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A Closer Look at Limiting Work Comp Costs - I

As an employer, you want to do everything you can to keep costs low and maximize productivity. However, serious work injuries to employees, while often inevitable, can greatly jeopardize these efforts, resulting in decreased production and even the incurrence of legal fees.

Interestingly, Andrew Muller, a senior account executive with insurance giant Neace Lukens, has recently spoken about how employers can face serious losses if they don't take the time to adequately inform injured workers about the work comp process, including their rights and their expectations.

"I've seen firsthand some very, very large corporations that don't do this and employees are lost," said Muller. "They get frustrated with the company, the carrier, the TPA. They hold a grudge, and you lose productivity."

One of the approaches advocated by Muller to cut back on costs associated with work comp claims is the creation of a packet to be administered to employees immediately after a work injury.

"[The packet] creates a culture of safety and says, 'We're serious; we mean business when it comes to work-related claims,'" he said. "Creating that safety culture is the key ingredient to having a successful program."

What then are the elements of such a packet?

First and foremost, Muller recommends including a one or two page letter from an executive (president, safety officer, director of human resources, etc.) outlining both employee expectations and responsibilities, and fully describing the work comp process.

This description of the work comp process may include an explanation of the maximum benefits to which the injured worker is entitled under state law, as well as the percentage of pay to which they are entitled.

According to Muller, including such information will temper expectations and create an incentive for the injured employee to return to work as soon as they are healthy.

"You need to clearly state, 'This is not a money-making process,'" he said. "I think that's a very important part because some employees don't realize that. If you tell them upfront, they may be more inclined to come back to work."

To be continued ...

Stay tuned for further developments in the area of workers' compensation defense ...

This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.

Related Resources:

Outlining Expectations for Injured Workers Upfront Can Save Comp Dollars (Risk & Insurance)

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