Today's Veterinary Business

FEB 2019

Today’s Veterinary Business provides information and resources designed to help veterinarians and office management improve the financial performance of their practices, allowing them to increase the level of patient care and client service.

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25 February/March 2019 • TODAYSVETERINARYBUSINESS.COM Protect & Defend columnist Dr. Ed Branam is veterinary and animal services program manager for Safehold Special Risk Inc. He serves on the American Veterinary Medical Association's Legislative Advisory Committee. premium could rise or your policy might not be renewed. Claims Reviews An important component of your insurance program should be to regularly conduct claims reviews with your agent. Discussions should focus not only on the status of open claims but also on strategies for lowering risks. Independent Contractors A true independent contractor is not an employee of your practice because a master-servant relation- ship is absent. As such, an indepen- dent contractor's compensation is not included when determining your business's workers' compen- sation insurance premium. Nor are independent contractors eligible for benefits through your policy. A number of legally defined, fact-based tests are used to determine whether someone is an independent contractor for workers' compensation purposes. Ask your attorney or accountant for guidance. Any business using an inde- pendent contractor should have a contract detailing the arrange- ment. Independent contractors should have their own insurance, and it should include indemnity language on your behalf. Again, check with your attorney. Finally, understand that if an employer is sued for negligence due to a work-related injury or illness, employer's liability insurance is the second part of most workers' com- pensation policies. It is designed to pay for legal fees, court costs, judgments and settlements. not qualify for x-mod. Therefore, this instrument is not a factor in determining their annual workers' compensation premium. A business's x-mod calculation is based on the claims experience for the three-year period imme- diately before the expiring policy year. All employers are grouped ac- cording to their business operation and classification. The rating bureau utilizes collective claims data to determine the average amount of expected losses for each class code. Then, each business's actual losses are compared to what is expected and is expressed as a percentage (x-mod). If your actual losses are the same as what is expected, your x-mod is 1.0, or 100 percent. Your x-mod is an integral compo- nent of your final premium calcula- tion. The lower the x-mod, the better. As noted, a business's final workers' compensation premium is based on several factors, but for illustration purposes, a credit x-mod of 0.80, or 80 percent, entitles an employer to a 20 percent reduction on the final premium. Likewise, an employer with a debit x-mod of 1.20, or 120 percent, would incur a 20 percent premium increase. This is where the incentive to maintain safe working conditions comes into play. Controlling Costs The secret to lowering your workers' compensation insurance costs is not as simple as shopping for the best price quote every year. The phrase "closing the barn door after the horse is out" is applicable in this instance. No insurance company is going to provide cheap workers' compensation insurance to a prac- tice with a bad loss history. A practice owner's objectives should be to: • Reduce the frequency of claims. • Reduce the cost or severity of each claim. • Utilize the insurance carrier's managed provider network when treating injuries. • Take advantage of early return-to-work opportunities whenever possible. These objectives are accom- plished by establishing a safe workplace focused on mitigation of work-related injuries. Components of an effective risk-management program include but are not limited to: Culture Remember to: • Focus on accountability and responsibility. Safety is everybody's job. • Foster an environment that values and rewards safety and safe work behavior. Employee Training Not surprisingly, an inordinate per- centage of work-related injuries in- volves employees on the job for less than six months. Most of the injuries are easily preventable if adequate training and supervision are done. Safety Meetings Meetings should be held monthly and include: • Safety presentations. Ask your insurance agent or broker for veterinary-specific staff training modules. • Reviews and assessments of employee injuries that occurred since the last meeting. Focus on lessons learned and on updating policies or procedures to prevent reoccurrence. • Feedback. Engage employ- ees in an environment where ideas and recommendations are encouraged and valued. Worksite Assessments This means: • Conduct monthly walk- through inspections of each area of the hospital, pref- erably by a different staff member working in that area. All action items should be ad- dressed as soon as possible. • Invite your carrier's loss-con- trol experts to conduct an in- spection. Caution: Any serious deficiencies likely will have to be corrected in a timely manner. If they are not, your 5 4 3 2 1 Protection designed with you in mind. The Safehold Veterinary Insurance program is specifically designed to address the unique coverage needs of veterinarians and the services they provide. We provide access to high-quality insurance products at very competitive prices, helping protect licensed veterinarians in every state. Our proprietary program is led by an experienced veterinarian and includes key coverages for today's veterinary service practitioners. Available coverages include: • Workers' Compensation • Business Owners' • Professional Liability Package Policy • Builders' Risk • Cyber Liability • Umbrella • Business Auto • Employment Practices • Directors and Officers Liability Liability Contact us today to see how Safehold can help protect you and your practice: edward.branam @safehold.com Products and services are offered through Safehold Special Risk, Inc., dba Safehold Special Risk & Insurance Services, Inc. in California. Coverage is provided by unaffiliated insurance companies. © 2018 Safehold Special Risk, Inc. All rights reserved.

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