“In my 24 years of experience in the workers’ comp industry, I’ve heard time and time again about the paper chasing that can happen during the claims management process,” says Brad Brown, iReportSource cofounder and VP of Sales. Brad explained this idea when we sat down with him as a part of a two-part article series to talk about ways employers can improve their claims management processes.
The conversation with Brad started by looking at some of the pain points that come with the current, or traditional way, many employers are managing claims.
“What I continue to see is how HR tends to need more information and paperwork from safety—and vice versa when it comes to how claims management has been traditionally managed,” explains Brad. “This is one of the many frustrations that employers have in the workplace, but there is a solution to the problem, and there is a better way,” he says.
In our first blog, we’ll cover signs of an ineffective claims management process. In part two, we’ll look at what an effective claims management process can look like.
Signs of an Ineffective Claims Management Process
It helps to know where you’re at today in your claims management process before knowing how your process can be improved.
Besides frustration around the way information is shared and the amount of time spent on paper-chasing, there are many other signs and symptoms of an ineffective claims management process.
Here are 6 signs your claims management process is outdated and is likely costing you time and money:
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1. Major lag time.
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Your ability to handle claims in a timely manner tells you a lot about the effectiveness of your process. Lag time after an incident occurs is a negative sign, and so is a process that simply isn’t as streamlined and timely as it should be.
Time is critical and time will cost you money, so you need to be prompt and timely, every step of the way, but especially right after an incident happens.
2. Lack of accountability in the process.
With little visibility as to what’s happening in the process, it’s no wonder there can seem to be little accountability or “ownership” in the process.
3. Lack of communication between parties.
Traditionally, it can be arduous to get and keep all required and necessary paperwork, and have that accessible to all stakeholders that need to be involved in claims management. With any type of incident—from workers’ comp claims to general liability claims—many stakeholders can be involved, and if communication isn’t happening, the process will be challenging.
4. No effective collaboration.
Similar to communication, often times parties need to work together, but paper-based processes tend to encourage a silo mentality when it comes to handling claims. Again, if you feel like you’re “chasing paper” and enduring endless e-mails to get the information you need, there’s a better way.
5. A lack of a standardized approach.
Do you have a predictable process employees can follow? In general, the more consistent the series of steps can be, the more successful you will be in handling the claim, regardless of whether the claim ultimately is determined to be appropriate or not.
6. Too much time spent in spreadsheets, with not enough actionable data to help you.
“The problem I see many employers make is using pivot tables and excel to track all of this. If your company is capturing information in a digital and dynamic form that works with the data, then you can run various reports to see where the company needs improvement,” explains Brad.
“For example, if you want to look at the injury trend in Location A compared to Location B, you can see the pattern and thus further training may be needed at the facility with more claims, he says.
“Also with a real-time, digitized system like iReportSource you can get very granular and run reports on, for example, back strains, and then the safety professionals can concentrate on safety training involving lifting. I have observed that with an SMS, a safety professional can spend more time with the people, rather than time spent slicing and dicing excel spreadsheets. In turn, that helps to make the workplace safer.”
The Traditional Claims Management Process is Costly
The list is long, but the negative impact inefficient or paper-based claims management can have isn’t just wasted time or frustration for those involved. “The indirect and direct costs to an employer can be substantial,” says Brad.
That’s why one employer may have a case with direct costs of $5,000, and another employer, with the same scenario, may have direct costs twice that high—and even more in indirect costs.
The difference in how much one company will pay compared with another: the claims management process used by each company.
Recognizing how important managing workers’ compensation claims is for every organization, come back for part two in the series with Brad to learn about the key components of a modern, effective way to manage claims.
How Are You Managing Claims Today?
Does it seem like you’re sometimes chasing down too many e-mails and paperwork on incidents and claims? Or maybe you recognize how you are paying too much for a poorly managed claim? Or maybe you find it difficult to support all your documents that you need to send to insurance and corporate…
If any of this resonates with you, there’s a better way to manage claims that’s consistent, standardized, and it also saves you time and money.