What works in Workers’ Comp: learning from others

Risk and Insurance has named the 2017 All Stars and the National Safety Council has announced the Rising Stars of Safety. Here are several of their stories that offer ideas and solutions to some common work comp challenges:

Risk and Insurance 2017 All Stars

Helping underwriters understand the risk

Faith Cring, director, Engineering, Environmental, Safety and Insurance, Growmark Inc., recognized that underwriters tend to be city-dwellers and don’t necessarily understand the risks of an agricultural cooperative. So she brings the underwriters out to the country to educate them about pesticide drift claims, grain siloes, and other realities of the agriculture business and doesn’t coach location managers on what to say to underwriters. Her goal is to develop long-term relationships with her carriers, so she can get tailored coverage for her business.

Tackling outstanding claims

When Kevin Moss, Director of Casualty Insurance and Risk, Michelin North America, launched Michelin’s largest comprehensive claim review, he learned that of the company’s 483 open claims, 186 high-value claims accounted for 83 percent of the outstanding liability. The first step was to review all claims and ensure they’re correctly reserved, and then move onto a plan for closure. He worked to make sure top management understood the business case for spending extra money to close a claim, if needed. He also recognized the human side of claim closure, especially for those who had legacy claims involving medical payments dating back to the 60s. In some cases, he went to people’s houses, bringing an annuity expert along, and explaining what settling the claim would mean.

Innovative ergonomic solutions

When Joe J. Mazza, director of risk management and the ADA coordinator at Mira Costa College, found that over a three year period there were nine claims, with an average cost of $19,446, for carpal tunnel syndrome, he knew he had to put a plan in place. He wanted a lasting change, but was working with a small budget ($20,000), so he trained to become an ergonomic evaluator. His hands-on approach enables him to see the whole picture and provide the best solution. And, if he found himself short on finances for a department, he would work with each department head to share the cost. From 2010 to today, the college reduced workers’ comp claims by 47.9%.

Working with adjusters

Tim Liberty, a senior claims consultant, Baldwin Krystyn Sherman Partners, tapped into his past experience as a senior claim specialist for Liberty Mutual to build positive working relationships with adjusters. He recognized that most people don’t like adjusters, but he understood their role and wanted to show them his appreciation. For example, he sent the chief claims officer of a major carrier an email complimenting the work of an adjuster who’d done an excellent job handing a claim and he routinely sends thank you notes to adjusters. Building strong relationships with carriers and adjusters, the company was able to ask for – and get – dedicated adjusters on certain accounts, and acceptance of special claims handling instructions in some cases.

National Safety Council Rising Stars

Raising incident prevention awareness

Lorenzo Drummond,Manager, EH&S, Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc., led the Incident Prevention Opportunity (IPO) program and exceeded the company goal for each employee to report one IPO by 329 percent. He established a monthly IPO Hero award, that recognized employees monthly for their individual contributions, along with a $25 gift card. Departments were also recognized quarterly for having the most IPOs reported and received a trophy and a meal.

Getting the family involved

Bassma Hegazy, Senior HSE Assistant, Egyptian Liquefied Natural Gas (ELNG), initiated the Children’s Safety Day. The employee’s children spend a day on-site and learn about safety in school, street, playground and kitchen. “The campaign had a tremendous impact on employees and their families; it worked on driving the employees to lead by example and their children to act as safety ambassadors.”

Lowering the Experience Mod

By identifying, analyzing, and targeting the key indicators and root causes of the injuries that were occurring, Travis Keeney, Director of Safety & Training, Tri-City Electric Co., implemented a program that lowered the EMR from 0.93 to 0.58. Key components were targeted training, revising and developing new task procedures, improving PPE, and teaching other managers not to just enforce safety but be coaches to those in the field as well.

Strengthening the safety audit

Awadh Fazal, HSE Manager, Coca-Cola Beverages Pakistan Ltd. initiated management safety audit training for all his peers and management staff, focusing on how to observe unsafe conditions/acts at sites during safety patrols and audits, how to record them, how to make contact with an employee, and how to maintain a strong follow-up until the observation is closed. A WhatsApp group was created for all employees, and it was mandatory for employees to share the status of observations of the group and also report unsafe conditions/acts.

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