It may seem obvious that it should be the goal of employers to focus on accident prevention in the workplace. However, for those that need a little additional encouragement, here are some reasons to prioritize safety in the workplace.
Accidents are financially expensive
Businesses exist to create profit. Most businesses are relatively low profit margin and work very hard to create that profit margin. Workplace accidents lead to extra financial expenses. They can also add costs to insurance policies through increased rates or a worse experience modification factor.
For example, if a business operated at a ten percent profit margin (which is well ahead of many businesses), they would need $50,000 in additional revenue to offset $5,000 in extra expenses created by an on the job injury. That could lead to extra hours worked by ownership, having to cut positions or hours or other difficult budget decisions.
Reduced workplace morale
There are more than just financial costs due to workplace injuries. A lack of accident prevention can reduce morale of other employees. Sometimes the morale can be reduced as a result of having to work longer hours or harder to make up for injured employees that have to miss work. It may result from financial strain on the business due to the injury. It also may arise simply because employees don’t like to see their co-workers suffer.
It’s hard to argue against the importance of workplace safety. As a result, there have been recent trends by workers’ comp insurance carriers to help with accident prevention in the workplace. Carriers such as Missouri Employers Mutual, Utah Business Insurance Company and Guarantee Insurance Company offer extensive loss control services. Additionally, some carriers offered reduced cost items for workplace safety. These items include The Hartford’s Shoes for Crews incentive, incentives for a healthier workplace, weight loss programs as well as discounts on ergonomic office furniture. Missouri Employers Mutual just launched a safety grant program for their clients to help defray the costs of large one-time purchases to make workplaces safer.
Most employers want to protect their employers and focus on creating a safe workplace. Some of the reasons listed above highlight the benefit to focusing on preventing workplace accident for all employers.
Workers’ Comp Insurance is often thought of as a commodity product. There is some logic to that line of thinking. Pricing is determined by classifying employees and then taking the percentage rate assigned to that classification and multiplying it by estimated payroll. In some states such as Florida and Wisconsin, the workers’ comp rates assigned to those classifications are set by states, whereas in some states the rates by classification can vary from carrier to carrier. In competitive states, pricing is often thought to be the main differentiator between workers’ comp carriers. Most of the benefits paid from claims related to workers’ comp insurance are set by statutes, so carriers should be viewed pretty similarly in that regard as well.
Other than pricing, what can separate workers’ comp insurance carriers? Carrier rating is one factor that is considered. It relates to the financial strength of carriers. A higher carrier rating should lead to more certainty that claims will get paid, but it is highly unusual for claims not to get paid by any workers’ comp insurance carrier. Higher carrier ratings are sometimes required to meet insurance requirements of vendors or customers. A carrier’s customer service reputation can also be relevant. Additionally, payment plans can vary by carriers. Some carriers offer pay as you go. This allows premium to be paid in line with how busy a company is at a particular time. Furthermore, it generally reduces large audit balances.
Another differentiating factor is, are different programs offered by workers’ comp insurance carriers. Missouri Employers Mutual is one carrier who offers several programs to enhance employee safety. They often safety grants to policy holders. The grants will provide dollar for dollar matching funds up to $20,000 for successful applicants to purchase more permanent type safety devices. Some applicants may be able to get a grant larger than their policy premium. Missouri Employers Mutual also offers safety dividends to policy holders with lower loss ratios as a way to reward good safety practices. The Hartford is another carrier that offers numerous programs to differentiate its product. They offer programs to provide discounted slip resistant footwear to employees, programs that can lead to weight loss and overall a healthier employee pool and discounts related to vendors which can provide a more ergonomic friendly workplace. The Hartford also provides a broad form policy which includes things like more cancellation notices, pays benefits for more additional expenses, includes complimentary waivers when needed and provides longer notification periods for insureds related to certain mandatory notification events. Some carriers, such as Employers, offer price differentiators such as filing for a 5% rate deviation in Florida which allows them to offer worker’s comp rates which are 5% lower than other carriers in Florida which must use the rates set by the state.
Another area carriers can differentiate themselves is by superior loss control or claims management services. Utah Business Insurance (UBIC) is a carrier that offers superior loss control. Very knowledgeable field reps meet with prospects and insureds to provide insight on safe work places. These field reps are strongly versed in OSHA and other safety protocols. Both UBIC and Missouri Employers Mutual also diligently investigate claims as they arise.
While price is always an important consideration as it relates to workers’ comp insurance, there are numerous other factors worth considering when selecting a workers’ comp provider.