Although most people within the workers’ comp system act honestly, fraudulent activities do occur. These activities can increase your business’ premiums and deprive legitimate employees of benefits.
Educate your employees about workers’ compensation policies and procedures. Emphasize your zero-tolerance policy on fraud and how they can anonymously report suspicions.
Look for Red Flags
What is workers’ compensation fraud? Workers’ compensation fraud can be found in primary and intricate schemes, frequently requiring arduous and extensive investigations. Employees could manufacture or exaggerate injuries. On the opposite end of the scale, white-collar criminals like doctors and attorneys lure, compensate, and plan with others to cheat the system by making inflated or false claims, overtreating patients, and prescribing excessive amounts of dangerous and addictive pharmaceuticals. The expense is covered by insurance firms, who then shift it to customers, taxpayers, and the broader public.
Regarding workers’ comp fraud, many warning signs should trigger suspicion. While these red flags may not always indicate fraudulent activity, they should alert employers to suspicious claims and warrant further investigation.
One of the giant red flags is when there are no witnesses to an accident. If employees claim to have been injured on Monday but were not around their coworkers or supervisors at the time, this could be a sign that they were injured outside of work and are trying to pass it off as a workplace injury.
Another red flag is if the injured employee is reluctant to report the incident to their employer. It could indicate that they are afraid their story will be believed or that they might have been the victim of an extortion attempt and are trying to recover funds from a scammer.
In addition to being aware of the familiar workers’ compensation fraud signs, small business owners should take steps to prevent it. It includes performing thorough background checks on job applicants, establishing a zero-tolerance policy, and educating employees on workers’ compensation policies and procedures. It also includes providing multiple ways for employees to report suspected fraud without fear of retaliation. To effectively prevent insurance fraud, it is recommended to prominently display the insurance company’s fraud hotline number in a communal area, such as a breakroom. Moreover, establishing an anonymous tip line that enables employees to report suspicious behavior can be valuable in preventing fraudulent activities.
Listen to Other Employees
Some employees will try to work the system and get workers’ compensation benefits they don’t deserve. It can be done by exaggerating an injury or illness or using fake documents to pay lower premiums. These fraudulent claims can cost you a lot of money and even land you in jail.
To prevent this, ensure your employees know you care about them. A positive workplace culture and a safe work environment are your best tools. Make regular safety meetings a part of your company culture, and let employees know you’re concerned about their health and well-being. It will also help reduce the temptation of some employees to lie and file false claims.
If an employee has a claim, take the time to investigate it thoroughly and gather statements from witnesses. Look for any inconsistencies, discrepancies, or illogical treatment options. Also, pay attention to whether the worker avoids contact with other coworkers, especially during recovery. It could indicate that they are trying to conceal their activities.
Also, encourage your employees to report all incidents immediately. It can help you catch any problems before they escalate. Make sure they understand your incident reporting policies, and make it clear that any information provided will be kept confidential. It will discourage employees from working the system and keep you informed if they lie about a workers’ comp claim.
Educate Your Employees
As a business owner, you can play an essential role in preventing workers’ compensation fraud. One way is to educate employees on workers’ compensation rules and regulations. Implementing this proactive step will discourage anyone from engaging in deceitful actions that may adversely affect the system.
Another way is to maintain accurate payroll information. Some employers misclassify their employees to pay lower workers’ compensation premiums. It is a form of fraud and can lead to substantial fines, even if the error was unintentional.
You can also educate your employees on the warning signs to look out for in workers’ compensation claims. It will help them identify red flags and report suspicious activity to your insurance carrier’s special investigations unit.
Lastly, you can implement screening procedures for new hires to help eliminate the possibility of hiring people with suspicious injury claims in the past. It includes carefully examining the job applicant’s work history and criminal record. Additionally, frequent communication with injured employees can make them feel valued and show that someone cares about their return to work.
Some people commit workers’ compensation fraud to get more money from their employer or are desperate. According to a study, some people will even self-injure themselves to receive a workers’ compensation payout. In such cases, it’s vital to immediately investigate the claim and take action if there is evidence of fraudulent activity.
Preventing false claims may present a challenge, but companies can take proactive steps to detect instances of workers’ compensation fraud. For example, ensuring thorough background checks are performed before hiring employees and establishing a zero-tolerance for fraud when it occurs will help deter fraudulent activity. Similarly, conducting frequent business audits and reviews of workers’ compensation policies, procedures, and records can aid in identifying irregularities that may indicate fraud.
Another vital step is implementing robust workplace safety programs prioritizing employee health and wellness and discouraging unsafe behavior. It can also decrease the number of workplace accidents that result in false workers’ comp claims. Finally, close contact with injured employees can make them feel valued and demonstrate that their claim is closely monitored.
Sadly, most cases of workers’ compensation fraud go unreported. It results in lost money for employers and diverts time and resources away from those who genuinely need them. Furthermore, prosecutions of those who commit workers’ compensation fraud can carry stiff fines and even jail time.