Workers’ compensation claims compliance can be incredibly complex on a state-by-state basis. With variation across 50 jurisdictions, how can organizations mitigate the complexity of state forms?
Between keeping up with ever-changing laws to ensuring that internal reporting requirements are adhered to, carriers, TPAs, and self-insureds have a lot of things on their plates. If not given the proper attention, workers’ compensation state form requirements can quickly take up a huge amount of time and possibly become a liability.
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Over recent months, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, an estimated 50% of U.S.-based workers have been participants in a grand remote-work experiment. As Katherine Guyot and Isabel V. Sawhill point out in an article published by Brookings, Telecommuting will likely continue long after the pandemic, while the rapid switch to remote work has been driven by necessity, “COVID-19 may permanently change the way many of us work.”
Understandably, one of the most common questions we at Origami Risk have been answering during this period is related to what this change has meant—and what it might mean—for a complex, weeks-long project such as the implementation of a Risk Management Information System (RMIS), GRC technology, or insurance core system.
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A look at how the COVID-19 pandemic may impact workers’ compensation claims administration.
There is no shortage of questions when it comes to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on workers’ compensation claims, for instance:
- How will workers’ comp regulations evolve on a state-by-state basis as researchers and medical professionals continue to learn more about the virus’s behavior and options for treatment?
- What will the economic downtown mean for the volume of COVID-19-related workers’ comp claims?
- How will courts rule when it comes to claims compensability?
- How can businesses and other organizations that administer claims reduce potential claims losses, especially as states begin to reopen?
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on workers’ compensation claims administration will, of course, be determined by the answers to these questions and others like them. As states and businesses begin to open up, what is clear is that we’re only at the beginning of what will be a lengthy process of ongoing developments that will require insurers and organizations that administer claims to be prepared to adapt.
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In May 2020, Origami hosted a number of virtual RIMS webinars in-place of the RIMS 2020 Annual Conference, which was cancelled due to coronavirus. One of the five sessions Origami offered, “Driving Customer Satisfaction with Digital Engagement,” was led by Tim Cuckow, Senior Sales Executive, John Carolan, Senior Sales Executive, and David Duden, Strategic Relationships Executive. The presentation highlighted how stakeholders across the insurance value chain (i.e., insurers, pools, and TPAs) can leverage new digital engagement tools and predictive analytics to make underwriting and claims administration more efficient, differentiate their offerings, and drive agent and policyholder satisfaction.
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In March 2020, Origami hosted a webinar “Transforming Your Workers’ Compensation Claims Organization with Digital Engagement.” Led by Scott Plummer, Head of Strategy, Core Solutions, and Chris Bennett, President, Core Solutions, the presentation highlighted how claims departments can leverage new digital pathways to drive customer engagement.
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Globally, we are seeing companies being pushed into having a remote workforce, whether they are ready for it or not, especially as more US states and countries issue shelter-in-place orders to slow the spread of COVID-19. While shifting to a remote workforce may seem like an impossible feat, there are steps you can begin taking now to help your employees transition, and by extension, improve the experience of your clients. Since our inception, Origami Risk has valued its remote capabilities and the talented team we’ve been able to curate because of it.
Whether you are a work-from-home veteran or not, we’re all facing unique challenges in this new environment—from learning to work alongside your spouse and kids, to dealing with the challenges of conferencing technology—there is always a learning curve when transitioning from office to home. As a company of “remote work gurus,” we’d like to help make that learning curve a little shorter by sharing what helps Origami’s dispersed team efficiently work from home, all while servicing clients without interruption.
Have Readily Available Resources and Training
Some employees have fully equipped home offices, while others may have difficulty adjusting to their new work environment for a number of reasons. From a lack of technological savvy, difficulty working without a second monitor, or simply the social adjustment that comes with telecommuting, there are a number of obstacles that can work against an organization that’s suddenly forced to shift to a fully-remote workforce. First and foremost, it’s important to check in with employees to make sure they’re equipped with the tools and resources needed to effectively work and service their clients.
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What are the true costs of the repetitive, simple administrative tasks claims adjusters perform throughout the course of the workday? Inefficiencies stemming from manual procedures and repetitive tasks can directly impact the bottom line of claims organizations. Added to this are hidden costs that organizations may be less likely to account for: the impact those types of procedures and tasks can have on employee engagement and job satisfaction levels.
The Hidden Costs of Repetitive Tasks
As shown in a study published by the Society for Human Resource Management, when employees are required to perform repetitive tasks, they quickly lose interest and a sense of purpose. These employees are both less satisfied and less engaged. With reduced rates of job satisfaction comes the increased likelihood of turnover and the costs associated with hiring and training new adjusters.
There are also missed opportunities associated with high levels of engagement and wellness. Laid out in the Forbes article, 10 Timely Statistics About The Connection Between Employee Engagement And Wellness, these benefits can include reduced employee burnout, more empowered employees, and increased rates of profitability.
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Origami Risk users gathered in San Antonio from January 12-16 for our 2020 User Conference. The fifth such event hosted by Origami, this iteration of the conference was the largest to date, with more than 500 people representing organizations from across the risk and insurance industry in attendance.
Collaborative, hands-on learning opportunities led by members of the Origami service team ranged from “boot camps”—introductions to the system for newer users—to instruction on setting up dashboards and reports to more advanced topics such as system administration. Attendees also had the opportunity to meet with an Origami expert for one-on-one sessions for a closer look at specific features or areas of the system they wanted to know more about.
Client co-presenters led sessions covering a wide range of topics including GRC, underwriting, safety, audits, and claims administration, to name just a few. As in previous years, the delivery of actual use cases and the opportunity for those attending sessions to ask questions about the ways in which Origami Risk is being used to address “real world” challenges provided a unique opportunity for peer-to-peer learning. … read more
In TPAs and automation, part 1: Humanizing customer service, we looked at ways in which the use of features available in integrated claims management software—automation tools, push-reporting, and online portals—can help improve the level of service provided to clients and claimants. The automation and self-service features of a claims management software solution also have roles to play in another business-critical area for TPAs and organizations self-administering claims: recruiting, hiring, and retaining top talent.
Challenges to hiring and keeping qualified claims professionals
As is the case across most industries, a combination of baby boomers reaching retirement age and a strong economy continues to make it difficult for businesses in the property/casualty insurance industry to find qualified candidates. According to the Insurance Journal article Insurance Industry Facing Competitive Labor Market, the industry’s unemployment rate of 1.7% is even lower than the reported national average of 3.9%. Even so, the article points to the fact that, as of its April 2019 publication date, the “need for technology, claims and sales/marketing staff is expected to grow the greatest in the next 12 months.”
Beyond the challenge of finding qualified candidates to fill open claims department positions is the issue of employee retention. A 2018 CompData Survey shows that total turnover among organizations in the insurance industry stood at 12.8%. Although lower than the average for all industries (19.3%), this rate has trended upward in recent years.
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The onboarding process can be challenging for both TPAs and their clients. Migrating data from one claims management system to another is often a difficult, resource-draining part of that process. Wesley White’s article 10 Data Migration Best Practices For Any Organization summarizes the extent of the challenge:
Migrating data to a new information management system from multiple sources is a complex and often headache-inducing undertaking. Data migration is often necessary to keep up with technological advancements and industry standards, but it requires great effort. Data from various storage areas—both onsite and in the cloud—must be evaluated, analyzed, cleaned up and organized before it can be combined and reconciled.
The right technology can help to reduce the tremendous burden that data migration places on new clients. It can also transform the onboarding process and showcase the unique insights, savings, and benefits your organization delivers. As White notes, “It doesn’t have to be as hard as you may think to get past these challenges and successfully migrate your data.”
Assisting with the pre-migration phase
Research from the independent research firm Bloor paints an ominous picture of data migration projects. Of these projects, 37% exceed budgets, 67% take longer than expected, and 84% fail to meet expectations. In Why do so many data migration projects end in disaster?, Colin Rickard, a data management director with Experian, is asked to explain the high failure rate. “Often there has just not been enough analysis done at the start, so you end up with a lot of data problems at the end,” he responds.
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