Workers CompIt’s always a pleasure hosting a guest blogger on the website. This week, Mike Barnum brings some welcome clarity to the nebulous world of workers’ compensation. If your business doesn’t have a Return to Work program, listen up. It could save you “beaucoup” dollars in premiums.

Senior care agencies waste millions of dollars overpaying for workers compensation premiums each year. But there is a solution to stem the rising costs: an effective Return to Work (RTW) program. This is a proven means to significantly reduce work comp premiums. Let me share a few tips I’ve learned while helping home care and home health clients implement an RTW program.

Magic Number Seven

The magic number seven carries particular significance with workers compensation claims. NCCI (National Council for Compensation Insurance) is the organization that governs workers compensation in most states. NCCI applies a 70% discount incentive if an injured worker returns to work within 7 days and is provided light duty. I routinely model claims scenarios for clients showing how returning employees to work within 7 days of an incident greatly reduces a claim’s impact on experience modification, significantly decreasing future workers compensation premiums.

Think Outside the Box

I often hear agency owners’ concerns about light duty not being a viable option for home health aides. I continually challenge my clients to think outside the box. Together, we put together RTW programs that work. Remember, just getting an employee back to work in any capacity reduces a claim’s impact on future costs by 70%. Don’t focus on the inside of the box – what the particular job description entails. Go beyond. Consider opportunities for business growth such as telemarketing, canvassing, administrative assistance, or other ways to put the injured employee to work to help your business. Light duty return to work can even include services to your community or nonprofit organizations of your choice.


This table shows the impact of a Return To Work program based on real-life examples of a home health agency based in Virginia.

workers comp

The three-year cumulative effect of each claim on insurance premiums is shown to the right. There is no mistake – the claim where the worker didn’t return to work within 7 days ended up costing the business $24,080 more in premium even though the actual cost of the claim was similar. In addition, insurance underwriters will usually remove previously granted discounts in the absence of an effective RTW program which will further increase premiums. The result will be a spiraling increase in worker’s comp cost.

Talk to your insurance agent about different RTW options. Create an implementation plan. Finally, make it happen when an employee gets hurt on the job. Only then will you be on the path to saving significant premium dollars and becoming a preferred risk over which workers comp carriers will fight.

Bankers Insurance utilizes risk management strategies such as RTW, predictive modeling and analytics to obtain significant premium savings while improving our client’s existing risk management practices. For more information on our insurance products and services, go to our website Mike Barnum can be contacted at or (757) 589-9493.

Get on the path to becoming a preferred risk today.