Essential coverage for a safe, productive workplace.
Workers’ compensation insurance to cover your company.
Workers’ compensation insurance covers employees injured on the job or in auto accidents while on business. It also covers work-related illnesses. We’ll work with you to find a solution that creates a safer, more productive workplace.
The state of Illinois requires businesses to purchase worker’s compensation insurance, regardless of the size of your business. Failure to supply this coverage to your employees could result in everything from fines to bankruptcy. Even worse, you could end up behind bars. But why is worker’s compensation insurance so important?
What is Illinois worker’s compensation insurance?
Worker’s compensation insurance is a unique form of coverage to help protect business owners if their employee is injured on the job. Worker’s comp provides certain benefits to injured employees and in exchange, those employees are not allowed to sue their employer for negligence.
Some industries- like construction and cannabis- carry more risk than others when it comes to employee injuries. However, every company can benefit from worker’s compensation insurance. In fact, many businesses see it as the best form of protection for their business.
What does worker’s compensation insurance cover?
Worker’s compensation insurance covers employees who get injured or sick on the job and provides death benefits to their families in the event of a fatal accident. These benefits include:
- Medical bill coverage
- Missed wage payments
- Funeral expenses
- Disability benefits
- Ongoing care costs like physical therapy
- Coverage for repetitive injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome
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Are you about to hire your next workers' compensation claim? In an effort to get a position filled quickly, you may take shortcuts that could cost you thousands of dollars.
Prospective employees should be required to complete a pre-hire physical. A copy of the intended job description can then be given to the medical provider with the physical requirements of the position. This helps to ensure only those capable of doing the job are hired and keeps other employees safe.
Oftentimes employees don’t understand the workers' compensation process and may be afraid to report a claim for fear of losing their job or impacting a daily count of injury-free days that are tied to an incentive program.
Educate employees on the workers' compensation system. During the hiring process, consider explaining how workers' compensation coverage protects your employee when an injury occurs. Your employees should understand that it is their responsibility to report an injury immediately and follow the company’s guidelines for seeking medical attention. Explain your return to work policy and have your employees sign an agreement stating they understand the process.
Your employee may become injured and you might be tempted to rely on someone else to communicate with them. As a result, your employee may be confused by the workers' compensation process and unsure where to turn.
You and your supervisors need to stay in constant communication with your employees. Your insurance broker can provide some coaching and guidance throughout the process. Above all, your employees should feel that you care about their injuries and that you will be involved in helping them recover. Your direct supervisors play a key role in this process and should be trained to effectively communicate with your employees throughout the injury.
When your employees become injured, they may need time to recover. As an employer, you may be tempted to rely solely on the workers' compensation insurance company and/or your employee’s medical provider to communicate throughout the process. If you do, the process can become unnecessarily prolonged.
As the employer, let your insurance company and your employee’s medical provider know that you have a return to work program in place. Ask the medical provider to refer to the job description that has been provided for the injured employee. As soon as the employee is medically cleared, offer a light duty position and ask them to report to work. If needed, your employee can continue to receive treatment while they continue to recover.
Statistically, your company’s Experience Modification Rate (EMR) has more than a 70% chance of being incorrect. Your EMR is a number used by insurance companies to gauge any past cost of injuries and future chances of risk. In addition, over 80% of payroll audits are done incorrectly. Both factors impact your workers' compensation coverage.
Trust your insurance advisor and have them assist and advocate during the annual payroll audit conducted by the insurance company. Your agent should also monitor all claims, but especially claims reserved over a $10,000 threshold. Larger claims should have a quarterly report prepared by your insurance agent to let you know the status of the claim. Your agent should work with your insurance company’s claims adjustor to close any claims as quickly as possible.
Claims can remain open longer than needed due to poor communication between you and your employee’s medical provider. As a result, you may be unaware that your employee is well enough to return to work on a modified basis.
Get to know the doctors that are helping your employee heal. Your insurance broker should foster this relationship by assisting you in the selection of the medical provider prior to a claim. Meet with the medical provider, interview them, tour their facilities, ask them to tour your location, and explain your return to work program. Job descriptions can be provided to the medical provider and an agreement of services can be achieved. Once a claim takes place, a clear line of communication should be established so you are kept aware of your employee’s status.
Sometimes employees are trained to do a job well, but are not trained to do their job safely. Many work-related injuries can be avoided by effective training.
Your insurance broker should be able to organize monthly training classes. Many insurance carriers offer training tools at no charge and your broker can help you utilize these tools to your advantage. For example, topics such as proper lifting techniques can be critical for many job functions. Also, using tools like payroll stuffers can be very effective.
Many employers are concerned about their next OSHA visit. Worried about citations and fines, employers see OSHA as the enemy. Sound familiar?
OSHA's On-site Consultation Program offers free and confidential safety and occupational health advice to small and medium-sized businesses in all states across the country, with priority given to high-hazard worksites. On-site Consultation services are separate from enforcement and do not result in penalties or citations. Consultants from state agencies or universities work with employers to identify workplace hazards, provide advice on compliance with OSHA standards, and assist in establishing injury and illness prevention programs.
There are a wide range of accidents that can lead to a worker’s compensation claim. However, some of the most common are:
- Sprains and strains
- Transportation incidents
- Exposure to harmful chemicals
- Machinery incidents
- Workplace violence
Your employees have rights to adequate compensation should any of these incidents occur and result in injury.
How do you pick the right worker’s compensation insurance policy?
Not all worker’s compensation policies are created equal, which is why it’s important to work with an experienced Illinois insurance agency to find the right policy for your business. Reliant Agency insurance agents have over 20 years of experience matching businesses with the right insurance policies.
If you would like to know more about worker’s comp insurance, give us a call today or request a quote.
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