In a new survey recently released by AFLAC, “The Alfac Workers’ Compensation Report,” researchers found that 42 percent of all companies that offer access to voluntary accident and disability insurance reported that their workers’ compensation claims had declined. These are significant findings for American employers, who shelled out more than $77 billion for workers’ compensation payouts in 2011.
What is Voluntary Insurance?
Voluntary insurance consists of insurance products that are offered to employees at a discounted rate than what they could qualify for on their own. Voluntary disability insurance, for example, can help offset any income lost if an employee can no longer work due to sickness or injury (neither of which must be occupationally-related). Additionally, there are no restrictions with respect to what the money may be used for.
The survey was conducted on behalf of Aflac by Lieberman Research Worldwide.The firm asked six hundred employers from companies of all sizes whether they offered voluntary disability, and if so, whether they had experienced a drop in workers’ compensation claims. Overall, the results were encouraging. Fifty-five percent of large companies (those defined as having 500+ employees) reported declines in their workers’ compensation claims. Thirty-four percent of small companies (3-99 employees) and medium companies (100-499 employees) reported declines.
Ultimately, the survey’s results offer solid evidence for the industry-wide anecdotal belief that offering voluntary disability and accident insurance correlates to a decline in workers’ compensation claims. According to Aflac vice president Tye Elliot, these findings “demonstrate that by making voluntary accident and disability insurance available to employees, companies can often decrease the frequency and expense of their workers’ compensation claims.” Employers will now have to consider the value of spending a little more on insurance against the potential costs of a workers’ comp payout.
If your employer doesn’t offer voluntary accident and disability insurance and you experience a work-related injury, contact an experienced attorney who can help you evaluate and assess your claim.