Magazine article Risk Management

Cleaning Up the Comp Mess and RM's Image

Magazine article Risk Management

Cleaning Up the Comp Mess and RM's Image

Article excerpt

When it came to examining the workers' compensation industry, Susan Pardue did not mince words. "Workers' compensation is currently a mess," said Ms. Pardue, an attorney at the Charleston, South Carolina, law firm Nelson, Mullins, Riley & Scarborough.

Workers' compensation issues, both causes and cures, and the risk manager's awareness of career needs were key issues discussed during the recent 22nd Annual Southeastern Regional Conference sponsored by the Carolinas, Palmetto, Piedmont and Western Carolina chapters of RIMS.

Predicting no immediate end for the prolonged troubles facing workers' compensation programs, Ms. Pardue pegged escalating medical costs as key to the rise in workers' comp insurance premiums. Ms. Pardue suggested that a reason for these increasing figures was that "whenever the economic times get a little tough, people seem to get hurt a lot quicker. You can get hurt on the job and go home, drawing two-thirds of your wages. You can lose quite a bit of incentive going back to work unless you're taking a beating with the loss of one-third of your wages."

Contributing to the problems facing workers' comp are phony claims. Successfully fighting fraudulent claims can be achieved with video cameras, according to Steve Wall, director of national marketing for InPhoto Surveillance in Naperville, Illinois. Mr. Wall told conference attendees that some of his firm's best leads come when employees indulge in some good old-fashioned snitching on slacking colleagues.

"John, who's coming in and punching his ticket for nine hours, knows that Bill is out on a back claim," he said, painting a hypothetical situation. "However, last Saturday, he saw Bill carrying a cooler of beer. john doesn't feel good about that and he's going to come in and tell Bill's supervisor."

But if there are no company blabbermouths, how can a risk manager determine a fraudulent claim? "Take a look at the injury," Mr. Wall advised. "Does it coincide with a plant closing or the hunting season?" He added that an injured worker sporting a suntan or calloused hands has not been spending much time in the sickbed.

But before sending surveillance agents in pursuit of goof-offs, Mr. Wall warned risk managers to ask the surveillance firm for a copy of its professional liability coverage and a demonstration of its equipment.

Living Well

Despite the cases of fraudulent workers' comp claims, there are still a great many claims rooted in serious illness. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.