How to Reduce Workers' Comp Costs in Recessionary Times

Amid a slumping economy, there still are opportunities for organizations to reduce workers' compensation costs and save money through savvy risk management practices.

A comprehensive, well-executed workers' compensation program tailored to an organization's specific needs can provide benefits beyond insurance and services – such as improving worker safety programs and reducing both the incidence of workers' compensation claims and claims severity. These benefits can enable organizations to achieve significant cost savings, improve financial security and reduce the potential need for budget cuts.

These conclusions are discussed in a new white paper by PMA Companies, "Top Ten Workers' Compensation Considerations in Recessionary Times." The 10 considerations are tools a buyer should have in mind when selecting a carrier or third-party administrator (TPA) most capable of addressing their needs in the current market.

Authored by Bill Hitselberger, executive vice president and CFO at PMA Companies and Kyle Morhardt, PMA's vice president of Risk Management Services, the paper is part of an educational series called PMA Insights. View the full paper.

"While now is the time to reduce costs wherever possible, it is definitely not the time to cut corners at the expense of employees' safety or protection," Hitselberger said. "PMA Companies details these 10 considerations for nearly every account that it writes." These "Top 10" considerations are:

1. Consider the total cost of insurance ownership.
2. Select the right solution for your needs.
3. Safer work environments save money.
4. Look to build a true partnership.
5. Today, more than ever, financial strength matters.
6. Follow a proven service model with programs in place to help contain medical costs.
7. Know your bench of experts and leverage their expertise.
8. Make a formalized return to work program part of your culture.
9. Hire the right people for the job.
10. Examine the validity of workers' compensation claims and injuries and know how to act on the invalid ones.

In discussing these 10 considerations, the paper emphasizes that while workers' compensation insurance is a requirement for doing business, programs vary in design, application and degree of service.

It suggests closely examining the proof points of each carrier and TPA by asking questions such as: Do they have a proven track record of success insuring or servicing similar risks in your industry? Is it backed by 24/7 service and support and the ongoing flexibility to add products and services as needed? Is the program customizable to fit your specific needs with the potential for systemic savings based on your organization's performance over time?

The paper also suggests that selecting a workers' compensation carrier/TPA is an ongoing conversation rather than a one-time transaction. Values you should expect from your workers' compensation insurance carrier/TPA include accessibility, flexibility, accountability and open communication.

"As a workers' compensation specialist for nearly 100 years, PMA knows that a comprehensive, thought out workers' compensation program can do much more for your organization than simply provide a necessary insurance coverage and/or services – it can help make your organization safer, engage employees and save your organization bottom line dollars," Morhardt said.

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