Utilizing Claims Data to Control Workers’ Comp Costs

NU Online News Service, April 12, 10:40 a.m. EDT

Risk managers seeking to control the cost of workers’ compensation coverage can find an effective weapon by utilizing claims data and performing analyses that will help them deal with the most expensive claims.

In another of its ongoing discussions about risk, Marsh, the insurance-brokerage arm for Marsh & McLennan Companies, presented a webinar  titled “Controlling Workers’ Compensation Claims Costs.”

Scott Robinson, principal of CS STARS, a provider of proprietary risk-management-technology tools, notes that when executives begin to pull apart the mounds of data available to them from current claims, they can identify cases that produce the most expense.

“It is the 80/20 rule: 20 percent of your claims are producing 80 percent of your cost,” says Robinson.

By utilizing analytics, Robinson says risk managers can flag down the high-cost claims in advance, put programs in place to deal with these injuries, and save millions of dollars in the process.

Joyce Long, global workforce practice leader for Marsh Risk Consulting, a unit of Marsh, says an effective way to control costs is through an integrated approach that sets goals to reduce workers’ injuries and identifies the hazards that can cause injuries.

She describes a program where management is taking the initiative and finding ways to avoid injuries and make improvements where they need to be made before an accident takes place.

One example she gave dealt with ergonomics and musculoskeletal injuries. She says research can identify where those injuries take place and develop “effective intervention” plans aimed at avoiding the injury before a complaint arises.

As pressures on insurers mount, with the combination of rising combined ratios and a soft market that stifles premium-rate increases, Tracy Caffrey Ant, primary casualty placement leader, Marsh, says risk managers need to consider alternative-risk transfer-programs to hold down costs.

She says risk managers need to consider more than their premiums, but also captives and deductibles in an effort to control their cost of risk.

“The integrated approach makes sense to everyone,” says David Abbene, claims consulting practice leader, Marsh Risk Consulting. “Data is key,” he says, adding that risk managers need to “find those metrics across their organizations that tie you together.”

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