Here are six tips to get the most from your insurer:
Get Regular Reports
It is essential for companies to request brief, narrative reports from their insurers for all open claims at regular intervals of 30, 60 or 90 days. The frequency of reporting requirements is, of course, dependent on claims volume and availability of internal company staff.
A company with 1,000 lost-time claims annually may want less frequent or less-detailed reports every 90 days, for example, but, a company with only 100 lost-time claims annually may want full narrative reports every 30 days.
The adjuster should provide sufficient detail in describing “action items” planned for each 30-day period that indicates steps to be taken to resolve the claim.
Many companies requested information solely about reserve practices in the past, however, the focus of reporting requirements should be on claims resolution strategies.
Ask About Recovery Potential – Get it in Writing
Additional items often incorporated in your Account Servicing Instructions (ASI) include requirements that “all claims should be evaluated for state second injury fund and subrogation potential.” The company should receive a report identifying recovery potential within 90 days after the claim is received by the carrier. The carrier files liens in all actions brought by its employees against third parties and these liens should not be waived or compromised without the company’s prior written consent.
Benefit Checks Should Come to You First
In those states where permissible, benefits checks should be delivered to the company to distribute to employees. In lieu of this, copies of all checks should be forwarded to the company. Direct deposit can be a convenient way to distribute checks, but you will lose the ability to interact with your injured workers come payday.
All claims should be paid “without prejudice” in those states where possible, and the carrier should file for extensions of this status whenever possible.
Ask Your Carrier to Reference the CIB
Companies should also request their carriers reference the Central Index Bureau, an insurance industry-maintained database, on all claims to determine if a prior claim was filed.
Be Sure your Carrier and Insured Are On the Same Page with Denials
When the company requests a claim be discontinued, the carrier should be flexible enough to agree to take necessary steps to terminate benefits in a timely manner so long as the company’s position is legally supportable. The carrier should take an aggressive posture in denying insupportable claims. Conversely, the insured should be consulted before any claim is denied to avoid human resource and morale problems.
Your Insurer Should Notify You In Advance Regarding Hearings
Furthermore, the company should be notified sufficiently in advance of all hearings and conciliations so its representative may attend the hearings. Also, the litigation manager should be consulted before appeals are filed and should retain the right to determine whether an appeal is warranted.
Author Michael Stack, CEO Amaxx LLC. He is an expert in workers’ compensation cost containment systems and helps employers reduce their workers’ comp costs by 20% to 50%. He works as a consultant to large and mid-market clients, is a 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 & lead trainer of Amaxx Workers’ Comp Training Center .
Workers’ Comp Roundup Blog: https://blog.reduceyourworkerscomp.com/
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Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional.