How to create a return to work program that is a win-win

A return to work program is part of a businesses over all risk management plan.


If done well a return to work program can benefit both the employer and employees.

Returning to work can be a hassle for employees to navigate.  Anything an employer can do to make the process easier for their employees will benefit the employee as well as the company in the long term.  That process should start before the injury occurs by putting an emphasis on safety in order to prevent the injury from occurring in the first place.  Unfortunately, if you are in business long enough an injury to one of your employees will inevitably occur.  When it does, helping your employee get the medical care they need and helping them get back on the job promptly can be crucial to the success of your business.  Here are 4 ways an effective return to work program can help your business succeed.


Put your return to work policy down in writing:  Why putting this program in writing is that the process of putting this policy in writing can help you determine what are the issues that employees actually face when they are dealing with injuries and how to best help them through this process.  You should have some key employees from all levels of your business be a part of this process. Maybe even include someone who recently had an injury at work. These in-sites may help you determine some risks your business faces that you may be able to prevent future injuries.

Develop a process for Communication throughout the process:  Once you have a return-to-work program in place you need to ensure all of your managers read and understand the policy clearly and concisely.  It may be effective to have one person be the point person for the program, but it is equally important to have them train all the other managers and upper level employees about the program.  This is important you do not want to be left in a bind if that person is on vacation when an injury occurs or if that employee leaves the organization altogether.  Make sure your employees understand how this program impacts the bottom line.  Helping them communicate this program down through the ranks via meetings, email and your intranet.

Start the plan immediately upon injury/illness:  The moment an injury occurs the return to work program needs to be implemented.  This should be outlined clearly in the program.  Documenting everything is crucial to protect the business and to ensure the employee gets the proper medical attention and wage reimbursement through your workers’ compensation insurance policy. The quicker you implement this program it will instill confidence in the injured employee that you care about their well-being and will contribute to them wanting to get back to work more quickly.

Close your claims quickly:  Once your employee is recovered and back on the job, it is important to close the workers’ compensation claim quickly.  Carriers will leave the claim open for a while after the employee returning to work. They do this to make sure the employee does not reinjure themselves upon returning to work and needing additional benefits.  Remember that the underwriter may leave this claim open and it can cause your loss cost ratio to be much higher than it actually is.  If you are renewing your policy this can negatively impact what you pay for premium.  For this reason it is important to periodically check in to make sure the claim is closed as soon as it possibly can.


Risk Management & Insurance

5 Reasons to Major in Risk Management & Insurance


Insurance companies are hiring

One of the main reasons people go to college is to become more employable.  If gainful employment is your goal, than the insurance industry is definitely a good place for you to start to look for a job post graduation.  This is because, the industry is predicted to grow for the next few decades.  More insurance is needed by people than ever before. That goes for both the business and personal side of the industry.  According to the Small Business Administration, there are more than 28 million small businesses in america that make up for more than 55% of all jobs in the country.  All of these businesses need continually need well educated employees to service these businesses.

The workforce in the insurance industry is aging.  

According to Insurance Business Magazine, the average age of an insurance agent is now 59 years of old.  According to the Insurance Journal, “The average age of an insurance industry professional is 54, and 60 percent of insurance industry professionals are older than 45.”  Because of this fact, there will be thousands of retiring professionals who need to be replaced in the next 10 years. This means two good things for graduates looking to get their foot in the door in the insurance industry; there are a lot of potential mentors with a wealth of knowledge and experience in this industry and there will be a lot of room for upward mobility because of the sheer fact that so many people will be retiring in the near future.

Millennials are becoming a target market

Millennials are now a larger portion of the population than baby boomers. Also, they are are now getting to the age where they are buying homes, searching for their own health insurance and even starting their own businesses.  Because they represent such a large new market for the industry, insurance companies need people who can relate to this new market on their terms.  Millennials shop for insurance in a dramatically different way than their parents did.  The insurance industry as a whole has not exactly kept up with technology.  Most insurance companies need employees to help them communicate with these new potential customers and they need to be able to reach these customers where those customers are. More and more often that place is online and through a mobile device.  The older generation, who is now in control of the insurance industry, is not exactly technologically advanced. The better a millennial can help agencies and carriers reach this new demographic on their terms, the better those people can set themselves up for continued success in the insurance industry.

The chance to develop Transferable Skills

Interpersonal communication, critical thinking and computer knowledge are skills that are essential for success in the insurance industry. These are also skills that can be transferred to many different industries. No matter what industry a recent grad desires to be in, in the future, these three skills are crucial to their future success.

Interacting with a 40-year-old business owner in 2016 is much different than in 1996. In 1996, cold-calling and in-person meetings were the typical ways to conduct business.  Now a majority of all business is done via email.  Some business is even conducted thru social media. If you have a knack for these platforms you can position yourself as an asset to your company.  Because of the age of so many within the industry these new skills will only become more valuable as technology advances.

People will always have to purchase insurance in some form or fashion

No matter what the future holds for business in the United States, insurance will continue to be a part of the economy.  More people now need insurance than ever before.  Whether it is health, car, home, auto or small business coverage; there will always be numerous markets for insurance throughout the United States.  That means jobs will always be there for those that are willing to train hard and keep their nose to the grind.