Get a handle on workers’ compensation costs

For the unprepared, workers’ compensation (WC) issues can be both confusing and costly. Fortunately for employers, there are ways to actively engage WC issues to influence their outcomes.

Through management controls and active involvement in the WC process, your organization can effectively influence related costs. To do so you will have to establish a number of your own processes that guide decision making throughout your organization.

Through management controls and active involvement in the WC process, your organization can effectively influence-related costs. To do so you will have to establish a number of your own processes that guide decision making throughout your organization.

Areas requiring WC management can be divided into three main categories. These categories include facets that may range from the simple to the complex, but as a whole, address vital issues that can negatively influence WC costs in your company.

Workplace Safety Means Fewer Claims

Simply put, reducing claims reduces costs. Establishing a safety-minded culture throughout every level of your company is essential to keeping workers injury-free. However, establishing such a culture isn’t an overnight solution. To be successful, an ongoing commitment to safety must be made. Such a commitment must be supported by management and given the necessary resources to succeed.

Developing comprehensive safety policies for employees builds a firm foundation for your safety culture to grow. Such policies also encourage OSHA compliance, further improving your safety efforts while helping you avoid costly fines.

Mitigate Loss after an Injury

Unfortunately, even with all the right programs in place, it is still possible for accidents to happen. When a workplace incident occurs, how you respond can greatly influence the outcome of the claim. Prompt claim reporting is essential to keeping costs down. It is also important to have a designated injury management coordinator, someone who can supervise open claims and work with both employees and medical personnel to facilitate the timely recovery.

The longer an employee is out of work the more expensive his or her claim will be. Return-to-work programs that allow injured employees to come back to work at a limited capacity during the recovery process are one of the most effective tools business owners have to reduce the severity of a claim.

Managing Your Mod

Insurers use what is known as an experience modification factor, or mod, to calculate the premiums you pay for workers’ compensation coverage. By managing your exposures and promoting safety it is possible to manage your mod and decrease your premium rates.

Like a good safety program, controlling your mod is an ongoing process. To reap the benefits of lower premiums you will have to keep in regular contact with your insurance provider to ensure they have the most accurate data to use in their calculations.

Talk to your The Unland Companies representative to learn how to better manage workers compensation costs.

 

Cyber Risks & Liabilities Newsletter

When a data breach or other cyber event occurs, the damages can be significant, often resulting in lawsuits, fines and serious financial losses. In order for organizations to truly protect themselves from cyber risks, corporate boards must play an active role and ask 5 main questions.

Learn about the 5 cyber risk questions every board should ask and how cyber insurance may benefit your organization.

 

Download the newsletter: Cyber Risks & Liabilities Newsletter

HR Toolkit

This toolkit explores successful recruiting techniques and suggests best practices for your organization. Included within are walk-through guides, potential interview questions, sample forms and much more. Download here: HR Toolkit

 

Worried about the Equifax breach?

 

You and/or your employees may be worried about the latest high-profile breach to hit the news. But remember, if you’re a Deluxe Provent® partner, you already have the protection tools needed: award-winning ID theft and fraud protection services.

 

Security incidents like Equifax’s recent data breach remind us that protecting sensitive information is more important than ever. Deluxe works with EZShield® to bring award-winning services* to help secure and monitor your employees’ personal and financial information. If employees are victimized by an identity theft crime or other breach event, our service works to restore their identity. This is a good time to remind your employees of Unland’s identity theft protection program you offer as part of your employee benefits package.

 

Of course, if you haven’t already signed up with Unland to provide Deluxe Provent services to the people at your business or organization, there is no time like the present. Identify theft and fraud protection services are occupying an ever more important space in the benefits world.

 

Learn how to navigate the breach

We’ve created a tool for you to share within your organization to help customers navigate this most recent breach and show them the value of identity protection.

 

Download tool

For additional information about your Provent program, email deluxefinancialservices@deluxe.com and type “Provent” in the subject line.

 

*2013, 2015, 2016 Best Overall Identity Protection Services Leader award by JAVELIN https://www.ezshield.com/javelin-awards/

 

Benefits Buzz: Senate Rejects ACA Repeal Efforts

In the early morning hours of July 28, 2017, members of the U.S. Senate voted 49-51 to reject a “skinny” version of a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), called the Health Care Freedom Act (HCFA).

This was the final vote of the Senate’s 20-hour debate period, and effectively ended the Republicans’ current efforts to repeal and replace the ACA. However, the skinny repeal bill may be reintroduced at some point in the future.

What did the HCFA propose?

Similar to the American Health Care Act and the Better Care Reconciliation Act, the HCFA would repeal the ACA’s individual and employer mandate penalties, effective Dec. 31, 2015. However, the employer mandate repeal would only be effective through 2024.

In addition, the ACA’s reporting requirements under Sections 6055 and 6056 would remain intact.

The HCFA would have also:

  • Extended the moratorium on the medical devices excise tax.
  • Increased the contribution limit for health savings accounts up to the maximum out-of-pocket limits allowed by law for high deductible health plans.
  • Amended the ACA’s existing Section 1332 State Innovation Waivers, added stricter requirements for the Department of Health and Human Services in approving waivers, and extended waivers to eight years (instead of five), with unlimited renewals.

What are the next steps for employers?

Because the Senate was unable to pass any ACA repeal or replacement bill, the ACA remains current law, and employers must continue to comply with all applicable ACA provisions.

Following the vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell indicated that Republicans now intend to focus on other legislative issues, although they remain committed to repealing the ACA.

Updated Form I-9 Required Beginning Sept. 18

On July 17, 2017, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, issued an updated version of Form I-9: Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9). Under federal law, every employer that recruits, refers for a fee or hires an individual for employment in the United States must complete a Form I-9.

The updated form replaces a version that was issued in 2016. Employers may continue using the 2016 form until Sept. 17, 2017. Exclusive use of the updated form is expected by Sept. 18, 2017. The new form expires on Aug. 31, 2019.

The updated Form I-9 includes revisions to the instructions and to the list of acceptable documents, but does not include substantive revisions for completing the Form I-9. Visit the USCIS website for more information regarding USCIS or the new Form I-9.

DID YOU KNOW?

On July 28, 2017, the Department of Treasury announced that it will be shutting down the my Retirement Account (myRA) program. The program was put in place by former President Barack Obama as a means to help those who did not have access to a retirement account at work to save for retirement.

Jovita Carranza, the United States Treasurer, explained that the program is being discontinued because it cost too much compared to the demand for the accounts.

For more information, please see the Department of Treasury’s myRA press release announcement.

 

 

 

Educating Employees on Voluntary Benefits

Offering voluntary benefits is a great way to enhance your benefits package, differentiate from competitors and increase employee satisfaction—all with little impact on your budget. But while employers may choose to offer numerous types of voluntary benefits that can deliver convenience and value for employees, many employees do not understand the advantages of these voluntary benefit options or are unclear how they work. Educate your employees on the advantages of these voluntary benefits so that you both reap the rewards.

Demonstrate the Value

When compared to employer-sponsored benefits, many employees may fail to see the value of voluntary benefits that they must personally finance. For example, one perk to voluntary benefits is that purchasing insurance through an employer group is often cheaper than buying individually, yet research shows that few employees are aware of this. When promoting your voluntary benefit options, discuss the benefits of having coverage, the risks of going without, and emphasize the convenience and value of purchasing through the company and paying through payroll deductions.

Coverage Education

It is important that employees fully understand their policy so that a misunderstanding does not lead to resentment toward the employer. For instance, if a consumer does not completely understand the nuances of property-casualty insurance and believes herself to be covered, it will come as a shock and possibly with misdirected frustration in the event of a major loss.

When offering any benefit option, employer-paid or voluntary, you should be sure your employees understand exactly how the coverage works. Here are a few ways to make sure your employees are sufficiently educated about their benefits:

  • Invite current employees to the monthly or quarterly benefits meetings provided for newly hired individuals.
  • Many voluntary benefits providers are willing to send a representative to discuss their coverage with employees.
  • While most benefits administrators don’t have time to meet individually with employees, consider scheduling small-group meetings with a few employees who have questions.
  • Enhance your existing benefits communication program with social media. Social media provides a convenient and effective way to reach out to your employees with educational information, tips and reminders.

Employer Advantage

In addition to boosting participation in your voluntary benefits programs, providing this meaningful education can position you as a valuable source of knowledge and strengthen employee satisfaction and loyalty to your company.

Talk to your The Unland Companies representative to learn more about available social media and employee benefit communication resources.