Mix Wellness with Risk Management to Cut Workers’ Comp Claims

By SHRM Online staff Dec 3, 2013
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Employers are increasingly relying on worksite wellness programs to reduce the costs of health care claims. The benefits of creating a healthier workforce are well-known, but a new report explains how wellness programs can also reduce a company’s workers’ compensation claims, especially when wellness and risk-management efforts are combined.

Wellness Programs: The Positive Impact on Workers’ Compensation Claims examines the role that health-risk (or "co-morbid") factors such as obesity play in workers’ compensation claims—and the steps that companies can take to reduce claims costs by improving employees’ health.

“Effective corporate wellness initiatives have shown to be successful in not only reducing the duration of lost-time workers’ compensation claims, but also in promoting healthy behaviors that potentially inhibit unsafe or inattentive workplace behavior," wrote the report's author, Michal Gnatek, vice president at Lockton Cos., an insurance brokerage and benefits consultancy. "Risk managers and claims professionals should be adding employee wellness to the available arsenal of weapons to combat increasing claims.”

Among the report's recommendations:

  • Determine how your insurer or third-party administrator is capturing data on co-morbid health factors in workers’ compensation claim files and how that information can be incorporated into effective analytics.
  • Collaborate with internal safety, health and environment professionals to discover how best to integrate employee wellness with workplace safety.​

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