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Fail to Plan or Plan to Fail?

06/29/2022 Written by: Tara Crisp

“Failing to plan is planning to fail” is a common phrase that has been around for many years. Even after hearing it for the first time, years later it still rings true, especially if you are an employer that is required to procure workers’ compensation coverage. Workers’ compensation is one of the few lines of insurance where an employer can have a positive impact purely through planning and management of the claims. 

The worst time to plan for Return to Work (RTW) is after an employee is injured. Trying to educate supervisors, develop a relationship with the treating physician, and managing the complications of an injured worker is stressful. If an employer plans RTW before it’s needed and educates their supervisors on the correct processes to follow for the state where the injury occurred, then you can manage costs associated with the injury which, in turn, assists with managing the Experience Modification factor.

Working with your broker or carrier to identify modified duty tasks ranging from sedentary and preparing the required task lists, depending on state statute requirements, allows the employer to understand the process and be more prepared when an injury occurs. For employers in highly laborious jobs, this is especially helpful. If your business cannot support modified duty, there are other options available such as third-party placement with a nonprofit. While these placements require the employer to pay the injured worker for this work, it can prevent additional reserves being applied to the total claim costs. Once indemnity reserves are applied to a claim, they are difficult to have removed. Even if they are not being used, adjusters can be hesitant to remove them. If employers can provide information on modified duty for injured workers when the claim is reported, the adjuster is less likely to calculate indemnity reserves into the total cost of the claim, unless surgery is required. In the case that surgery would be required, depending on the complexity of the surgery, hospital admission, and pain medications, the employer may still be able to provide modified duty; computer-based safety training, or policy reviews.

Planning for RTW also helps to facilitate communication with the injured worker. Nothing is worse than having an employee out from an injury and the employer fails to maintain communication with the employee.There are many complex measures to consider when planning RTW, but the biggest is making sure to plan, otherwise you will have planned to fail.

The AssuredPartners Energy team is here to plan and guide you through all risks, including making sure your workers compensation policies and RTW plans are in place well before an injury occurs. Contact us today to get started with an assessment of your current policies, and planning for a safer and more secure future.  

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