How Can I Reduce My Workers’ Compensation Premiums?

Every restaurant owner wants to find ways to save money and stretch their budget further. Spending money on insurance isn’t something many owners enjoy. But how can you lower your costs for something you need to have? Here are six tips to reduce your workers’ compensation premiums.

Manage Your Risks – Most small companies do not believe they can afford to hire a risk manager. Nevertheless, someone in the company should have a continuing responsibility for loss control and the management of workers’ comp claims. This involves a variety of programs to keep workers safe, the medical management of claims and early return to work for any injured workers.

In some states insurers must provide accident prevention services to employers. Even if not required to do so by law, the majority of workers’ comp insurers can help you improve safety.

In some states, employers are required by law to set up safety committees and other programs to deal with unsafe conditions in the workplace. Even when not required by law, safety committees can be very effective at reducing accidents. For example, after UPS set up worker safety committees at each of its locations to identify the most frequent workplace accidents and took measures to reduce them, injuries that caused workers to take time off from work decreased by 59 percent.

You may also be legally required to have a written injury and illness prevention program. Again, even if not legally required to do so, having and following a written program can help reduce accidents.

Take Advantage of Savings Available in Your State – Several states allow merit rating credits. Smaller businesses that typically pay $5,000 in premiums or less may be entitled to a credit of 5 to 15 percent if they have not had any lost-work-time claims during a designated period. In some states there are premium credits for drug- and alcohol-free workplace programs and safety programs. Some insurers may give you a discount if you hire a professional risk management firm to help you with your safety program.

Be Sure Your Premium Is Figured Correctly – Make sure you have been placed in the right industry category. Check that the insurer’s payroll computation adjusts for overtime pay and allocates the payroll of different employees correctly.

Raise Your Deductibles – A majority of states provide for optional medical deductibles in workers’ comp insurance policies as a cost saving measure. Deductibles tend to encourage greater safety consciousness on the part of the employer who must pay the deductible amount.

Try to Avoid Assigned Risk – Cutting down on your claims is the best way to stay out of the state’s assigned risk plan, or insurer of last resort, which usually costs more. You may have been put into assigned risk without knowing it. Ask your agent to check on your status.

If you have been put in assigned risk, find out from your state workers comp agency if rates are higher. If they are, make a concerted effort to get other insurance. Just because one agent is unable to find something better for you doesn’t necessarily mean that it doesn’t exist. Talk with other agents, investigate group self insurance programs that may be available in your state and talk with other people in your industry and owners of other businesses of similar size and age and with a similar risk level.

Coordinate Disability Programs – This option isn’t available everywhere, but in some states businesses are trying to bring costs under control through the coordination of workers’ compensation, health care and disability benefit plans. The integration of workers compensation and other employee benefit programs is a broad concept that ranges from a simple marketing approach that promises savings from using the same insurer for both coverages to programs that offer a managed care approach to the management of all types of disability, regardless of whether they are work-related.

Besides limiting overlapping programs and streamlining administration, proponents say the change to a broad approach addresses the increasing difficulty of distinguishing between work- and non-work-related injuries and illnesses, such as injuries due to repetitive motion and mental stress claims. It improves productivity, since non-work-related disabilities are managed with the same focus of getting the employees back to work as work-related cases.

Our team at Besnard Advisors has experience working with over 4,100 restaurants across the nation and can help you find ways to decrease your workers’ compensation costs.

Reduce costs. Reduce claims. Talk to our advisors today.