3 Ways to Reduce Longshore Claims by Tracking Trends

When it comes to tracking insurance claims trends, it’s much easier said than done. With the right tools, resources and motivation, your company can reduce claims by not only tracking claims data, but truly understanding it and identifying trends. Here are three ways to reduce Longshore claims by tracking trends.

 

1. Understand the difference between data from Longshore claims and those from other industries.

There are well-established resources that provide in-depth studies of workers’ compensation, but that information doesn’t always apply to the U.S. Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (Longshore Act). As most ALMA members know, the maritime industry is a unique field with unique circumstances. For instance, a claim for a union stevedore in California can’t be measured against a day laborer in South Louisiana. Furthermore, outside resources don’t tell us the stories behind the claims.

That said, it certainly isn’t easy to compare data for Longshore claims to that of other industries. Here are a few examples of why:

  • In Longshore, wages and Average Weekly Wages tend to be higher. Weekly benefit rates are higher as well.
  • With most jobs requiring workers to perform at a high physical level, overcoming the Section 20 presumption is difficult. Section 20(a) is does not presume coverage; rather, it shifts the burden of proof on the issue of causation from the claimant to the employer by providing the causal link between the worker’s harm or pain and his or her employment.
  • Some states have indemnity caps, while others don’t allow for permanent wage loss (absent permanent and total disability) and instead provide for disability ratings to any injured body part. In Longshore, if an injury isn’t affecting a scheduled body part, then it’s possible the employer and its insurance carrier can owe a lifetime of wage loss benefits. In addition, union contracts and collective bargaining agreements can sometimes prohibit modified duty positions, resulting in extended temporary benefits beyond normal expectations.

 

2. Partner with a USL&H provider that pays attention to claims metrics.

As a USL&H provider, we at AEU are highly focused on reducing claims. By identifying trends from the in-house data we’ve been studying for nearly two decades, we’re about to positively impact the bottom line for employers who partner with us for USL&H coverage.

For example, if certain claims begin trending upward, we know that costs are mounting for our members, and it’s time to act. Our dedicated Claims Data Analyst examines claims data and develop plans that help our members reverse trends. As a result, their workers stay healthy, and their company saves money. 

 

3. Address trends before they become long-term problems.

By working with your USL&H provider to understand claims trends at your company, you can identify problems and proactively address them. For example, if 4 out your last 10 claims were related to faulty equipment, consider implementing a regularly scheduled maintenance review so that old or defective tools can be replaced before injuries occur. Another example could be if you’re seeing an uptick in strain or sprain injuries, requiring each employee to stretch before their shift could help reduce these incidents.

Our late CEO Mike Lapeyrouse would often say, “If you’re not pushing forward, you’re moving backward – there is no coasting.” That’s why we’re always asking ourselves, ‘Where do we need to focus? What do we need to do to get better?’ These are questions you can also apply within your organization.

By evaluating claims data, you can identify problems and push your employees to be better and safer. If you don’t have statistics and benchmarks available, find ways to create your own. Thankfully, you don’t need a vast wealth of information to have an impact. Instead, make a record of the issues you observe. When you notice a trend, address it before it results in a claim. If you’re constantly pushing forward, you will always find ways to improve.  

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