In recent years, WCB has observed a concerning trend — the average claim duration for injured workers receiving wage loss replacement benefits has been on a relentless rise. As representatives for employers, here we address this issue as prolonged disability is already inflating WCB base rates.
The upward trend
Over the past decade, the average claim duration has experienced a notable increase, rising from 34 days in 2012 to 63 days in 2021 and 2022. This substantial 85% surge between 2015 and 2022 is a matter of concern and will directly impact employers in several critical ways:
Rising Premiums: With extended claim durations, the cost of workplace illnesses and injuries has escalated, leading to rising WCB premium rates. This financial burden poses a challenge for businesses across the province.
Productivity Impact: Longer claim durations often translate into delays in employees returning to work. This can significantly affect a company’s productivity and operational efficiency, creating hurdles for smooth business operations.
Influence of Staff Turnover: In the aftermath of the pandemic, workplaces have witnessed increased staff turnover. Frequent changes in claim file ownership within WCB is also causing delays in the claims process, driving costs even higher.
What can be done about it?
To address these challenges and manage claim durations more effectively, employers are encouraged to take proactive measures:
Cost relief: Aggressively seek relief of claims costs whenever opportunity presents
Prioritize workplace safety: Prevention is key to reducing workplace injuries. Employers should implement robust safety measures and prioritize the well-being of their employees.
Swift reporting and action: Prompt reporting of workplace injuries enables a timely evaluation and action, streamlining the claims process.
Customized return-to-work plans: Developing tailored modified-duty plans based on injured employees’ abilities can expedite their reintegration into the workforce, reducing claim durations.
Support and resources: Offering support and resources to injured workers during their recovery fosters a smoother return to work process, benefiting both employees and employers.
The Final Analysis
The rising claim durations highlighted by the WCB underscore the importance of effective injury management for employers. By prioritizing workplace safety, implementing preventive measures, and offering support during employees’ recovery, businesses can mitigate the impact of claim durations and create a safe, productive work environment.
Additionally, employers can explore cost relief options stemming from preexisting medical conditions, concurrent conditions, and other intervening causes. This relief allows for a transfer of costs away from the employer’s experience rating when extraordinary circumstances are present. Where such situations arise, the WCB may relieve all or part of the costs of a compensable claim, alleviating the financial burden on employers.
At Blue Collar Consulting, we meticulously review your case files to identify grounds for cost relief or cost removal. Our experienced team thoroughly scrubs every claim for factors that could hold potential to reduce or remove costs. The result of this detailed analysis can have a dramatic positive effect on future premiums, giving employers greater financial stability and peace of mind.
If you have any questions or require assistance with your WCB processes, please feel free to reach out to us at (780) 340-5727 or visit bluecollarconsulting.ca.