February '18

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184 • RV PRO • February 2018 rv-pro.com B U S I N E S S W hen workplace accidents occur, it's critically important to help the injured employees recover and return to their jobs as quickly as possible. Workers compen- sation insurance plays an essential role in this process by paying for medical treatment and protecting employers from civil lawsuits. What's good for employee health, though, can be bad for the bottom line. Experience too many workplace accidents, or fail to identify and deal adequately with fraud, and escalating premiums will take big chunks out of a company's profits. "Workers compensation costs, if not managed well, can put a company out of business," warns Jeffrey M. Adelson, general counsel and managing partner of the National Practice Group, Adelson, Testan, Brundo, Novell & Jimenez in Santa Ana, Calif. Capping Costs When premiums get too high, it's nat- ural to consider dropping coverage alto- gether. Unfortunately, that's not an option. "Employers who do not carry workers compensation insurance are breaking the law," says James J. Moore, president of J&L Risk Management Consultants in Raleigh, N.C. "They are also flirting with bankruptcy, which may well be the only way out if they are hit with a big civil lawsuit. To go bare and hope something doesn't happen is to chase fool's gold." The good news is that employers have been taking steps to bring expenses under control. "Workplace safety has been improving and injuries have been declining in many states in recent years," says Peter M. Burton, senior division executive for state relations at the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) in Wayne, Pa. There's also been a moderation in medical costs, thanks largely to the use of more economical outpatient treatment. The net result has been downward pressure on insurance bills. "The general trend in workers' com- pensation premiums seems to be static or slightly lower," says Randy Sieberg, president of Workers Compensation Consultants, based in Columbia, Mo. There's one more reason for rate sta- bilization: Workforce participation. "As the economy has picked up in the past few years, more people have entered the workforce," says Daniel C. Free, president and general counsel of Insurance Audit & Inspection in India- napolis. "That creates a larger labor pool, which has helped stabilize costs." Control Risk Of course, conditions vary by state and employer. How can companies control their own workers' compensation bills? Employers can cap costly premiums by training employees in safe work habits, staying alert to fraud and shopping for the best insurance carriers. By Phillip M. Perry Navigating Workers'

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