Workers Comp Claims tracking options

There are several workers comp claims tracking options available today. With the possibility of increased claims due to COVID-19, it is a good time to look at options for tracking workers compensation claims. There are a variety of tracking options for claims tracking including:

•    Workers comp claims tracking software as a service

•    Tracking using spreadsheets such as Excel, Google Docs

•    Manual tracking of workers comp claims using file folders and notes

•    On-premises software installed locally on a computer

•    Third Party Administrators (TPAs)

As an organization helping others manage workers compensation claims tracking for more than 30 years, we have seen an increased demand for web-hosted  workers comp software and insurance liability software. Many organizations are migrating from on-site legacy software and manual processes. This shift to online workers comp claims tracking software has increased since the advent of Covid in the spring of 2020, as it allows claims tracking to occur from anywhere.

The choice for workers comp claims tracking options is more important today than the past, as some current solutions do not address a changing workforce, accountability, and the ability to access and manage records remotely from anywhere.

Tracking workers compensation claims using spreadsheets may be acceptable for small companies, but quickly runs into limits, because it is hard to capture enough information needed to understand the various aspects of a claim. Specifically, separate related information that include notes and images  aren’t consolidated together with the spreadsheet. Further,  a common limitation regarding spreadsheets is that the spreadsheet is useful for financial reporting, but difficult to change parameters on the report if the criteria needs to be changed. My company conducted a study on tracking options and found many organizations use Excel, because spreadsheets are readily available and often times organizations don’t know about better options.

The manual tracking of workers comp claims using file folders and notes is only viable for the smallest of companies. It quickly runs into limitations because it is hard to understand the data. Manual tracking frequently leads to different methods of manual tracking for different parts of a claim which is good for documentation, but difficult to review and analyze. Further, manual tracking becomes problematic due to employee turnover, lack of security of confidential data, and difficulties managing complex claims information.

On-premises claims tracking software installed locally on a computer is often considered legacy software.  Many on-premises software systems that are installed on a single computer are quickly becoming outdated. At some point as computer operating systems change or the person who wrote the software is no longer available, the system risks becoming inoperable, or the data cannot be extracted. Additionally, older systems often do not include considerations for changes to reporting requirements including regulatory reporting. An antiquated claims tracking system can have a significant negative impact on an organization if it stops working or is not kept up to date with reporting regulations.

Organizations hire a Third-Party Administrator (TPA) for processing of insurance claims and regulatory reporting to outsource claims for an additional fee. Rickey Kendall with more than 20 years’ experience as Director of Risk Management, Safety and Security for a leading transit authority in the South states: “With my experience a TPA can be an asset, but you can lose a degree of control and could be costly to an organization”. Therefore, an option may be to have your TPA provide monthly loss run report to an organization on a periodic basis who can have ‘claims data’ stored in an independent claims management system controlled by the organization. This option will provide peace of mind knowing if the organization changes TPA’s in the future that the organization is in control or their data which will minimize downtime if transitioning to a new TPA.

Using a Software as a Service (SaaS) has benefits because an organization is in control of their data and can manage claims with or without a TPA from anywhere. Further, a web hosted solution can make a bigger impact on costs savings by better understanding data and proactively addressing concerns.  

Paul Kofman is President of Recordables. He has been providing software solutions in the area of Risk Management, Claims Management, Disability Management, Safety and Occupational for more than 25 years.

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