Calling All Exceptional Employer Workers’ Comp Programs: Apply Now for the 2021 Teddy Award

Deadline Extended! Your workers' comp program success story could inspire your peers and help take the workers' comp community to the next level. Tell us your story — application closes April 23rd.
By: | February 26, 2021

Every employer has a unique 2020 workers’ comp story to tell — challenges faced, difficulties weathered, creative solutions developed, excellence achieved, in ways large and small.

Let’s not forget, though, that every employer had a unique workers’ comp story to tell long before the word pandemic became a part of our daily conversations. Many of them demonstrate excellence on a daily basis in their workers’ comp and injury prevention programs. That’s what the Teddy Awards are all about.

Given all of uncertainty facing employers in 2020, R&I’s annual Teddy Awards program, sponsored by PMA Companies, was put on pause. Instead, we shared four employer stories in a special Excellence in Action series.

This year, the Teddy Awards are back. And you can be a part of it. The deadline to apply has been extended through April 23, 2021.

What’s your company’s unique workers’ compensation story? What are the programs or practices you’ve put in place before or during the pandemic period that are pushing your program forward — reducing injuries, improving injury outcomes, facilitating successful return-to-work and return to function, improving injured worker satisfaction and reducing costs?

Are you proud of what you have been accomplishing with your workers’ compensation and injury prevention programs? We’d like to learn more about them. And we’d like to inspire other employers with your success.

The application for the 2021 Teddy Award is online. The awards are open to both for-profit and nonprofit employers, as well as governmental entities.

Teddy Award Sponsor:

PMA Companies

And while there are quite a few large employers among our list of past winners, small- and mid-size entities are considered carefully and are encouraged to apply. Our judges look for quality rather than quantity, and plenty of our past winners are smaller organizations that have proven it’s possible to accomplish great things even with limited resources.

Some food for thought as you prepare your application.

We are looking for well-rounded programs that take a holistic approach to workers’ comp and injury prevention. Teddy Award winning companies, no matter their size or industry, have several core characteristics in common:

  • They do everything possible to protect their most valuable asset: their people. They strive daily to reduce workplace risks and prevent injuries from happening.
  • When injuries do happen, winning companies waste no time securing expert care for their workers and ensuring that workers understand the workers’ comp process and have the knowledge and resources they need to fully engage in their recovery. They also have systems and practices to ensure that they’re getting the best possible outcomes for their medical spend.
  • Teddy winners frequently amaze us with their 110% commitment to getting all injured employees back to work, using imaginative strategies that turn the old model of return-to-work on its head.
  • They also track and measure everything — continuously and aggressively looking for opportunities to improve outcomes while eliminating wasted expense.
  • Along the way, many of them also develop effective strategies that help manage challenges such as union negotiations, legacy claims, litigation and fraud, and so much more.
  • Not least of all, Teddy winners get results. We ask for performance data to gauge whether the company’s programs really help achieve the intended goals.

Judges factor in every element potentially affecting program performance, including the intensity of the challenges faced, as well as the age of the program.

Teddy winners go above and beyond best practices, and they have a firm grasp of the big picture. They leverage the talent of internal teams as well as vendor partners to build programs that enable them to drive year-over-year improvement for the long-term.

For inspiration, read up on our past Teddy Award winners. It could be your organization whose praises we’re singing later this year.

Apply soon! The deadline has been extended but it’s right around the corner — April 23th. The 2021 Teddy Award winners will be profiled in the August through November 2021 issues of Risk & Insurance and will be asked to participate in a special Q&A presentation at the National Comp conference this October.

For questions about the awards or the application process, please contact Workers’ Compensation Editor and Teddy Award coordinator Michelle Kerr at [email protected] &

Deadline extended through April 23rd! Apply for the 2021 Teddy Award today.

Michelle Kerr is Workers' Compensation Editor for Risk & Insurance, and chair of the annual National Comp conference. She can be reached at [email protected]

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The R&I Editorial Team can be reached at [email protected]