Posts Tagged 'work comp insurance'

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Costs Escalate - the True Cost of Workplace Injuries

Written by on 6/26/2017 2:34 AM in , , . It has 0 Comments.

To reinforce the importance of workers comp management safety strategies, the National Safety Council maintains records of the average costs of fatal and nonfatal unintentional injuries to better illustrate their impact on the economy.

The Costs of Occupational Deaths & Injuries are Mind-Numbingly High
Total costs in 2013, as a measure of dollars spent and income not received subsequent to accidents, injuries, and fatalities, adds-up to a whopping $206.1 billion. They include:

  • $91.0 billion –wage and productivity losses
  • $57.9 billion –medical costs
  • $40.6 billion –medical expenses
  • $11.5 billion –employers’ uninsured costs (money value of time lost by workers, cost of time to investigate injuries, file reports, etc.)
  • $2.3 billion –damage to motor vehicles involved in work-related injuries
  • $2.8 billion –fire losses

A Closer Look
As if these numbers aren’t painful enough, a closer look at expenses revealed an average cost per worker of $1,400, including the value of goods or services each employee must produce to offset the cost of workplace injuries.

When injuries required medical consultation, costs soared, coming in at an average of $42,000 per worker, including wage losses, medical expenses, administrative and employer costs, and a work-related cost per death of $1,450,000.

Unless a motor vehicle was involved, these estimates do not include property damage. In 2012, the latest year data was available, $61.9 billion was paid-out under workers’ comp:

  • $31.0 billion –income benefits
  • $30.8 billion –medical and hospitalization
  • Plus an additional $33.4 billion by private insurance carriers

Setting workers comp management goals to prevent the devastating impact of workplace accidents pays huge dividends. Head costly accidents off at the pass and set yourself up for success with the help of MinnesotaCompAdvisor today.


Top Tips for Letting Technology Help You Serve Your Customers Better

Written by on 4/19/2017 2:10 AM in , , . It has 0 Comments.


Smart small business owners nationwide are taking advantage of technology to better serve clients. In this week’s business tips, we’ll take a look at some of this amazing technology, and how it’s improving the customer service process.

Today’s Top Business Tech Includes…

  • CRM Systems
    Customer relationship management apps like Insightly or ZohoCRM are for more than sales and marketing, offering the ability to create customized tickets/cases that link directly to accounts/contacts in the system.
  • Help Desk
    Service desk apps such as ZenDesk, Freshdesk offer a slightly deeper form of CRM systems, allowing for the assignment of tickets to specific staff members.
  • Chat Services
    Chat apps like Zopim or Live Chat offer fast, round-the-clock customer service access directly from your website, alerting service personnel when needed. Some even auto-integrate conversation history into Help Desk/CRM systems.
  • Knowledge Databases
    “Knowledge bases” like Desk and Answerbase take a lot of time to setup, inputting problems and answers commonly addressed by your team. However they can provide customers fast, cost-effective access to answers – sans support rep.
  • Communication Tools
    Slack, Microsoft Yammer and HipChat provide text, instant messaging and integration with most email systems, allowing employees to easily communicate via desktop or mobile apps, saving conversations for easy retrieval/review, and allowing real time sharing, dialogue, and video chat for the collaborative solution of problems.
  • Remote Connection
    Apps like LogMeIn, GoToMyPC and Join.me give tech support personnel the ability to remotely access and control a client’s system to see issues and solve problems.
Do you have the business tips you need to remain competitive? From workers comp to worker productivity, find the industry’s top tools with Minnesota Comp Advisor today. 


Top Technologies for Improving Customer Service

Written by on 3/27/2017 2:01 AM in , , . It has 0 Comments.


Smart business owners are turning to technology to deliver the fastest, most reliable customer service possible. Do you have the business tech tips you need to take advantage of these tremendous resources?

Don’t Miss Out On the Benefits of These Top Technologies:

  • Customer Relationship Management System (CRM) Applications
    Good CRM systems go beyond sales and marketing to encompass a broader customer tracking scope, linking support/problem tickets directly to accounts/contacts to get your staff on the ball before initiating contact. Never seen them? Check out Insightly or ZohoCRM.
  • Help Desk
    Service Desk applications offer a more amped-up CRM experience, with products such as ZenDesk and Freshdesk providing automation capabilities. A customer may submit their own support request from your website (or an employee can internally), which the system automatically schedules to the correct person/department based on the issue. Landline and mobile phone integration is also possible.
  • Chat
    Applications like Zopim or Live Chat help deliver the instantaneous answers today’s customers crave. (Sync with Help Desk or CRM for a data trail.)
  • Knowledge Management
    Knowledge base products like Desk and Answerbase take a while to setup – you must transfer all your business “knowledge” to these databases. However they offer customers fast access to answers, preventing cost/time sucks on your customer service/support staff.
  • Communication
    Options like Slack, Microsoft Yammer and HipChat allow for easy communication/integration between desktop and mobile devices – and save conversations.
  • Remote Connection
    Allows you to access customer tech remotely to more efficiently fix issues.
Hook up with the right tools and move to the head of the pack with the help of these business tech tips from your friends at Minnesota Comp Advisor.


High WorkComp Insurance Rates Impact More Than Just California

Written by on 3/22/2017 2:57 AM in , , . It has 0 Comments.


Findings in a recent report on workman's compensation insurance premiums in the Golden State show premiums continue to grow at double-digit rates. And California isn’t the only state where businesses are being hit hard by increases.

Mixed News
The report looked at developing trends in the wake of the state’s massive work comp reforms, including the impact of California Senate Bill 863. Though only 12% of the workforce, the state’s workers’ comp written premium adds up to more than a quarter of the nationwide total. The positive news: Rates aren’t much higher than they were nearly 40 years ago, and less than half what they were before 2003 reforms; The ugly: They’re on the rise.

Why So High?
Similar to the rest of the country, California’s rising premiums are a result of higher premium rates and growth in insured payroll resulting from economic growth and wage increases. What puts California at the top? The state has the highest frequency of permanent disability claims, and among the highest medical and benefits delivery costs. Higher treatment costs resulting from prolonged treatment and a rate of permanent disability claims more than twice the national median also did not help matters. An aberration in the claims frequencies in L.A. is driving the trend. Nix L.A. – and California would be similar to the rest of the country.

SB 863 Also Mixed Bag
Intended to reduce litigation costs, SB 863 has been somewhat thwarted by expedited hearings and increased Independent Medical Reviews, with medical cost savings (greater-than-projected), offset by losses to frictional costs.

Workman's compensation insurance rates getting painful? Minnesota Comp Advisor can help. Contact us today.


Benefits as a Share of Payroll Continue Downward Despite Rising Employer Costs

Written by on 3/20/2017 3:04 AM in , , . It has 0 Comments.


The nation’s workman's compensation insurance program provides for medical coverage for injured workers, as well as cash benefits for those whose injuries prevent them from returning to work. Paid for by employers with no deductions taken from employee paychecks, a recent study points to employers paying out continually increasing costs, despite historically low levels of benefits payouts overall.

The Cold Hard Facts:

According to the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) 19th annual “Workers’ Compensation: Benefits, Coverage, and Costs” report, despite growth in employment since the 2008 recession, coinciding with a rise in employees covered by workers’ comp, benefits per $100 share of payroll fell from $0.97 in 2013 to $0.91 in 2014 alone, continuing a national downward trend to beat 80's era levels.

Benefits Declined in 46 States from 2010-2014: 

WorkComp per $100 of Covered Payroll 2014 Dollar Change 2010-14
Total Benefits Paid  $0.91  -$0.10
Medical Benefits  $0.46  -$0.04
Cash Benefits  $0.45  -$0.06
Employer Costs  $1.35 -$0.10 
Benefits per $1 of Employer Costs  $0.68  -$0.13


Why the Disconnect?

Experts from NASI’s study panel point to a lag in the increase in benefits paid, particularly for costly, long-term injuries. Healthcare costs have also grown in the past 30 years, accounting for an increasing share of benefits, to rise from 29% in 1980 to more than 50% in 2014, accounting for a majority of workers' comp spending. Declining levels also point to reduced injuries and speedier return-to-work, however changes to state law limiting access to benefits may also play a role.

Don’t get raked over the coals by workman's compensation insurance premiums. Discover a new path to savings with the help of Minnesota Comp Advisor today.



What to Do When an Employee Repeatedly Calls in Sick

Written by on 3/15/2017 2:53 AM in , , . It has 0 Comments.


Employees who abuse the system, frequently calling in sick, may leave you wishing for a few “sick days” of your own. Luckily, a few simple employee management tips can help you curb abuse.

Stop the Insanity of Repeated “Sick” Absences:

  • Sick Days + Vacation Days = PTO
    Merging sick and vacation days together into paid time off (PTO) makes sick day abusers think twice about piddling days away from their vacation.
  • Require “Live” Call-Ins.
    No voice mails, texts or emails allowed. Requiring employees seeking a “sick” day speak directly with an immediate supervisor ups the ante.
  • Be Flexible.
    This may seem counter-intuitive, but most last minute “sick” days result from personal needs and stress. A “sick-only” absenteeism policy may be shooting you in the foot. The bonus? Increased workplace flexibility reduces stress, enhances feelings of freedom, and makes staff less likely to take advantage of paid leave policies.

Still Coming Up Short in the Staffing Department?
It may be time for a little one-on-one time with your problem employee, noting excessive absences and attempting to get to the heart of the matter. There may be underlying conditions, corresponding ADA accommodations, or even schedule adjustments that remedy the situation. Bottom line: Don’t assume you know why they’re calling in until you’ve had a face-to-face sit down.

Thinking Termination?
Make sure you know the laws, including state and federal leave laws such as the Family and Medical Leave Act, which requires certain employers offer staff leave for themselves or sick family members.


Don’t let ignorance of laws leave you in sticky situation. Trust in the expert employee management tips of Minnesota Comp Advisor. Contact us today.



How do You Handle Medical Marijuana Treatment for WorkComp Claims?

Written by on 3/13/2017 2:28 AM in , , . It has 0 Comments.


California’s Proposition 64 and others like it have the workman's compensation insurance industry – and employers - scratching their collective heads. As the marijuana legalization trend continues to open up access to the drug nationwide, from medical to recreational use, the implications for the industry are, in many cases, still undetermined.

Compelled Compensation
Monitoring this developing area of the law and its practical impacts on safety and claims, the industry finds itself in uncharted waters. Pushed to provide coverage and payment for a drug as yet classified as “Schedule I” by the federal U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, insurers in states where its medicinal use has been legalized cannot be legally required to pay for it.

A Multi-Faceted Issue
As legalization loses its reputation for association with all but the most serious health issues, the floodgates may soon open for injured workers who view it as a viable option, including pain patients scared by the nation’s continuing prescription opioid epidemic. The flipside: Considering how use of the drug will affect compensation following subsequent work-related injuries of both medicinal and recreational users. Other considerations: Potential legal red tape and/or lawsuits involving the enforcement of drug-free workplace policies and the potential for costly retaliation and discrimination claims.

Destination: Unknown
As increasingly greater pressure is put on workers’ comp doctors, new laws are sure to go on the books forcing the issue, including a resolution of the current conflict between state and federal levels of government on legalization. When, you may ask, is anybody's guess.

Wish your workman's compensation insurance premiums would go up in smoke? Minnesota Comp Advisor has the insider information you need for savings. Contact us today.


An In-Depth Look at Return-to-Work Program Challenges: Part I

Written by on 3/6/2017 3:07 AM in , , . It has 0 Comments.

Return-to-work (RTW) programs are well known for their capacity to better manage workcomp insurance expenses and improve injured worker outcomes. However, they’re not all sunshine and daisies. Despite legislative efforts to protect employers from lawsuits regarding regulatory non-compliance, particularly with regard to the ADAAA, there's an array of common mistakes that often land businesses in hot water…

Mistake #1: Assuming State Laws Supersede the ADA
Federal ADA laws always supersede state workers’ comp laws, providing basic protection for disabled individuals. State laws may require more protection in certain areas, but they cannot remove or lessen ADA protections.

Mistake #2: Overlooking Situations in Which Employees are Covered by the ADAAA
The continued expansion of individuals defined as disabled by the ADAAA can greatly increase the number of employees entitled to accommodation. Employers will increasingly have to assess accommodations for workers, whether or not they occurred from personal or workplace injury/illness. Many labor employment attorneys now advise against fighting disabled status in favor of open discussion regarding accommodations. This interactive process is the linchpin of employer obligation under the ADA, with multiple high-profile cases pointing to analysis as integral to showing reasonable accommodation.

Mistake #3: Requiring Injured Workers be Released to “Full Duty” Before RTW
Full duty requirements may rob self-worth and motivation, often overblowing the seriousness of injuries, and increasing the likelihood of “disability syndrome” – failure to return to work after it’s medically possible.

Are you properly structuring your RTW programs to decrease ADA exposure? Manage your workcomp insurance expenses and steer clear of potential pitfalls with the help of Minnesota Comp Advisor. Look for Part 2 of our series on common RTW challenges.




Can Workman's Compensation Programs Remain Profitable in 2017?

Written by on 2/1/2017 3:40 AM in , . It has 0 Comments.

The largest product segment in the US commercial insurance sector, workman's compensation insurance programs, realized significant underwriting profits in 2015. Vastly improving over the past 5 years, this change in fortune is attributable to a variety of factors. Whether it holds in the coming years, however, remains to be seen.

Outlook is hazy
Net written premium growth expanded at an average annual rate of 7% from 2011-2015, tapering off to a 3.5% increase in 2015. Better pricing strategies have resulted from several economic factors, such as an improvement in insured exposures from employment and payroll growth, favorable loss-cost trends and reserve experiences, thanks in part to underwriting improvements and stability in frequency and claims. Business appears on the up-and-up for the industry, however long-term profitability remains uncertain.

What holds the key to the future?
The historically cyclical nature of workers’ compensation underwriting and the rarity of profits naturally leads to the question of sustainability. Numerous obstacles lie ahead. Market competition is pushing a trend toward declining premium rates, and the sun may be setting on favorable trends in claims cost factors and loss reserve experience. Positive influences on long term claims frequency patterns include underwriter technology used for claims analysis, predictive modeling, as well as the evolution of risk management and employee safety practices. However, the precariousness of the Affordable Care Act, rising prescription drug costs, external forces (economic, regulatory, legal), and the natural volatility in workman’s comp insurance market are leading experts to point to probable underwriting losses in 2017.

Workman's compensation insurance losses keeping you up at night? Minnesota Comp Advisor can help. Contact us today.


Early Intervention on Claims Seminar on January 11, 2017

Written by on 1/4/2017 2:34 AM in , , . It has 0 Comments.


Keep injured employees on the right track, ensuring a successful recovery and preventing off-the-rails costs with Minnesota Comp Advisor’s FREE upcoming workcomp insurance seminar, ‘Early Intervention on Claims,’ this Wednesday, January 11th, 2017 from 8-10 a.m. at the Minneapolis Golf Club.

Discover how early claims intervention can help
Kicking off this FREE ‘Navigating New Challenges in Workers’ Comp’ seminar series, this first installment uncovers how early intervention can be a boon for your business, helping you avoid legal nightmares and time-consuming, money-eating workers’ comp claims, getting your employees re-engaged, and providing a path to a faster, more complete recovery than those left to sit alone at home.

Gain industry insight from leading workers’ comp legal, medical and management experts:

• Alaris CEO Marijo Storment, RN, BSN, CCM
Since her 2012 installment as CEO, Marijo Storment has stressed the importance of communication, commitment to care, case management efficiency, client satisfaction, integrity, and hard work. Under her leadership, workers’ compensation and disability case management services front-runner Alaris has extended its extraordinary services to all 50 states.

• Minnesota Comp Advisor’s own Mark Kraemer, CIC, CWCA, CSRM
One of the state’s first Certified Work Comp Advisors as well as the first agency advisor for one of the largest self-insured funds in Minnesota. Mark is also a well-known speaker and educator, and is known for his teamwork approach to minimizing the experience mod, as well as the technical and financial impacts of claims management.

Feeling the pain of workers’ comp costs? Get your employees - and your business - back to its best! Call 612-236-1771 or email mwells@minnesotacompadvisor.com to reserve your spot at this FREE workcomp insurance seminar today. Hurry! Space is limited!


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