For years, small businesses have purchased workers' compensation insurance, but few have actually implemented risk management strategies to keep costs down. One reason is that small businesses don't have the expertise in this area or the time to devote to it. Another is that insurance companies are often not equipped to deliver these types of services to micro businesses.

Professional employer organizations (PEOs) have long recognized the importance of workplace health and safety, and risk management has always been a central component of the total human resources solution PEOs provide to small business clients.

Seven years ago, under the guidance of the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations (NAPEO), a set of voluntary risk management professional performance practices was created and put in place through two important performance validation programs — the PEO Accreditation Program, established in 1995, and the PEO Workers' Compensation Risk Management Program, established in 2002. These programs are the respective responsibility of two independent, nonprofit organizations, the Employer Services Assurance Corporation and the Certification Institute (CI).

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