ORLANDO, Fla.—Claims advocacy as it relates to workers’ compensation, is a process grounded by the values of dignity, respect and transparency that coordinates activities to assist the injured worker effectively and promote expectancy and engagement in recovery, efficiently restores (and often improves upon) health and well-being, thus resolving the experience in mutual satisfaction. It is also defined as a claims culture that makes access to benefits simple and builds trust – and one that must be supported by company executives, organizational values, technology and operating systems to be successful.
This do-good approach lends itself to the advocacy model, a relatively new shift in attitude toward injured workers that is less adversarial and more worker-friendly.
It was necessary to evolve the process because the workplace is very different now to what it was when workers’ compensation was created. Workers’ compensation has been around for more than 100 years. It was developed as a grand bargain between labor and employers to ensure that injured workers received appropriate medical care and wage-loss benefits while employers received protections against tort lawsuits arising from workplace injuries.
Workers’ compensation has also evolved in some ways, but in other ways it has not kept pace with the changes in workplace demographics and injury exposures.
A recent study from Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd. found that 48% of 10,455 millennials (those born between the early 1980s and mid-1990s) around the globe believe businesses behave ethically and 47% believe that business leaders are committed to helping improve society — highlighting a “stark mismatch between what millennials believe responsible businesses should achieve and what they perceive businesses’ actual priorities to be,” according to the survey.
According to Deloitte Insights if you are a US-based organization GAsearching for tomorrow’s workers you will find that the oldest Millennials are just 37, and will likely keep working for several decades. The demographic changes that determine many of the key characteristics of the workforce happen slowly. But they happen. Over time, those demographic shifts can compound to make a big difference. It’s a difference we can already see.
In discussions around creating an “Advocacy-Based Claims Model,” employers adopting this approach are seeing less litigation, lower costs and greater employee satisfaction.
Rather than just denying a claim and inviting litigation, workers are told about benefit options that are available when workers’ compensation is not appropriate. Changing this model is about changing attitudes, the language we use to communicate and even the workflow. It can be done.
The steady speed of demographic change can provide insights about the future workforce. While tomorrow’s workforce won’t look completely different from today’s, the challenges of the future workforce are still the same. Understanding these demographic changes and directions, along with the changing nature of work and jobs, could be critical for business organizations and government leaders. These demographic trends suggest that some important potential implications and actions need to be considered.
Workers’ compensation is still a valuable protection for both injured workers and employers. However, the time has come for it to evolve to better reflect the realities of the current workforce, risks present in the workplace, and advances in science and medicine. If workers’ compensation is to remain relevant for another 100 years, it needs to keep up with the changes in our society.
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