I am reading the ProPublica Report with great interest because there are many things I agree with. After reading all the press brouhaha over this report however, I still regard the high cost of workers compensation (for those companies which do have high costs) mostly as a management problem.
TPA or Carrier Is Often Blamed For Workers Comp Problems
The companies I see — which are the ones that have huge problems — are clueless about workers comp. They turn their claims and injury process over to their claims administrator or carrier, hardly participating in the process, then they blame the TPA or carrier when costs go up even though they have done nothing internally to manage safety or injuries.
These companies never budget for workers’ comp management, don’t staff the risk department (if there even is a “department”) properly. THAT would cost money and our headcount would increase, they say. Often if they do have staff, they do not allow, encourage or require the staff to attend conferences, seminars or join organizations or purchase resources. THAT would cost money, they say.
Sometimes their brokers offer to help by providing consulting resources, and the companies with high workers comp costs do not see the merit in such an approach. I worked with a major entertainment facility, speaking with them once per week, on behalf of their broker, hoping to gain insight. I offered to “consult” with them since I am a consultant, getting to the root of the problem, finding the cost drivers, and fixing them is what I do. They did not need a “consultant”. Then, one day I said I could “help them develop their training program” and they accepted instantly! I had used the wrong word — they needed “training help” not “consulting help”. Within months the high cost of their workers compensation program went down to almost zero. Problem solved.
Workers Compensation Needs To Be Managed
If you don’t manage and monitor it, the process (any process, not only workers’ compensation) will not work well.
It’s time for employers to become involved in their own business! The first step is assessing the problem in YOUR company, not the industry in general or another company, but get that mirror out and have a look. You are most likely looking at the problem.
Author Rebecca Shafer, JD, President of Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is a national expert in the field of workers compensation. She is a writer, speaker, and publisher. Her expertise is working with employers to reduce workers compensation costs, and her clients include airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality, and manufacturing. She is the author of the #1 selling book on cost containment, Workers Compensation Management Program: Reduce Costs 20% to 50%. Contact:RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.
Editor Michael B. Stack, CPA, Principal, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. He is an expert in employer communication systems and helps employers reduce their workers comp costs by 20% to 50%. He resides in the Boston area and works as a Qualified Loss Management Program provider working with high experience modification factor companies in the Massachusetts State Risk Pool. He is co-author of the #1 selling book on cost containment, www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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