Magazine article Risk Management

Working Together. (Return to Work)

Magazine article Risk Management

Working Together. (Return to Work)

Article excerpt

In the division of disability benefits administration, workers' compensation claims are handled by a risk management team that answers to the company's finance department, and long term and short term disability claims are handled by a benefits team attached to the company's human resources division.

But injuries are injuries; workers' compensation and disability management do not differ in their goals. No matter where an injury is sustained, both aim to: ensure that employees receive accurate and timely payments; work with employees and their physicians to ensure appropriate, quality medical care; assist employees in returning to work as soon as medically appropriate; and provide employees access to medical resources.

Many employers are realizing the inefficiencies of the traditional administration through two different teams. Two sets of records and procedures make it twice as complicated to manage employees' absences (and maximize productivity) and even harder to control direct and indirect disability costs. This division forces employees to work through multiple departments and often means longer periods of time away from work.

These inefficiencies are heightened by a new influx of repetitive strain disorder (RSD) cases. Traditionally, RSD had been a workers' compensation issue handled by risk managers. But statistics from New York-based MetLife show that between 1995 and 2000 the proportion of nonoccupational--and thus HR-handled--short term disability claims submitted for RSD doubled. Employees are now reporting more injuries that occur offsite, increasing the burden on HR staffs and diminishing any opportunity to leverage the experience gained by risk managers in this area.

The Internet is another development exerting pressure on the old ways of business. Although insurance companies are behind other sectors when it comes to e-commerce, benefits administration is one of the most fruitful areas for Internet penetration. It is only a matter of time before employees and vendors understand the opportunities for better service introduced by the convenience and anytime access afforded by the Internet. Employees will demand one-click service. They will want to get the information they need at one location. They will want to be able to file claims in a single, simple process. They will want to choose their doctor from a single integrated list and schedule an appointment on the computer. The Internet will allow them to do this, and the absence management partners need to respond to make the process happen. …

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

Oops!

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.