Survey: Cost Control Edges Accident Prevention as Employers' Top Workers' Comp Concern

Survey: Cost Control Edges Accident Prevention as Employers’ Top Workers’ Comp Concern

New Zywave survey finds interesting disconnects related to workers’ comp and safety

Milwaukee, WI – May 8, 2013

Post-accident cost control is, by a slight margin over accident prevention, the number one workers’ compensation insurance concern of employers for the next 12 months, a new study by Zywave shows. A total of 53% of employers say they are very or somewhat concerned about post-accident cost control in 2013. Closely behind that, 50% of employers say they are very or somewhat concerned about risk control in the form of accident prevention. Employers also list increasing exposures, the change in the experience rating formula, and renewals as other top concerns.

“It’s interesting to me that employers are more concerned with post-accident cost control than accident prevention,” said Kory Wells, product director of data analytics at Zywave. “Of course the results reflect human nature, but in best practice, business owners focus on safety culture and accident prevention to avoid those post-accident costs in the first place.”

The 2013 Workers’ Compensation & Safety Survey was conducted first quarter 2013 by Milwaukee-based Zywave, a provider of software-as-a-service solutions for the insurance and financial services industries. Over 3,100 employers nationwide participated in the survey.

Over half of the companies surveyed – 52% – report a premium increase in the past year, whereas 48% reported an increase in 2012. A significant minority – 24% – report having a workers’ comp deductible. Among the companies surveyed, 60% report a payroll increase in the last year, while 19% report a decrease and 22% say their payroll did not change. Other survey results include:

-Respondents say the most effective measure they take to control workers’ comp costs is having a safety-minded culture (69%). In contrast, only 26% of respondents rank safety incentives as effective or highly effective.
-Other top cost control measures are, in order of popularity, a return to work or light-duty program, onsite accident evaluations, loss prevention evaluations, using a preferred occupational medicine facility, and having a dedicated claims manager.
-Despite their collective enthusiasm for safety culture, 34% of respondents say they do not have a written safety manual. Of those who do have a safety manual, 85% report it has been updated within the past 2 years.
-A total 42% of all respondents say they are very or somewhat concerned about this year’s change in the experience rating formula. However, of companies who report being experience rated, 85% – a slight improvement over last year’s 88% – either do not know the value of their loss-free rating or are not familiar with the term. “Not being educated about the mod [experience modification rating], including the minimum mod, is a huge liability for business owners – and an opportunity for their insurance brokers to provide that vital education,” said Wells. “Many employers assume the mod is simply a number they must live with, rather than understanding their ability to lower it and help lower premiums and costs.”
-Over a third of employers – 36% – report being very or somewhat concerned with workers’ compensation co-morbidity issues such as obesity and diabetes.
-Despite industry and media attention to the problem of prescription drug abuse in workers’ compensation, only 28% of employers report being very or somewhat concerned about this trend. This disconnect and other aspects of the survey are further explored on the WorkCompEdge blog.
Participants came from 20 business sectors, with heaviest representation from manufacturers (17%), health care and social assistance providers (16%), and construction (13%). Survey takers included human resource personnel (40%), finance staff (19%), office managers (15%), CEOs or presidents (11%), and other staff, including safety managers, risk managers and operations directors.

About Zywave
Zywave is the leading provider of software-as-a-service (SaaS) technology solutions for the insurance and financial services industries. The company’s products include Web-enabled marketing communications, business intelligence and analytics, agency automation, and needs-assessment and financial planning tools. More than 350,000 financial and insurance professionals, including 90 of the Top 100 U.S. insurance firms and dozens of the world’s largest financial institutions, use Zywave’s proven solutions to help them differentiate from the competition, enhance client services, improve efficiencies and achieve organic growth. To learn more, visit