Want to lower your worker s comp costs?

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1 Want to lower your worker s comp costs? Many employers think of their workers comp premium as a fixed cost. Smart businesses owners, though, are always looking for ways to save, and comp is a great place to start. With a little attention to detail, you can reduce the dollars your company spends on workers comp without jeopardizing the value of your policy. Take a good look at the ideas in this issue and see if you can implement a few cost-saving strategies in your workplace. Start with safety Workplace injuries directly affect premium, which makes safety the most obvious key to saving money. To spend less on workers comp, create specific safety initiatives for every job. They can be as simple as correcting ergonomic issues or requiring safety goggles. Put these safety rules in writing. Enforce them. Offer incentives for accident-free June is National Safety Month Each June, the National Safety Council encourages organizations to get involved and participate in National Safety Month. The idea is to educate and influence behaviors around leading causes of preventable injuries and deaths. This year s theme is Safety Starts with Me and includes free downloadable materials, complete with safety talks, quizzes and activities. Why not get your employees involved, excited and safe! For more information, visit ❶ Summer 2013 performance. Cheerlead. If you need safety ideas, check with your agent, visit our website or call your Summit loss control representative. Take advantage of available credits Drug-free workplace programs can qualify you for savings on your premium. Setting up a drug-free workplace program may take some time in order to meet state regulations, but in qualifying states the savings can be up to 5 percent (in Georgia, it can be up to 7.5 percent). Maintaining a workplace safety program and completing the Workplace Safety application process can qualify Florida employers for an additional 2 percent credit. These programs are not difficult to implement, and Summit can help. Work with your agent to check your class codes Business classification codes are based on the level of potential risk for jobs in a particular industry and they are a key factor in determining the cost of your workers compensation premium. It s a good idea to work with your agent to check your employee classifications, because improper classification can cost you thousands. Plan (and improve) your immediate response Statistically and practically speaking, the faster you respond to a workplace accident, the better and less costly the outcome. So before an injury happens, plan out how you will respond. Designate a person to immediately report workplace injuries. Contact the nearest in-network doctor s office or clinic, and prearrange any documentation you may need in the event of an injury. Explain your company s workplace accident procedures to your employees. And be prepared to stay in the communication loop that includes the injured employee, the physician and Summit. Laws differ by state, but if you take time to put procedures into place right now, you ll have more control of workplace injuries and the chance to keep costs from spiraling. Continued on page 2

2 A Message from Carol Sipe, Summit president and CEO Carol Sipe Summit President and CEO The big news in workers comp this year is all about experience mods. As you ve seen in recent issues of COMPpress, the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) has retooled its experience modification factor calculation and this adjustment could create major premium increases for companies with high losses. Now is the time to make some changes so that your company is prepared. Savings begin with an unrelenting focus on safety, because the best way to lower the cost of a claim is to eliminate it altogether. Most workplace safety issues aren t catastrophic events fortunately those types of accidents are few and far between. The bigger cost drivers are the everyday accidents, such as slips, trips, falls and sprains. A solid safety program can put procedures and equipment in place to reduce or even eliminate some of these risks. Even with the best safety program, we know that claims do happen, and they impact everyone s bottom line yours and ours. For this reason, we are continually working on our end to decrease claims costs. The truth is that without your help, we can only decrease costs by so much. Your involvement in the claims process is critical, especially when it comes to returning injured employees to the workplace. This issue contains tips to help you increase safety, lower claims costs and, ultimately save money. We can help you implement safety procedures and a return-to-work program tailored to the needs of your business, and guide you through the process for any claims that arise. Just give us a call. n Want to lower your worker s comp costs? (continued from page 1) Get started with Back2Work Return-to-work programs work, but they need to be in place before an injury occurs. It s a fact that employers with established return-to-work programs can minimize the costs of claims. And, studies prove time and again that employees who continue to work while they recover, even in a modified capacity, heal faster. Check out the rest of this issue for more information about Summit s Back2Work program and many other cost-saving opportunities. Use in-network doctors Sending your injured workers to an in-network medical provider not only gives them access to quality medical care from experienced providers, but it s also another great way to save money on workers comp claims. In fact, our proprietary network along with our additional cost-containment services and discounts generates an average savings of more than 50 percent on the billed amount on medical invoices. Visit our website,, for a current listing of our network medical providers in your area. Simply click on Find a Medical Provider to get started. n Evidence-based medicine saves on comp costs, too Summit encourages the use of evidence-based medicine to save you money and, most important, to give your injured workers the best chance at recovery. Here s how it works. When medical providers have the latest treatment information and use effective, scientifically proven methods, you save money because ineffective, outdated treatments are eliminated from the claim. Plus, your injured worker gets the best care, heals faster, suffers less and is back on the job sooner, which saves lost wage expenses and needless frustration. To promote the use of evidence-based medicine for your claims, we encourage our network doctors to use the Official Disability Guidelines. This extensive database of evidence-based guidelines was created just for workers comp and is continually updated by the independent Work Loss Data Institute. Yet another reason to use doctors in our network! ❷

3 The Dollars and Sense of Workers Comp Return to Work = A Better Mod = Lower Premium! If your business qualifies for an experience modification factor (mod) you know that your mod can make a huge difference in how much you pay for workers comp coverage.* You ve also heard that return to work can make a difference in your claims costs, and therefore, your mod. This is true for many reasons, but here are two of the most timely things to consider. ERA matters, and not just for baseball fans Most states allow an Experience Rating Adjustment (ERA) for medical-only claims.** This rule implements a 70-percent reduction in the cost of a medical-only claim for purposes of the mod calculation. This means that if you have a $4,000 medical-only claim, only $1,200 is included in the mod calculation. But, let s say that same claim includes a $100 check for lost time, which brings the total claim cost to $4,100. How much is now included in the mod calculation? $4,100 the full amount. The adjustment is strictly limited to medical-only claims; even a minimal indemnity payment will cancel out this cost-saver. That $100 indemnity check could Waiting Periods for Lost-Time Wages State Number of days Alabama 3 Arkansas 7 Florida 7 Georgia 7 Kentucky 7 Louisiana 7 Mississippi 5 North Carolina 7 South Carolina 7 Tennessee 7 Texas 7 Without transitional duty, overall workers comp claim costs can increase especially impacting indemnity and potential legal costs. increase your premium payments because the adjustment is not applied. What s the best solution? Know your state s indemnity waiting period (see the chart on the left), and whenever possible, get your employees back on the job before lost-wage indemnity payments kick in. Split-point changes make return to work matter even more Of course, some accidents will become lost-time claims, simply because of the nature of the injuries. And this is where return to work makes an ever greater impact, especially in light of recent regulatory changes. As you ve seen in previous editions of COMPpress, the National Council on Compensation Insurance is rolling out a change to the mod calculation in In previous years, only the first $5,000 of a claim was considered a primary cost, and included at full value in the mod calculation. The rest of the claim was considered excess, and only a percentage was included. Beginning in 2013, (the date differs by state), the primary amount of a claim will increase from $5,000 to $10,000. And, this primary limit is expected to continue increasing each year. In 2014, it rises to $13,500, and in 2015, it will bump up to at least $15,000, and will be further adjusted according to nationwide claims data. This means claims costs included in your mod have the potential to double this year and triple by Because claims costs now have a much greater impact on your mod, returning an injured employee to work matters more than ever. n * NCCI develops your experience modification factor annually. Premium eligibility varies by state. For example, a risk is eligible for an experience modification factor in Florida if it has at least $10,000 of subject premium in the most recent 24 months of the experience period. ** As of this printing, Texas is the only state in which Summit operates that has not approved the Experience Rating Adjustment. Georgia and Louisiana are among the newest states to adopt the ERA rules. In Georgia, mods with effective dates of March 1, 2013, and later are subject to ERA rules. Louisiana applies ERA rules to mods effective May 1, 2013, and later. ❸

4 Return-to-Work Basics Have a transitional duty policy that requires participation if an employee is injured on the job. Employees who refuse to participate in such a policy may forfeit their workers comp benefits. Communicate your program positively; make return to work part of your corporate culture. Develop a transitional duty job bank for employees who cannot return to their original jobs immediately. Put at least five possible assignments on this list. Ask supervisors and employees for suggestions. Meet regularly with employees who are on transitional duty to discuss their progress and obstacles to return to work. If you don t have the ability to offer transitional duty, consider working with a vendor that temporarily provides off-site employment. Think out of the box, from community service to school mentoring. And remember, statistics show that employees who are active actually heal faster. Coordinate your transitional duty policy with all other state and federal leave and absence regulations, such as the ADA and FMLA. Want to learn more? Back2Work, Summit s return-towork program, has tools and information to help you. Send an to to connect with a Back2Work coordinator, or log in to. n What is transitional duty? IT Is... Temporary Therapeutic (helpful for healing) Meaningful and productive for business Time to connect with the injured worker A way to reduce the cost of a claim Modified or alternate tasks that can change from day to day and vary depending on the type of injury and the injured worker s abilities IT Is NOT... Full production A punishment Busy work Wasted time

5 Training Opportunity A must-attend for safety and risk management professionals The Workers Compensation Institute is sponsoring its 68 th Workers Compensation Educational Conference at the Orlando Marriott World Center from August 18 through August 21 this year. The conference is the largest gathering of safety, health and workers compensation professionals in the nation, complete with networking events and classes focused on topics that are at the forefront of the workers comp industry. The conference features prominent speakers from around the country presenting in risk management, safety trends, claims management and more. There s an expanded risk management program, and an OSHA 10-hour general industry course is being presented (completion cards will be given to those who complete the full 10 hours of instruction). Summit speakers Once again, Summit staff has been asked to participate as speakers and panel members for several breakouts at the conference, proving that we really are the people who know workers comp! Jana Cauley, Summit s claims compliance supervisor, will be part of a mock trial; Melody Richardi, our claims/agency liaison supervisor, will talk about the claims data that carriers collect and why; and Pam Last, our claims operations manager, plays a lead role on the Blips, Bloopers and Blunders panel. Check the conference program online for details. Join us! Dates: August 18 21, 2013 Location: The Orlando World Center Marriott To register for the conference or to learn more, visit

6 What Can Summit Do for You? How to Reach Us Summit offers a variety of services and programs aimed at controlling your workers compensation costs and making the most of your premium dollars. Here s a sampling of some of the tools we have available at no additional cost to you. Back2Work, Summit s return-to-work program gives you the tools you need to create a plan for your business. Specialized provider network,* consisting of more than 16,000 doctors and specialists experienced in occupational medicine and workers compensation. Online Business Center, where you can Check claims activity Print and download loss runs Print certificates of insurance (COIs) or waivers Find a doctor in our workers comp network Tailored loss-control services,** including Safety consultations Drug-free workplace assistance Safety education, training materials, classes and webinars SafetySmart Online, a valuable web-based safety training tool offered at no charge as part of your workers compensation coverage through Summit. Open for Business. Create and save your own detailed plan for disaster recovery online it s free! For more information, tips on workers comp and frequently asked questions, visit our website at. Customer Service Report a Workplace Injury 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by Calling , Faxing your report to or Visiting our website at (login required) Florida/Corporate Office Southeast Region Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee Southwest Region Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas Summit Manages BusinessFirst Insurance Company RetailFirst Insurance Company Retailers Casualty Insurance Company Bridgefield Casualty Insurance Company Bridgefield Employers Insurance Company * Proprietary network in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. In Arkansas and Texas, Summit uses contracted networks that offer our clients benefits comparable to our proprietary arrangement. 5/13 (13-072) ** RetailFirst Insurance Company, BusinessFirst Insurance Company, Bridgefield Employers Insurance Company, Bridgefield Casualty Insurance Company and Retailers Casualty Insurance Company provide policyholders with accident prevention services at no additional cost. ❹ Summit Consulting LLC has used its best efforts to select information for this publication from reliable sources, but cannot warrant that it is complete or accurate. Summit Consulting LLC does not assume and hereby disclaims any liability to any person for loss or damages caused by error or omission. Please check with your agent or attorney for details about the laws as they may affect your specific business situation Summit Consulting LLC

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