A workers’ compensation employee advocate can build rapport with an injured worker, educating them on the entire process and building trust in an important relationship that aids both employer and employee. While this role alone can reflect positively on a company, it comes with an added bonus: the potential to reduce overall claim costs.
“Putting your employees first and providing that dedicated advocate may not seem like it could impact claims costs, but it can have a positive trickle-down effect,” said Erin Grzesiowski, Senior Client Services Representative at Safety National. “From getting the employee back to work quickly to lessening the number of employees obtaining attorneys, this advocate can prioritize the value of constant communication with your injured workers.”
There are three areas where your company may see a significant reduction in costs per claim.
1. Reduced Disability Payments
A workers’ compensation employee advocate can help reduce the number of disability payments in several ways, but the impact can be felt particularly in how soon an employee returns to work. An advocate can connect with the employee weekly or biweekly, ensuring their return to work as soon as they have a doctor’s release. They can also reach out to a doctor’s office for an updated work status if an employee has not recently reported it to a supervisor. Your advocate can work as a safety net, catching the workers that may have fallen through the cracks, and they continue the lines of communication.
Whether you bring the employee back to their place of work on restrictions or set them up with work at a nonprofit, an advocate can help facilitate a light-duty work program. Studies show that when an employee returns to work even in a light duty capacity, they will return to full duty or maximum medical improvement (MMI) faster than those who do not work during their light duty period, thus reducing your overall disability payments paid to them.
2. Lower Settlement Figures
Having an advocate for your injured workers often reduces the number of employees that will obtain an attorney for their claim. Sometimes, employees will still retain an attorney, but they could reach settlements quicker and sometimes for lower amounts through constant communication with the advocate. Attorneys may encourage their clients to disengage with the workers’ compensation employee advocate, but they may have already established a relationship of trust.
3. Lower Temporary Staffing or Overtime Costs
When an employee is out of work due to a workers’ compensation injury, it can seriously impact a company’s operations. Depending on the industry, one person missing could mean less production, fewer deliveries or less time to take care of clients. Companies have to find solutions for an employee’s absence, which could mean hiring a temporary staff member or overtime for current employees, adding additional costs. An advocate working with an injured employee can ensure they are brought back as soon as they are able, reducing the amount of temporary staffing and overtime wages that may need to be paid in their absence.