Given the current economic climate, more and more retailers have reason to be concerned about the financial stability of their insurance providers.
“Certain insurance companies may have exposures well-beyond traditional risks,” said Anne Myers, senior VP marketing and client services for Greensboro, N.C.-based Key Risk Insurance Co., a member company of W. R. Berkley Corp.
Add to that retailers’ growing concerns about cost-cutting to maintain profitability, said Myers, and there is cause to examine current workers-compensation programs because, contrary to popular belief, those costs can be controlled.
“In order to control costs and get the most out of a workers-compensation program, it is important to understand what a good program offers,” she said.
For starters, advised Myers, look for a carrier or provider that recognizes workers comp as a people business, “so that when an employee sustains a work-related injury on the job, he or she will receive due benefits.” Beyond that, she said, a workers-compensation carrier should work with your organization to develop loss-control programs to empower employees to prevent injuries before they occur.
“Ask about their take on transitional duty programs and how they will help you get an injured employee back to work,” said Myers. “Any workers compensation professional you work with must understand the ‘human side’ of workplace injuries and the impact those injuries have on their employees and families.”
Other considerations include making sure your workers-compensation provider is solution-driven with a commitment to prompt and personalized response. “Be sure to ask if they have a responsive claims call center,” said Myers.
Also, make sure the medical bill review process includes a utilization review of pre-operative and post-operative care, as well as ongoing therapy. “An integrated approach to service delivers a more effective strategy to meet the needs of injured workers, getting them back to work as quickly as possible benefits everyone,” she said.
And, finally, consider your local market when selecting a workers-comp provider. “A workers compensation provider that utilizes a multi-layered medical provider network, with knowledge of local area physicians and pharmacies, can more effectively address the specialized needs of injured workers,” Myers said.
Knowing the basic questions to ask, as well as what to look for in a carrier or provider, can help retailers maximize a workers-compensation program, she concluded. “Selecting a workers-compensation provider with the expertise and specialization to deliver the best outcome will benefit you, your company and your employees.”