Benjamin Franklin famously advised, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Preventing workplace injuries is clearly the most effective way to manage workers’ compensation claims. However, while many work-related injuries are avoidable, when they occur, the way employers handle them is critical.
These best practices for claims reporting can help injured employees receive the best care and support employers in controlling costs.
> Report all workplace injuries immediately.
Timely reporting tops the list of tips for managing workers’ comp claims. Following early injury reporting practices, even if an injury does not require medical treatment, leads to a smoother claims process.
When employers report a claim right away, evidence is better preserved and the claim representative has more time to investigate the injury. It also ensures the employer’s compliance with state requirements, helping them avoid significant fines and penalties.
Prompt reporting benefits injured workers too, allowing them to receive appropriate medical care as soon as possible and return to work safely with minimal delay.
> Investigate right away (and keep notes).
All reported injuries require investigation, ideally immediately. Employers should document as much information about the injury as possible and provide it to the claim representative. These details will help to verify reports from the injured worker.
Investigation information to provide includes:
- details of the injury, including the employee’s name and type of injury
- when (date and time) and where the injury occurred
- how the injury occurred – what the employee was doing when it happened
- any information received from the injured employee, such as a written statement, medical treatment provider, contact information and wage information
- documented witness statements and interviews with the injured employee and their supervisor
- any relevant photos
- any accident scene information or evidence
> Communicate frequently.
Open communication among the company, the employee and the claim representative helps to achieve a better workers’ compensation outcome.
Employers should educate employees on workers’ comp processes, including how to report an injury and who to go to with questions. Knowing when they can expect benefits and how to return to work can ease common employee concerns. And regular communication with injured workers ensures they are cared for and supported through their return.
Employers should also be in touch with an injured worker’s care provider about their condition status and completion of care. Additionally, they should communicate with the claim representative frequently to make sure benefit payments are on time and correct and to reach a resolution of any issues.
> Train supervisors.
A supervisor should be the first person a worker informs of an injury and plays an important role throughout the workers’ comp process. As such, they need to understand how the process works. Training should include:
- what impact and costs are associated with workers’ compensation
- how to help prevent worker injuries
- what to do when a worker is injured, including how to report incidents
- how to navigate the workers’ comp process, from directing employees to the appropriate individuals to determining the validity of a claim
- how to manage work restrictions and return-to-work processes for injured employees
Well-trained supervisors, and strong relationships between employees and direct supervisors, can help ensure efficient claims reporting and management.
> Focus on prevention.
Preventing injuries before they happen remains the best way to manage workers’ comp claims. Employers can best accomplish this with a comprehensive safety program that provides regular training for employees and supervisors and by creating a positive safety culture.
Wearables can be a beneficial element in prevention-focused safety and risk management programs. The devices can reduce workplace strain and sprain injury frequency by 55% through continuous coaching methods that improve how workers move while doing their jobs.
Wearable tech also provides a wealth of data on workplace risk that employers can use to reduce the chances of work-related injuries and claims. The data provides insight into trends and patterns that can uncover areas of high risk or weaknesses in a company’s safety approach. It can inform employers of potential improvements or enhanced training to help prevent future injuries.
Provide Clients with Superior Claims Services
Best-in-class claims reporting and management services bring real value to insureds. And they can help position brokers as true partners in risk management, allowing them to win and retain business easily.
In partnership with Nationwide, Kinetic’s proactive workers’ comp policies, which include free wearable technology, offer superior claims services for a personalized customer experience, fast and fair resolution of covered losses and robust digital capabilities.
- easy claim reporting online, with a representative over the phone, or by fax
- experienced claims adjusters
- a 24/7 Nurse Triage program that ensures prompt medical treatment
- a prescription First Fill program that allows prescription processing before workers’ comp is established
- a workers’ compensation virtual toolkit with useful state-specific resources
- dedicated claims account managers
- bill and claim reviews
- return-to-work programs
Brokers can engage current customers and attract new ones by serving as risk management partners and helping policyholders follow these best practices for claims reporting. In addition, providing policyholders with top-of-the-line claims services, like nurse triage and user-friendly claims reporting, can help them reduce worker injury rates and control claims costs.