obtaining coverage

8. What is WC fraud? You, an employee, or a health care provider can commit Workers’ Compensation fraud, which can increase your WC costs. Examples of WC fraud include the following:

  • Misclassification of an employee
  • A faked injury
  • A medical bill for a service that was not performed

9. What is a Return-to-Work Program? A Return-to-Work (RTW) program is designed to get an injured employee back to work as quickly and safely as possible, even if it’s a modified schedule or duties. Studies show that RTWs 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.

10. How can I lower my Workers Comp Insurance costs?

Workers’ Compensation insurance may be mandatory in PA, but there are many steps your business can take to lower your WC costs:

  • Institute a documented safety program
  • Have a Return-to-Work program
  • Work with an Experienced Workers’ Compensation Insurance agent.

The independent agents at American Insuring Group have been helping businesses get the right WC coverage for years. And as independent agents, we compare the cost of that coverage among many companies to ensure you pay the lowest premium for that coverage.

Give American Insuring Group a call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online and start saving on all your insurance needs!

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, Return-To-Work Programs