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November 03, 2020 Claims Services

RI Workers' Comp Court Claims

Workers’ compensation litigation data demonstrates effectiveness of insurance carrier

While no one can disagree with the old adage that the best workers’ compensation claim is the one that never occurs, we do know that workplace injuries happen. The next best claim is one that is handled efficiently to the benefit of both the injured worker and the employer.

Beacon Mutual Insurance offers expert advice on handling workers’ compensation claims in Rhode Island.

The price your company pays for workers’ compensation insurance is based not only on the type of work, but also upon your company’s claims experience. Therefore, claims expertise is an important consideration when selecting a workers’ compensation insurance carrier. While there are different varieties of “worst workers’ compensation claims,” litigated claims consistently fall into that description and are more expensive. For this reason, Beacon works hard to limit claims litigation and is doing much better than other carriers in limiting workers’ comp litigation in Rhode Island. This results in savings to its insureds and their workers’ compensation programs.

Beacon claims professionals and in-house counsel are unequalled for their Rhode Island workers’ compensation expertise. As soon as a claim is reported, Beacon’s claims professionals work quickly to meet the needs of the injured worker. By acting quickly, there is less need for the injured worker to engage an attorney. Unwarranted delay is a well-recognized cause of needless litigation and friction between the employer and the injured worker. Beacon’s team of in-house attorneys represent insureds at the Rhode Island Workers’ Compensation Court and have years of local experience advocating for employers. They team with Beacon claims professionals in limiting claims litigation.

All Rhode Island workers’ compensation issues are heard at the Workers’ Compensation Court by the filing of a petition. For the last four years, despite a reduction in workplace injuries, the number of petitions filed at the court has been trending up. In fact, there were more petitions filed in 2019 than any year since 2001! In 2019, Beacon had a majority of the insured employers as policyholders in Rhode Island. But only one quarter of those petitions involved a Beacon policyholder. Beacon is clearly doing something right to keep policyholders and injured workers’ out of court.

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More specifically, there are generally three types of petitions filed with the Court including employee petitions filed by the employee, employer petitions filed by the employer/insurance carrier and lump sum settlements that are entered by agreement and filed by the employer in the employee’s name.

While employee petitions have increased at the Court (8% increase in 2019), Beacon insureds were a party to less than 20% of the employee petitions. Is Beacon doing something right? You bet. When an injured worker is not promptly taken care of, they hire an attorney and file a petition. In Rhode Island, injured worker attorney fees in addition to the costs of defending the claim are paid by the insurer and passed on to the employer in its premiums. Needless litigation may be costing Rhode Island businesses every day. Injured workers are promptly taken care of by Beacon’s claim professionals.

So what about the remaining 80% of Workers’ Compensation Court employee petitions that were filed in 2019? These petitions were filed for non-Beacon insureds’ employees who did not have the benefit of Beacon’s expertise. Employers not insured by Beacon may have the increased costs of unnecessary claims litigation.

Beacon is there to protect policyholders and make sure they are represented in RI Workers’ Compensation Court when needed. Where appropriate, employer petitions are filed to suspend or reduce benefits. When an employee will not voluntarily sign off benefits to close the claim, the claims rep is engaging counsel to petition the Court for a suspension. In 2019, Beacon filed over 40% of the employer petitions at the Court. This is almost a perfect parallel. Beacon and its insureds are the subject of a marked higher percentage of employer petitions and lower percentage of employee petitions.

 

Who do you want handling your claims?  

The data is clear that there is but one choice:  Beacon

 

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Michael D. Lynch, Esq.
Written by

Michael D. Lynch, Esq.

VICE PRESIDENT OF LEGAL

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