Kids’ Chance of America and State Organizations Celebrate 2016 Awareness Week

Kids’ Chance Awareness Week 2016 kicks off today, November 14, 2016 and continues through November 18. The White House and President Obama have recognized the importance of Awareness Week and our mission to provide scholarships to children of workers who have been catastrophically or fatally injured on the job.  Collectively, Kids’ Chance organizations have awarded 5,593 scholarships across the country, totaling over $16,592,000 dollars.


At Kids’ Chance of America, we believe we can make a significant difference in the lives of all children affected by a workplace injury by helping them pursue and achieve their educational goals. In 2015, scholarship applications increased significantly but we know there are more students in need of assistance. Kids’ Chance Awareness Week is designed to increase visibility through outreach events in each state to spread the word about Kids’ Chance scholarship opportunities.


There are currently 36 Kids’ Chance state organizations with several others in development. Kids’ Chance of America’s goal is to establish a Kids’ Chance presence in every state so that all eligible students have the opportunity for assistance. Find out if there’s a Kids’ Chance in your state.


We welcome you to join our community of supporters and help us spread the word about this great organization.  Together we can bring more money to more kids!


For more information, please visit our website at



Media Resources


Kids’ Chance Awareness Week is November 14-18, 2016. A Media Kit is available to download as well as an Awareness Week button to place on your website to help us gain momentum and broader visibility.


As members of the workers’ compensation community, we appreciate your consideration in sharing this story. If you have any questions, please contact the Kids’ Chance office at



Ringler Rings In Their New Brand

Companies from time to time rebrand their look and messaging to connect better with audiences. We’re excited to tell you about our own rebranding at Ringler that’s being launched today! It’s the first real change that you can see since Ringler was founded in 1975. Ringler is still the largest settlement planning company in the nation with the experienced and trusted advisors creating the most objective settlement plans for all parties. Listen as Ringler Radio host Larry Cohen along with Geoffrey E. Hunt, Ringler’s President and CEO and Mark Vogel, head of the Ringler Leadership Team talk about what’s new and what it means for claimants, attorneys and our partners.


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Pay-As-You-Go Solution for Workers’ Comp from The Hanover Lets Insureds Pay Premiums in Real-Time

WORCESTER, Mass., Aug. 19, 2016—The Hanover Insurance Group, Inc. has launched Hanover EZPay, a pay-as-you-go solution for workers’ compensation policies that allows insureds to pay their premiums in real-time, based on payroll, helping independent insurance agents provide better service to their clients.


This new payment solution offers businesses the option to pay their premiums as part of their payroll processes, either by self-reporting payroll at the end of each pay period or by linking Hanover EZPay with their payroll company.


“Hanover EZPay allows agents to provide their clients with increased flexibility and peace of mind by offering a payment option that fits with the flow of their business,” said John C. Roche, president of commercial lines at The Hanover. “For many agencies, this also helps increase customer satisfaction and retention, making it beneficial for both the agent and the customer.”


Business owners can now pay their workers’ compensation insurance premiums as each payroll cycle is processed, helping to improve their businesses’ cash flow and reduce audit exposures with real-time premium calculations. This option also offers businesses automatic premium withdrawals and does not require down payments or monthly billing fees.


The introduction of Hanover EZPay is further commitment to The Hanover’s workers’ compensation business, helping to enhance its agents’ ability to provide high-quality, easy-to-use products to their customers. This new payment option is available exclusively for The Hanover’s elite agent partners across the country and cannot be obtained directly through the company.


To learn more about The Hanover or Hanover EZPay, please visit or



The Hanover Insurance Group, Inc., based in Worcester, Mass., is the holding company for several property and casualty insurance companies, which together constitute one of the largest insurance businesses in the United States. For more than 160 years, The Hanover has provided a wide range of property and casualty products and services to individuals, families, and businesses. The Hanover distributes its products through a select group of independent agents and brokers. Together with its agents, the company offers specialized coverages for small and mid-sized businesses, as well as insurance protection for homes, automobiles, and other personal items. Through its international member company, Chaucer, The Hanover also underwrites business at Lloyd’s of London in several major insurance and reinsurance classes, including marine, property and energy. For more information, please visit



Emily P. Trevallion


Abby M. Clark


Henry Stimpson, Stimpson Communications, 508-647-0705,


All products are underwritten by The Hanover Insurance Company or one of its insurance company subsidiaries or affiliates (“The Hanover”). Coverage may not be available in all jurisdictions and is subject to the company underwriting guidelines and the issued policy. This material is provided for informational purposes only and does not provide any coverage. For more information about The Hanover visit our website

Personal Comfort Doctrine Does Not Provide Comfort In Workers’ Comp

Under any workers’ compensation act, an injury is compensable if it “arises out of” and occurs within “the course and scope” of an employee’s work activities.  One area that is subject to frequent litigation is instance where an injury occurs during work breaks, or other non-work related activities. These personal comforts give members of the claims management team pause as to whether such an injury is compensable.



A Not So Uncommon Scenario


It is break time at the Acme Widget Company. Joe Friday missed breakfast and the company cafeteria is not yet open for lunch. Thankfully, there is a great coffee and donut shop across the street, which is frequented by employees before, during and after work. Joe decides to head over and grab a fresh jelly donut and cup of coffee. While carefully crossing the street he is struck by a car that did not stop for a traffic signal and suffers a broken leg. Would this claim be compensable?



Understanding the “Personal Comfort” Doctrine


The “personal comfort doctrine is a legal principle created by the courts to address the nature of typical workplace environments. Under this doctrine found in most jurisdictions, employees can engage in activities to provide personal comfort and still be covered under the protections of a workers’ compensation act. Such common activities include using a restroom, smoking or coffee breaks, eating food and drinking non-intoxicating beverages.


Application of this doctrine varies in every jurisdiction. In reviewing such matters, courts will examine various issues. These factors include:


  • Whether the activity was “contemplated” as part of the employment;


  • The nature of the activity prior to the accident; and


  • Any benefit to the employer when the employee engages in the activity resulting in injury.



Application of the Doctrine


Most workers’ compensation acts are interpreted in a light favorable to the employee. This result in injuries occurring during normal work hours, but off the employers premises or not directly related to one’s position, to be compensable.


Examples of injuries successfully using the personal comfort doctrine are numerous. In one example, an employee was crossing a street to get a pack of cigarettes. Although the injury did not occur on the employer’s property, the court found injuries similar to Joe Friday’s to be compensable.  Holly Hill Fruit Products, Inc. v. Krider, 473 So. 2d 829 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1st Dist. 1985).


The reasons for this finding include the following:


  • The employee’s conduct was an “inevitable attendant danger;”


  • The actions of the employee were conducive to a pleasant work environment; and


  • While the employee was off the worksite for a short period, he did not remove himself from his employment activities.



Avoiding Unnecessary Workplace Exposures


Proactive members of the claim management team can work with interested stakeholders to reduce exposures and avoid “personal comfort” doctrine issues. Proactive steps can include:


  • Providing or making essential items available to employees on the worksite or premises. This includes having refreshments available free of charge or at an on-site store. By doing so, they maintain more control of their worksite;


  • Prohibiting smoking on company premises. Employers are recognizing the health benefits of tobacco-free workplaces. They can also coordinate with their health plan providers on accessibility of smoking cessation products or services to reduce the dependence on cigarettes; and


  • Establishing clear company policies regarding departure from the company premise during the workday. This can include a clear statement that leaving the workplace for any non-work related reason removes them from their employment and workers’ compensation activities.





It is important for interested stakeholders to understand the “personal comfort” doctrine.  This can assist with properly managing a claim where it is at issue and help employers minimize their risks to promote a safe work environment.



Author Michael Stack, Principal, COMPClub, Amaxx LLC. He is an expert in workers compensation cost containment systems and helps employers reduce their work comp costs by 20% to 50%.  He works as a consultant to large and mid-market clients, is co-author of Your Ultimate Guide To Mastering Workers Comp Costs, a comprehensive step-by-step manual of cost containment strategies based on hands-on field experience, and is founder of COMPClub, an exclusive member training program on workers compensation cost containment best practices. Through these platforms he is in the trenches on a working together with clients to implement and define best practices, which allows him to continuously be at the forefront of innovation and thought leadership in workers’ compensation cost containment. Contact:



©2016 Amaxx LLC. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.


Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional.




NAMSAP Presents “Opioids in the Life of the MSA” Webinar on June 21

The National Alliance of Medicare Set-Aside Professionals continues its three-part webinar series “Opioids in the Life of the MSA”on June 21 starting at 2 p.m. Eastern.


The series explores the issue of long-term opioid use for noncancerous pain in workers’ compensation MSAs and how the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are addressing it. Part one discussed how applying evidence-based medicine improves MSA outcomes.


Part two focuses on current policy and federal efforts to manage the opioid epidemic.  Presenters are Mary Nix, health science administrator, National Guidelines Clearinghouse, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and Pamela Schweitzer, assistant surgeon general and chief pharmacist officer, United States Public Health Service, along with the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute’s Policy Analyst Vennela Thumula and Economist Dongchun Wang. The 90-minute webinar covers:


  • WCRI’s new research on interstate variations in opioid usage;
  • Real CMS-approved MSAs allocating for high opioid dosages;
  • Applying evidence-based guidelines to policy;


“In light of the recent evidence-based studies demonstrating the long-term impact of opioid prescriptions for chronic, non-cancer pain, our industry needs to come together to ensure we neither condone nor institutionalize the problem,” said NAMSAP President Gary Patureau. “All the players in the MSA process have an obligation to aged and disabled injured persons to work toward healthier, safer and more effective patient outcomes.”


NAMSAP has recommended that CMS adopt limits on opioids in MSAs based on opioid guidelines published by the Centers for Disease Control.


“We regularly triage cases where an injured employee takes both short- and long-acting opioids for chronic, non-cancer pain,” said Rita Wilson, NAMSAP board member and CEO of Tower MSA Partners. “We hope this webinar series will heighten awareness among policy makers of inappropriate opioid use in workers’ compensation and encourage CMS to align its WCMSA review policies with evidence-based medicine.”


There is a $63 webinar fee for NAMSAP members and an $83 fee for non-members. For more information, please see



Headquartered in Illinois in NAMSAP is the only non-profit association exclusively addressing the issues and challenges of the Medicare Secondary Statutes and its impact on workers’ compensation and liability settlements.  Its members are comprised of MSA providers, insurance carriers, and third-party administrators. Contact NAMSAP at 855-677-2776 or via

# # #


Media Contacts:  Helen Patterson, 813-690-4787;

Gary Patureau, President, NAMSAP & Exec. Director, Louisiana Association of Self Insured Employers; 225-338-0705;


Sleep Deficiency and Fatigue Causing More Workplace Injuries

This infographic was provided by Eastern Kentucky University:

Sleep-Deficiency-and-FatigueThe number of health risks in the United States is incredibly high. When employees feel sick or need medical attention, they are entitled to sick days, which means there will be less productivity at the workplace while labor costs will remain the same. Furthermore, other employees will have to do extra work to cover for the sick employee. That is why integration of health and wellness strategies in the workplace is highly recommended. To learn more, checkout this infographic below created by Eastern Kentucky University’s Online Bachelor of Science in Occupational Safety program.



Americans are Sleeping Less


A team from the University of Chicago conducted a study on the sleeping habits of people and how these are affecting their work. They found that Americans have significantly reduced their sleeping time over the years. In the 1970s, the average was 7.1 hours per night. Nowadays, this has been trimmed down to just 6.1 hours per night. Many sleep between one and two less than they did sixty years ago according to the researchers. The statistics regarding those who are currently employed are even more worrying. About 3 in every 10 workers are only able to sleep for about 6 hours or even less.



Workers Short Sleep Duration


The time of work, number of jobs, and number of hours on the job all contribute towards shorter sleep duration. For instance, 44% of them turned out to belong to the night shift while only 28.8% belonged to the dayshift and the rest occupying other time slots. Around 37% of the respondents said that they are juggling two jobs or more and 36.2% declared that they were working more than 40 hours every week.


With these figures, it really is no surprise that their responsibilities are eating away at their resting time. The transportation and warehousing industry is the number one culprit while healthcare and social assistance, along with manufacturing, also contribute greatly to the sleep deprivation of US workers.



Reasons for Sleeping Less


It’s not only the quantity of sleep that is plunging but also the quality. Research shows that between 50 and 70 million adults in the US suffer from sleep disorder. Insomnia is particularly common. Individuals with this condition have difficulty falling asleep or stay sleep throughout the night. Billions of dollars are lost due to absences, accidents, and decreased productivity as a result.


Sleep apnea is another major problem. This breathing disorder can attack for brief periods during the night. These intervals are often enough to wake the person up and prevent restful slumber. It is a fairly widespread condition affecting 22 million Americans.


Some of the problems can be traced not to medical issues but to the working conditions themselves. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, at no point have Americans been working longer hours than today. As much as 22 million work outside the typical 9-to-5. These graveyard and rotating shifts result in less than ideal rest. Some are on-call 24/7. Their schedule cuts into their sleeping time by 2 to 4 hours.



Workers with Sleep Problems


Lack of restful slumber has troubling consequences. People become increasingly prone to being injured because of their diminished state. In fact, a look into the accident data shows that most of them occur during periods that are traditionally devoted to sleep: between 12 midnight and 6am, as well as the siesta hours between 1pm and 3 pm.


Working in jobs that have overtime schedules has been linked to a 61% increase in injury hazard rate. Going a little deeper, the risk is greater for people who are over the age of 30 and are sleeping for just 7 hours a night or less. The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7 to 9 hours. Deficit is associated to large-scale disasters like the Chernobyl nuclear tragedy and the Exxon Valdez oil spill.



Steps to Reduce Sleep Problems


For employers, it would be helpful to limit scheduled work to no more than 12 hours a day. Take the leadership in creating a culture that values sleep as a vital part of ensuring productivity. Promote education programs about the subject. Try to reduce shift work, if possible. Devote spaces for quick naps and encourage workers to use them. When the workday is over, let people unplug completely so that they don’t have to bring their tasks at home.


For employees, create healthy habits that will ensure enough rest every night. Avoid late engagements, food, and caffeine prior to bedtime as these will make the body more hyper. Set a period that can be consistently be devoted to slumber. Get in bed, keep the phone away, shut down the computer, and turn off the lights before to scheduled time to eliminate distractions. – See more at:


Brigette Nelson of Express Scripts & Michael Stack of Amaxx To Speak On Opioid Abuse Solution

Managing Morphine Equivalent Dose to Address Solutions for Stakeholders Seeking to Reduce Work Comp Costs


HINGHAM, Massachusetts – Stopping the prescription drug epidemic in the United States and its devastating impact on the workers’ compensation system is the focus of an upcoming presentation at the National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit in Atlanta March 28-31st.  Brigette Nelson, Senior Vice President of Workers’ Compensation Clinical Management at Express Scripts, and Michael Stack, Principal of Amaxx, a national leader in reducing workers’ compensation program costs, will be headlining the discussion on the effective use of Morphine Equivalent Dose (MED) management.


“Notwithstanding all the discussions about the drug epidemic within the workers’ compensation system, interested stakeholders are failing to implement common sense reforms within the programs,” said Brigette Nelson, Senior Vice President of Workers’ Compensation Clinical Management at Express Scripts.  Nelson continued, “I am excited to be a part of the discussion and look forward to offering solutions to address real issues driving up costs in the workers’ compensation system.”


Morphine Equivalent Dose (MED) is a calculation used to compare and contrast different pain medications to one another. Express Scripts’ MED program calculates the narcotic medication’s morphine-like potency, or MED, at the time it is being filled (before it has been dispensed to the injured worker).  This helps reduce the chances an injured worker will become addicted to prescription pain medication, and can be particularly effective in preventing overdose in those claimant’s consuming 100mg or more of narcotic pain medications.


According to Stack, “The goal of effective MED management is to make sure the injured worker receives the care they are entitled to, but at the same time avoid future problems of addiction.”  The concept is gaining acceptance nationwide in addressing the issues faced by countless workers’ compensation programs.  “The key to the program is controls at the point of sale to ensure only safe medications are dispensed. This program is helping injured workers avoid problems related to prescription drug abuse, and cutting costs” said Stack.


Nelson added, “The goal of the MED program is to not only start a discussion, but provide some real life examples of how MED management works.  Studies demonstrate that when properly implemented, workers’ compensation programs not only reduce the medical portion of a claim, but return employees to work faster.”  Stack also pointed out other benefits of implementing MED management in a workers’ compensation program.  “Everyone has a win through MED management, including the injured worker.”


The presentation titled Pharmacy Pain Points: Ensuring Safety of Morphine Equivalent Dose will take place on Wednesday, March 30, at 3:30pm as as part of the Third Party Payer track at the National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit.




Overweight and Underpaid: Weight Discrimination at Work

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently found that over 50% of the variation in people’s health was related to social factors – such as income and race – a revelation which has shocked many as some commonly assumed that health behaviors had the largest impact. This finding shows that health diseases like obesity are not solely caused by eating habits, but also factors such as low-incomes. Despite these low-incomes, this infographic shows that obese individuals spend 42% more on health care costs than healthy weight people, putting them in a tremendously vicious cycle.


The following infographic, created by Eastern Kentucky University’s, takes a closer look at the issues and prejudices overweight individuals face in the workplace.


Free “Power Of One” Workers’ Comp Training Series from Amaxx Promises Career Impact

Series Offers How To’s And Strategy For One Individual to Master Organization’s Work Comp Costs


HINGHAM, Mass.—Jan 11, 2015— With regular company mergers, acquisitions, and changes in management, professionals in the workers’ compensation industry know that the only certainty is constant change.  Individuals looking to stabilize and grow their career in the workers’ compensation industry will get practical how-to’s and strategy to master workers’ compensation and positively impact their career.


The series will cover the detailed path of how one individual can drastically influence the cost of workers’ compensation at their organization to make themselves an invaluable asset. Lessons that have been field-tested by Amaxx, workers’ comp cost-control experts, for more than 25 years.


Topics include the specific tasks and systems that create the most impact on work comp costs, how to bring management and employees on board, as well as how to implement these systems to achieve incredible results.


“Besides risk managers and human resources professionals, the training is invaluable for adjusters, vendors, attorneys, brokers, carriers, and anyone else interested in controlling workers’ comp costs,” said Rebecca Shafer, head of Amaxx and America’s leading workers’ comp cost-reduction expert.


Amaxx also recently launched COMPClub, a workers’ comp training service and community that has already attracted 75 members nationally.  COMPClub includes Amaxx’s annually updated cost control guidebook, live workshops, monthly webinars, small-group mastermind calls, a newsletter, networking events and more.


Registration for the free training series, “Power of One: How Your Impact On Workers’ Compensation Will Change Your Career” is available at As supplemental material, those registered will also receive a free copy of “Your Ultimate Guide To Mastering Workers’ Comp Costs – Mini Book”.


Amaxx ( helps employers in all industries reduce workers’ compensation costs through education, publishing and consulting.

Use Investigation To Curtail Work Comp Claim Costs

Investigator Functions:


Using investigators during workers compensation claim handling is often necessary to reduce case cost and exposure.   Investigators may be needed to investigate for fraud, malingering, claimant activity, subrogation, physical inspections of the loss scene, and criminal evidence for prosecution.


Investigators have strong experience and investigative ability that the average claim adjuster is not exposed to.  They may have had police training, special investigative schooling, government training.  Many investigator’s are ex-employees of governmental and law enforcement organizations.


An investigator can perform background investigations of prospective employees.  Such investigations may be necessary for security positions, pre-existing medical conditions, prior claims, past criminal data, or any other facts that can no longer be gained from usual personnel references.  The cost for such investigation may well be worthwhile as it can prevent the hiring of an undesirable candidate.


Investigators are generally required to be licensed by the state, the local municipality, and be cleared by local law enforcement as well.   Most jurisdictions have laws or regulations outlining what a investigator can and cannot do.  These guidelines cover many things.  A few examples are: entrapment, harassment, search and seizure, wiretapping, video and camera filming’s, constitutional violations, safety, and privacy restrictions.



Screening for an Investigator:


It is necessary to screen and explore the qualifications, expertise, and performance of the potential investigator you plan to hire.  Require the candidates to furnish the following:


  1. Resumes for each investigator in the investigator organization.
  2. A complete history of the company, its owners, financials, licenses, and certificates of operation and local police department standing. Retain copies in a permanent file.
  3. Reliable references from other claim units.
  4. An estimate or actual accounting of cases where their work was successful in litigation.
  5. How well and who will testify in litigation proceedings. What is the testimony and witness impression record on judge or jury?
  6. Any records where the investigator organization was sued, faced criminal, or negligent action.


Contracting with an Investigator:


When the unit claim manager is satisfied with the investigator background investigation and is proceeding to engage its services prepare a written contract.  The contract should:


  1. Stipulate authority levels, and the claim file reviewing procedure. Identify the claim persons who will have power to authorized investigator service.
  2. Determine fees, allowable expenses and billing procedure.
  3. State reporting times and procedures (do not allow repetitive information to be entered).
  4. Declare procedures on how to identify and confirm that they have the proper persons under investigation.
  5. State all surveillance should be scheduled when the investigated person will be moving.
  6. Require surveillance be conducted on non-business hours, after storms, weekends and holidays when necessary.
  7. Determine when and how to supply cost estimates, revisions and necessity for changes.
  8. State how to document and preserve evidences for litigation needs.
  9. Site procedures and authorizations to work with employer, defense counsel and other involved entities.
  10. Specify any special reporting procedures required by the employer.
  11. Cover procedure for notification for conflict of interest or any situation that could impede the investigation.
  12. The investigator is not to undertake any investigative step that could be done by the claim adjuster without clearance and authority.
  13. Specify all instances desired for the investigator to contact the adjuster from the field during investigation.
  14. Detail how, and when to request authority to handle an investigation needing special investigation methods.



Controlling the Investigator:


Once the case is assigned and under investigation the claim adjuster needs to be alert to all activity and be pro-active in:


  1. Exploring failures to obtain desired results.
  2. Watching for excess investigator activity.
  3. Limiting waiting time for results.
  4. Exploring any other point of procedure or handling that will or could impact the claim or investigation.




Using investigators in the process of workers compensation claim handling can be a vital tool to curtail, mitigate, limit claim exposure, and reduce file cost.  It should be used when facts indicate potential fraud, malingering, subrogation, field investigation and claimant surveillance when claimant activity becomes suspect.


  • Chose a claim unit investigator wisely.  Investigate for experience, education, qualification, and licensing. Check all references and past performance with their clients.
  • Prepare a contract that clearly declares all methods of operation, fees, and associated expenses.  Clarify reporting requirements, authority, and contact persons.
  • Maintain close follow through contact for desired results.  Do not just assign the case to the investigator and wait.  This can allow for excess activity and billing.



Author Michael Stack, Principal, COMPClub, Amaxx LLC. He is an expert in workers compensation cost containment systems and helps employers reduce their work comp costs by 20% to 50%.  He works as a consultant to large and mid-market clients, is co-author of Your Ultimate Guide To Mastering Workers Comp Costs, a comprehensive step-by-step manual of cost containment strategies based on hands-on field experience, and founder of COMPClub, an exclusive member training program on workers compensation cost containment best practices. Through these platforms he is in the trenches on a monthly basis working together with clients to implement and define best practices, which allows him to continuously be at the forefront of innovation and thought leadership in workers’ compensation cost containment. Contact:



©2015 Amaxx LLC. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.


Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional.

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