Workers’ Comp Audit Mistakes: What to Look For

| posted in Blog

No company owner wants to undergo a workers’ compensation audit, but they are a fact of life if you run a business and have employees. Unfortunately, many audits don’t go smoothly and sometimes your insurer may make mistakes. Missouri-based Workers’ Compensation Consultants, which helps employers through the workers’ comp audit process, recently listed the 10 most common audit mistakes that insurance companies make. The list highlights a common problem and how you can detect the mistakes to avoid being stuck with a massive audit bill. Insurance companies allow you to review the audit with your broker. If you notice that…
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New Rule Simplifies X-Mod Calculation, Encourages Reporting First Aid Claims

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

A new method for calculating workers’ compensation experience modifications (X-Mods) took effect in California on Jan. 1, 2019. The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California has created a new simplified formula for calculating X-Mods as part of its efforts to add more transparency to the process. The new formula excludes the first $250 of every claim for the X-Mod computation, no matter how large or small the claim is. This also means that if an employer pays, say, $200 for first aid on a minor workplace injury, they are required to report it as a claim. Doing so will…
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Preparing for a Workers’ Compensation Audit

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

  Just the mention of a workers’ compensation audit can stir up the butterflies in your stomach and add a serious dose of stress to your existence. But, if you are scheduled for an audit, there is no need to dread it. A small amount of preparation and common sense can save you a lot of aggravation and money. Timing Devoting a few hours of effort now can save you a lot of time in the future. Give your full attention to the auditor and remain with them throughout the entire process. The process may take a couple of hours…
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Rating Agency Calls for 7.2% Workers’ Comp Rate Cut

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Thanks to reforms enacted in 2014, California’s workers’ comp rating agency is recommending that the average benchmark rate be cut by 7.2% for policies effective July 1 and onward. The filing made by the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau is for the state’s pure premium rates, which are essentially the base rates to cover expected costs of claims and claims-adjusting expenses across all worker class codes. The rates are advisory only and insurers can price their policies as they wish, so there are no guarantees that any particular employer will see a rate decrease when their policy renews. The rate…
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Keep Injured Workers in the Loop to Reduce Claims Costs

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

One perennial topic in workplace safety is how to get injured workers back on the job as quickly as possible, and when it is safe to do so. The key, experts say, is to help the injured employee better engage in the workers’ comp system, so they have a better understanding of the claims process and what they can expect from it. Employers that have the best success actually advocate for the injured worker, instead of just giving them the standard booklets on what to expect and then leave them until they are healed up enough to go back to…
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Documenting Small Safety Incidents Key to Preventing Major Ones

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Studies show that for every major workplace injury or fatality, there are nearly 10 minor injuries – and more than 30 accidents that lead to property damage. Capturing data even on minor incidents that may seem trivial in isolation can be critical in informing efforts to prevent much greater dangers in the future. A big part of that effort involves ensuring businesses maintain a complete set of data. Managers at all levels should focus on solid and thorough documentation. Here is where management’s main effort should be concentrated: Don’t ignore minor incidents. Document all of them. Even if you have…
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New Law Reduces Ownership Requirement for Coverage Exemption

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A new law taking effect this year aims to ease the confusion caused by the implementation of new rules that define what constitutes an owner or officer who is exempt from having to carry workers’ compensation coverage. The new law, which was in the form of SB 189, last year once again changed the definition of employees and the permissible exclusions for workers’ comp purposes. Current law excludes from the definition of employee: • An officer or member of the board of directors of a quasi-public or private corporation who owns at least 15% of the issued and outstanding stock…
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When Injuries at Work Don’t Equal Workers’ Comp

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While injuries and deaths that occur while someone is carrying out their work on behalf of their employer are compensated by workers’ comp coverage, not all workplace injuries or deaths are compensable, as a recent court case shows. In the case, a heating and air conditioning technician died of a heart attack while working in an attic. But his wife was denied workers’ comp death benefits by the insurance company and a workers’ comp judge on the basis that the heart attack was not related to work. The decision by the judge was appealed and a state court recently ruled…
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Commercial Rates Climb in Wake of Higher Claims Costs, Catastrophes

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There is a confluence of factors affecting insurance rates going into 2018 that are pushing premiums higher in a number of commercial lines policies, including auto, liability and property. Increasing claims costs in commercial auto are at the top of the list, largely due to a spike in distracted driving accidents, injuries, deaths and higher costs to repair modern vehicles. Now, after the most expensive natural disaster season on record – hurricanes, floods and wildfires – premiums for commercial property are also on the rise. Workers’ compensation seems to be the outlier, as rates in most states have remained steady…
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Are Sleepy Workers Damaging Your Business’s Health?

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In June 2014, a truck driver from Georgia drove 800 miles from his home to his Delaware workplace. Without stopping to rest, he then got behind the wheel of a Wal-Mart tractor trailer and headed north. He rear-ended a limousine bus on the New Jersey turnpike, starting a chain-reaction crash involving six vehicles and 21 people. Comedy writer James McNair died and television comedian Tracy Morgan suffered serious injuries. The National Transportation Safety Board concluded that the driver, who had been awake for 28 hours, caused the crash because he was fatigued. Employers are increasingly becoming aware of the problems…
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