By Will Temby
The headlines are filled with them: Stories about workers’ compensation fraud and the millions of dollars that businesses and insurers are forced to spend in fighting “workers’ comp predators.”
Just recently, there was the case of an Illinois woman who created fake work-related injuries and filed fraudulent claims for workers’ compensation benefits at three different employers.
Then there was the case of another woman charged by the authorities for falsely claiming she injured her lower back, hips, right leg and right foot while working as a county medic.
In another case, a man receiving workers’ compensation benefits was sentenced to one year in jail and ordered to pay more than $12,500 in restitution after video surveillance caught him doing roofing work.
Without a doubt, workplace injuries can be serious and the workers’ compensation system, when used properly, can help people get back on their feet.
There are ways to reduce workers’ comp claims but one often overlooked by employers is in identifying high-risk applicants.
So, how can you keep claims down and what can you do to protect your business?
Well, for starters, here’s what Apprentice Personnel can do to help:
We can, at your request, perform a pre-employment background check. Apprentice Personnel uses S2 Verify for background screenings, which include a criminal-record check system that retrieves courthouse data instantly. These checks are designed with our customers in mind to simplify their job and the hiring process. The cost of performing background checks is more than worthwhile if it helps avoid just one workers’ compensation claim.
Here’s what else your business can do:
Build partnerships with employees. Create a safety program. Listen to employee complaints. Correct safety problems now. Show you care about good working conditions.
Zero tolerance. Inform employees that your company has zero tolerance for fraud. Scams cheat their company — and threaten their jobs.
Report accidents. Require workers to report all job accidents immediately — and get them treatment promptly.
Report fraud. Show workers how to report suspected fraud confidentially. Prominently place your insurer’s fraud hotline number around the workplace, but don’t go overboard. Honest workers may find it offensive if all workers’ comp claims are treated with suspicion.
Alert your insurer. Let your insurance company know about suspicious claims immediately. Encourage active investigation of suspect claims.
Provide procedures. Give employees written safety and anti-fraud policies and procedures.
Reward fraud tips. Consider an employee reward program for reporting suspicious claims that lead to conviction.
Know the warning signals. Employers should know the warning signals of suspicious claims. Obtain a list of fraud indicators from your workers’ comp insurer.