HR pros should look at more than price when they’re shopping for a workers’ compensation insurance carrier.
“Price should be a driver,” notes John Nelson, executive VP of Employers, a Reno, Nev.-based workers’ comp insurance carrier, “but there are ancillary costs if you look at it in terms of price alone and you don’t consider service. You could be paying more on the back end than you do initially.”
Here is a checklist to cover with your insurance broker before selecting a carrier:
__ Especially for small employers, the insurance carrier is an extension of HR. Does the carrier treat injured employees with care and respect?
__ Is the carrier willing to work with HR to bring loss-prevention programs to the work site? Will the carrier visit the organization to suggest ways to prevent accidents?
__ Likewise, will the carrier provide educational materials that HR can distribute to employees about safety for specific jobs? Does it offer general injury-prevention strategies addressing smart ergonomics and how to handle products like copy-machine toner?
__ Does the carrier work with a network of physicians who specialize in helping injured employees get back to work?
__ What kind of plan does the carrier develop for each injured employee—e.g., for treatment and a speedy return to work?
__ How quickly can the carrier get an injured employee started in treatment?
__ Will the carrier identify ways injured employees can do modified work if they can’t return to regular jobs for extended time periods?
__ Is the carrier experienced with claims from employees in your industry? Some carriers specialize in lower-risk, mainstream businesses like restaurants and medical offices. Others cover higher-risk industries like construction. Some work only with small businesses.
__ Can the carrier accept claims 24/7 if an injury occurs on an after-hours shift?
__ Does the carrier employ multilingual operators?
The best claim, of course, is the one that never happens. A good workers’ comp carrier does more than collect premiums and pay claims. It helps your organization minimize on-the-job mishaps and lengthy injury-related absences.