TeksMed Spring Cleaning – Experience Rating Edition!
Our beloved patio season is here! This means pitchers and pints and projects! Oh my, projects?
Spring is typically prime-project-time for many industries and individuals. A great and popular way to welcome the heat is with a little spring cleaning to prepare both our homes and businesses for the season ahead – and maybe in the process of sorting through it all, we find something of value that we didn’t know we had. While most of us associate spring cleaning with getting rid of “junk”, there are other things we can unload to lighten our burden – this includes high WSIB/WCB claim costs that sit and fester on our account statements year after year.
Companies that experience high costs as a result of workplace injuries may be able to alter this trend with a few operational changes that support workers through their recovery and helps them return to work safely and more quickly; second only to hazard and incident prevention, this approach is guaranteed to significantly reduce future costs. However, if your company has a history of poor performance, it may take a few years for you to realize a financial return on your efforts. While you wait, you do have a few options: mark the calendar each day to commemorate the gradual aging of the ‘bad years’ slowly slipping out of your experience rating window; option 2 is, consider that your business may be eligible for cost relief from prior claim years.
How cost relief works?
Workers’ compensation boards collect premiums which are used to pay benefits to injured workers. A portion of your annual premium is set aside and placed in a ‘cost relief’ or ‘second injury’ fund.
If an employee sustained a back injury as a result of a car accident six months ago and then aggravates that injury by doing a simple task on the job, is it really fair that the employer bear the full brunt of this expense? We don’t think so, and your workers’ compensation board doesn’t think so either. The fund is in place to protect workers from being discriminated against for any existing or underlying conditions they may have, while simultaneously protecting employers from the full financial responsibility of aggravated injuries or prolonged healing times due to workers’ underlying conditions.
In cases such as this, the employer can apply for cost relief from the board. Following a thorough review, if the request is accepted, the board will absorb a percentage of the cost while the employee continues to receive full benefits. The board will determine what the severity of the workplace incident was and compare it to the severity of the pre-existing or underlying condition. In the case outlined above, they might decide to pay 90% of the cost of benefits, while leaving only 10% for the employer to pay. Costs already applied to your account, would be removed.
How can my business obtain cost relief?
You must make a formal application to the board in order to prompt a review that will determine whether or not your business is eligible for cost relief under the policy for a specific claim. If your request is denied, you may have an opportunity to appeal the decision. The appeal process can be lengthy, often requiring time, patience and persistence; a little expertise here goes a long way.
What is the cost of this process?
WSIB/WCB related matters are typically dealt with by Human Resources or Health and Safety personnel within an organization. These are key roles that focus on policy and prevention, with the principal goal of ensuring the strength and wellbeing of your workforce. Few business have the time and resources internally for such an undertaking; in this case, spending hours and days reviewing claim files may take the focus away from other critical areas of your operation – a little something called opportunity cost.
Assigning a third party to assist you with this process is often a good idea.
TeksMed clients receive this service for free – it’s part of how we help you achieve a high return on investment in your partnership with us.
Are you ready to see what your business might be eligible for? Get in touch with us today and let the spring cleaning begin!