Five Things You Can Do to Keep Your New York Workers' Compensation Insurance Claims Costs Under Control
“I wish workers’ compensation insurance didn’t cost so much.”
If you had a “wish list” of things you could change as an employer, this would likely be near the top. With steadily rising workers' compensation costs, it’s crucial to take advantage of the many opportunities you have to minimize your exposure, and subsequently keep your premiums down.
Here are five key steps you can take to control your New York Workers’ Compensation Insurance claims costs.
1) Prepare and Prevent
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as the saying goes. The most obvious way to control claims costs is to minimize workplace injuries. This begins with good hiring practices to get the best employees. Be alert to “red flags” like prior complaints, poor performance or retaliation. Consider measures such as background checks, drug screening programs, post-hire questionnaires and post-hire medical exams, but be diligent about complying with state and federal laws.
You also need to make a firm commitment to safety by providing a safe work environment, thorough training programs, and ongoing instruction in safe work habits. This helps lower your experience modifier, which is used to calculate your workers’ compensation insurance premiums.
2) Promptly Report Claims
When a worker is injured on the job and you need to file a New York Workers' Compensation Insurance claim, don’t procrastinate on the paperwork. The claims process is riddled with reporting and filing deadlines you must meet to comply with state and federal laws, and prompt reporting of the claim greatly enhances your ability to provide appropriate medical management, reduce medical and time loss costs, and provide timely benefits to the injured worker.
3) Don’t Wait to Investigate
When an injury occurs, it’s vital to get the ball rolling on the investigation while the events are fresh in everyone’s mind. By preserving investigative facts that could impact compensability, you can significantly decrease the likelihood of fraud, which costs the insurance industry $5 billion every year.
4) Aggressively Manage Medical Costs
Medical treatment accounts for nearly 60% of workers’ compensation costs, so be aggressive about minimizing your exposure. Work to build relationships with superior quality network medical providers who understand workplace injuries. Have programs and systems in place for coordinating nurse case management, conducting utilization reviews, and managing the pharmaceutical aspect of medical care. And remember, the system is confusing and stressful for injured workers, and when they don’t understand what’s happening with their medical benefits, many of them will instinctively seek legal counsel. That can only drive up costs.
5) Be Proactive About Return to Work
Every day an employee is off the job costs you money. If you don’t have a return to work program in place, you should strongly consider developing one. You can significantly reduce your medical, indemnity and legal costs by offering sedentary work or reduced hours for medically restricted employees to get them back to work immediately following a physician’s release. Be creative. Think outside the box. Be open to all options for successfully returning the employee to work as soon as possible.
When workers’ compensation insurance prices rise, it’s natural for you to be tempted to shop around for new coverage. But you have a great deal of control over many of the factors driving your claims costs. It all starts with having a well trained staff and efficient systems in place.
Take control of your New York Workers' Compensation Insurance claims costs by aggressively managing every phase of the process. You’ll improve your operations, your employee morale and your bottom line.
For more helpful tips, make sure to download our free report, "Ten Business Exposures That Obliterate Profit in the Blink of An Eye."