DEC 21, 2020 - DAVID WIDENER, THE AMERICAN EQUITY UNDERWRITERS, INC.
As 2020 draws to a close (and good riddance, right?), we look for areas in which we can improve and set new goals to achieve. If your goal is to reduce your claims costs, here are three resolutions to strengthen your claims strategy in 2021.
Claims Strategy Resolution #1: Resolve to have a plan when an injury occurs.
John F. Kennedy said, “The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.” Policies and procedures for handling work injuries should be made ahead of time and be clearly communicated to all employees. Common questions that should be addressed are:
- Who should the injury be reported to?
- Who will fill out the accident report?
- Who will report the claim to your workers' compensation provider?
- Who will investigate the accident?
- Who will preserve any evidence that may be useful in a third-party suit?
- Who will interview co-workers who may have witnessed the accident?
- To which medical treatment facility will your injured employee be directed?
Well-thought-out procedures can help ensure that your injured employee gets their injury and claim handled in an efficient and timely manner.
Claims Strategy Resolution #2: Resolve to get injured employees back to work.
Many of us make the same resolution year after year. Accordingly, this was one of our recommended resolutions last year, but it deserves repeating because it is so beneficial to the claims process.
In a past Longshore Insider article, we outlined 10 ways that a return-to-work program can reduce claims costs. From increasing employee morale to reducing indirect costs of injuries, returning your injured employees to a transitional duty job has countless benefits.
Resolve to have a return-to-work strategy and document it. For ALMA members, AEU can provide resources and expertise to assist in this process.
Claims Strategy Resolution #3: Resolve to improve your documentation.
Proper and complete documentation can make or break a claim. Whether it’s documenting the body parts injured or a return-to-work offer, always “get it in writing”.
Here are some of the many good reasons to improve documentation:
Memories are short.
To avoid a “he said/she said” situation.
To keep injuries from “migrating” to other body parts.
The claim may end up in litigation.
To circumvent miscommunication with the injured worker or claims adjuster.
AEU has resources, such as letter templates for return-to-work offers, that can be valuable as you bolster your documentation process. Contact us if you’d like guidance in this area.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
David Widener joined AEU in 2019 as Director of Claims Advisory Services. Widener began his longshore career in 2003 with F.A. Richard/American Equity Risk Services, where he was a claims supervisor for eight years. He joined the U.S. Department of Labor as a claims examiner in 2011, and was promoted to District Director six months later, overseeing operations for the Houston District Office. David has a B.S. in finance from Louisiana State University and is a credentialed mediator for the state of Texas.
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