Risk Insider: Susan LaBar

The High Cost of Fraud

By: | August 21, 2014

Susan LaBar is the risk manager at Coach USA/Megabus. She has more than 20 years experience in handling nationwide liability and workers’ compensation claims. She can be reached at [email protected]

Workers’ compensation fraud is prevalent and is costing employers and insurance carriers significant dollars each year.

There are many degrees of fraud. There are blatantly false claims, such as someone faking a fall or accident, to more subtle examples, such as complaining of false or lingering pain to get more time off of work.

All forms of fraud cost money.  Recognizing fraudulent claims and controlling them can be difficult.  Below are two of the many ways that workers’ compensation fraud can be controlled.

Get the Facts

The initial investigation is the first step, and one of the most important in preventing and controlling fraud.  When an employee reports an injury, ensure that an accurate report is received.

Investigate every claim in detail.  No matter how minor the injury, it is important to complete a thorough investigation.

How many times has that “minor” claim turned into a large exposure?  An effective way to investigate is by interviewing the employee.  Question the employee about how exactly the incident happened, who witnessed it and what could be done to avoid it in the future.

Specifically ask them to name all body parts that were injured. One form of fraud is an attempt to add non-related injuries to the claim by expanding reported injuries to different body parts as time goes on.

Ask them questions about their life.  What are their hobbies, do they have other employment, and do they have a spouse and children?

These questions help document the accident and provide great information if there is a need to investigate the validity of the claim.  Having their version of the accident in writing makes it less likely that the facts will change.

Nurse Case Management

Nurse case management is useful in many ways to help ensure proper treatment, mitigate costs and return the worker to full duty. It is also a way to help manage situations where there is suspected claims fraud.

The nurse can observe and establish a relationship with the claimant.  The nurse should attend medical appointments with the injured worker and ensure the worker is being forthright with the doctor about their injury and job duties.

He/she should have a detailed job description so there is no question what restrictions the doctor should or shouldn’t place on the injured worker.  The nurse can present information to the doctor about the worker’s hobbies and lifestyle.

If investigation reveals that an employee is performing activities that he/she states they cannot do, the nurse can present this to the doctor in the hope of getting a full duty release.

There are numerous ways to reduce or prevent claims fraud.  Initial investigation and nurse case management are valuable tools.

While some fraudulent claims are prosecuted, most are not.  The evidence of fraud can be used to limit exposure of the claim.

Use the information to bring the worker back to full duty as soon as possible.  These tools can help shorten the length of a claim and save the company money.

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

Risk Matrix: Presented by Liberty Mutual Insurance

11 Crucial Trends That Are Impacting the Construction Industry Today

Increased hurricanes, opioids, women workers and more are just some of the latest trends driving construction risk.
By: | November 1, 2019




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