By Andrew Hilberg, ARM, WCCA, Director of Claims, Mission West Insurance Solutions
Facts Vs. Fiction
We believe knowledge is power. We want to educate you about workers’ compensation so you can separate fact from fiction and make smart choices in running your business. Here are some of the common facts and myths about workers’ compensation.
FACT: Workers’ compensation is a “no-fault” system.
Employees who are legitimately injured as a result of their work receive benefits as set by law, regardless of whose fault the injury is.
FACT: Workers’ compensation covers two categories of work related injuries and illnesses.
Injuries or illnesses (including death) that result from a specific work-related accident; and injuries or illnesses that occur over a period of time that are directly related to employment. For example, repeated lifting of heavy items at work that causes shoulder strain can be covered.
FACT: Some injuries or conditions may not be covered by workers’ compensation.
Injuries or conditions that develop over time can be harder to define. For example, a back strain could result from years of yard work at home, mental stress could result from personal problems that have nothing to do with the job, and a heart attack might date back to prior medical history.
FACT: Workers’ compensation covers more than medical bills.
Serious injuries may require hospitalization, the use of medical specialists and longer periods of recuperation, resulting in time off from work. Workers’ compensation benefits may include: Payment of all appropriate medical costs; Payment of a percentage of an employee’s pre-injury salary; Vocational rehabilitation (as required); and Assistance with helping the employee return to work, possibly in a temporary, transitional work assignment or in a modified or alternative job.
FICTION: I have had no claims so my insurance costs should stay the same.
The reality is that insurance costs are not just about your business. Your premium pricing reflects the pool of costs for all customers, including, but not limited to: Healthcare costs, which are rising at a much greater rate than inflation; Businesses that have claims; Fraudulent claims; Evolving types of workplace hazards such as asbestos, carpal tunnel and terrorism; and Economic factors.
FICTION : You can’t do much to control your workers’ compensation premium.
The reality is the choices you make influence how much you’ll ultimately spend on workers’ compensation coverage, as well as the hidden costs of injuries to your business. By promoting safety, you reduce the odds of employee injuries. By reporting a claim to us promptly, you let us help you keep claim costs down. By encouraging an injured employee to return to work in a transitional role, you can cut claim costs. All of these actions can lower your premium.
FICTION : Fraud isn’t that big a deal in workers’ comp.
The reality is that workers’ compensation costs employers and insurers nationwide millions of dollars. Help us address this problem by learning to recognize red flags that might indicate fraud and then by contacting us as soon as possible.
Contact us today to find out more about how we can give you the right tools to keep your Workers Compensation spend in line.