Workers' compensation insurers are expecting premium hikes this year, some as much as 20 percent. Here are some ways to keep your costs down:
Clamp down on cheats. Experts say between 10 percent and 20 percent of workers' comp claims are at least partially fraudulent. Here are six signals of fraud:
- Monday morning claims. Workers try to pass off weekend injuries as job-related.
- Injuries reported after discipline or before a layoff.
- Claims for "new age" injuries. Cases of stress and carpal tunnel syndrome can be legitimate but hard to verify, and unscrupulous workers know this.
- Frequent change of doctors. Workers often search for one who will go along with their scam.
- Refusal to undergo physical therapy. They don't want to get better or have their cover blown. You can deny a claim if a worker refuses necessary treatments or skips scheduled doctor visits.
- Providing a post office box address, so you won't have their real address when they don't return phone calls.
Gather your workers' comp policy information from the past five years, including billing statements, NCCI experience rating work sheets, auditors' work sheets and loss summaries.
Check your experience rating calculation, which compares your average losses to similar businesses in your state and is based on information reported by your previous insurers. Then verify payroll and loss data with your audit billing statements and loss-history summaries.
An independent review company also can help you pinpoint overcharges and get a refund. Some work on commission with no upfront fees. NCCI affiliates provide such reviews. Call (561)997-4885 or visit www.ncci.com.