Tag Archives: work comp

How Heathcare Reform Will Affect Workers Comp

There has been much speculation about the changing face of health care in the United States since the Affordable Care Act was passed by the Obama Administration in 2010. Divided opinions on the provisions of ‘Obamacare’ have been well-represented by the rife inconsistency across the nation with regards health care exchanges, with some states opting for state-based exchange system, while other states have opted for federal-based initiatives.doctor, clipboard, stethescope

As the October 1 deadline draws nearer, much of the attention has focused on the requirement for all US citizens to carry health insurance coverage and the bearing that will have on employers. The reformed regulations are also expected to affect workers’ compensation insurance but the extent, nature and desirability of this impact remains markedly unclear. In the meantime, here are some changes in Workers’ Compensation we are sure to see.

Fewer claims

Each year, millions of workers’ compensation claims are filed, costing employers billions. However, not all of these claims are due to work-related injuries. In some cases, employees without adequate insurance coverage would opt to use their workers’ compensation coverage to cover treatment for various conditions that may be pre-existing. Under the Affordable Care Act, a large contingent of previously uninsured workers will have the right to health insurance coverage of some form or another, thus reducing the need for workers’ compensation claims.

The increase in insured employees will also lead to a preventative approach, from both employers and the workforce, all aiming to develop a healthier workplace and lower the number of filed insurance claims. For Businesses, taking a preventative approach by introducing initiatives such as wellness programs should be regarded as something they do FOR employees and not TO them. At the end of the day, a healthier workforce means health insurance claims are less likely, while taking an interest in the well-being of the workforce can also help harness working relationships and ultimately lead to better results.

Better Care

The Affordable Care Act legislates for an increased number of insured US citizens and in light of this increase, the number of practitioners and physicians is set to also increase, particularly in rural areas. While there have been suggestions of how the actual care will be affected by a much higher proportion of patients, the long-term ideals of the ACA include increased facilities and medical professionals, which will ultimately result in better care in some areas that may have lacked facilities in the past.

The provisions of the ACA also dictate the introduction of Electronic medical records allowing Physicians to diagnose and treat workers’ compensation claims more efficiently and accurately. This emphasis on the holistic treatment of chronic care could ultimately help claimants to return to work quicker, thus benefitting Businesses. An electronic database could also help reduce the likelihood of medical errors and subsequently increase the quality and efficiency of care.

While speculation over how the ACA will affect workers’ compensation coverage continues, it is important for Businesses to understand that there will be changes. Understanding mandate deadlines and the provisions of the act itself is one thing, but understanding the actual effects of Health Care Reform is another, which will involve time, effort and commitment from employers.

If you’re looking to review your Employee Benefits program ahead of January 1, why not ask one of our experts for their advice.

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3 Reasons Employee Vigilance is Vital in Your Risk Management Strategy

Most of us have an unconscious list of risks that we expect to meet in our workplace every day. If pressed, most of us could list the obvious risk management measures that are in place in our workplaces. We can see the handrails and warning signs to prevent slip/fall accidents and we know all about the ergonomic importance of good posture.

But there are some workplace injuries we don’t automatically see a solution for, and some that we don’t even consider when we assess our day-to-day risks. Some of the top 10 workplace accidents occur outside that subconscious list of daily dangers.

The irony is, they are on the list of common accidents, specifically because they fall outside that list. These are accidents that have one unified risk management solution; be vigilant. While a comprehensive risk management strategy means finding solutions, these accidents demonstrate the role employees must play in their own safety.

Falling Objects

While your risk management strategy will include provisions for the proper storage of heavy objects and the provision of safety gear. That said, it is inevitable that objects will be dropped, as you can never 100% guarantee safe carriage of any item. Once that happens there is a risk of injury and the difference between an injury and simple damage to the object will be the reaction of your employee. If they react quickly to move or catch the object (depending on size) they will avoid injury.

Reaction Injuries

Even then, it may not be enough simply to react, your employee must react appropriately. Reaction injuries like muscle damage or body trauma can occur when an employee tries to avoid another injury. Grabbing a rail may prevent a fall but sprain a wrist or dodging a falling object may mean running straight into a door.

Walking Into Injuries

Not that employees need to be dodging a hazard to walk into things. Completing this list of unlikely risks that cause common accidents, the ‘walking into’ injuries are more common in the workplace than vehicle accidents, machine entanglements and repetitive stress injuries. When you aren’t looking where you are going, everything becomes a hazard.

Each of these examples, taken from the list of the top ten most common workplace injuries, require well-trained and risk-aware employees. When you set your risk management strategy, it’s vital that you important that you include every single risk. And teach your employees to react appropriately to every hazard. Especially the risks they’d least expect.

For more information on risk management, or a free risk assessment, you can ask one of our insurance experts for free. 

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6 Vital Ingredients For Your Restaurant Insurance Plan

Espresso

Insurance is necessary for the protection of any business, especially restaurants. Restaurants, due to the number of hazardous situations that can occur to the business or a customer, require multiple types of insurance. Here are the top six types of insurance you need for your restaurant

1. Property Insurance 

Property insurance is important in protecting your restaurant in many instances of damage to physical property or vandalism. Many insurers only cover certain types of damage, so pay close attention when choosing your insurance. Insurers may offer different insurance plans when it comes to natural disasters such as storms and floods.

2. Loss of Business Insurance 

The restaurant business can be very unpredictable, so having loss of business insurance can cover many of the finances lost in the event your restaurant should have to shut down. Loss of business insurance, however, can be costly. Depending on the severity of the loss of finances, you may find yourself breaking even.

3. Food Contamination Insurance 

Food contamination insurance is important for you to have in the event that there is a power outage due to electrical errors or a storm. This insurance will cover the cost of the spoiled foods in the refrigerators and freezers.

4. Workers Compensation Insurance 

Most states require that a restaurant carry some type of workers compensation plan. As an employee in a restaurant you may be exposed to potentially hazardous situations, such as close proximity to fire and chemicals. In the event that a worker incurs a work-related injury, workers compensation insurance will be able to protect your business.

5. General Liability 

General liability covers the large majority if situations where a customer would want to sue the restaurant. There are several scenarios where a customer could fall into harms way, it is important to be prepared.

6. Liquor Liability 

If your restaurant has a liquor license you should have liquor liability to protect your business in the event that a customer consumes too much alcohol and injures himself or others.

Have we answered your insurance question? If not, head over to our website or ask an expert! 

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Restaurant Workplace Accidents Are COSTLY!

We all know that safety is important, but are you aware just how costly a workplace injury can be? According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the average eye injury costs $1,463. It may not seem like much money, but the extra expense to pay for injuries has a powerfully negative effect to our restaurant’s bottom line.

Why is profitability also an important issue to you? The only way that  can stay in business is to operate at a profit, and that ability can be threatened by a serious workplace injury.

The Real Cost of Workplace Injuries

It may be surprising to hear that most companies do not have a high profit margin—3 percent is about average. Expenses take a large chunk of the income, and competition limits how much we charge our patrons.

Each time an accident occurs, the cost of the injury must be subtracted from profits. Consider the following two examples:

  • At a 5 percent profit margin, an extra $20,000 in sales is needed to compensate for a $1,000 injury.
  • If the profit margin is nearer to 1 percent, an additional $100,000 worth of new income is necessary to maintain that profit level for the same injury.

As you can see, that adds up to a lot of extra income just to compensate for a single injury. And we all know that we can’t just find more customers because we need the extra income. Thus, every time a worker gets hurt on the job, other employees are affected, too. The company may be forced to make difficult budget decisions such as cutting hours or jobs, plus some employees will need to work extra hours to make up for the injured employee’s lost time.

Also, recovering from an injury can mean time away from work, reduced compensation, painful rehabilitation and frustrating adjustments to daily life.

Practice Prevention

Though operating at a profit is essential to our success, our top priority is to keep our employees safe and healthy. That’s why we are counting on you to help practice good safety principles, including following all safety procedures, even if they seem unnecessary or slow you down. Safe work behavior will contribute directly to our bottom line as well as to everyone’s job security. By observing safety precautions, we can limit accidents.

It is always wiser to spend a bit more time doing the job safely than to risk getting a serious injury. Be sure to always follow all safety guidelines and stay alert for unsafe conditions

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