The Check is in the Mail

Members of Retro programs receive retro refund checks from Labor and Industries about this time each year. There are certain variables that impact the refund amount. A significant portion is based on a company’s performance – which means how their claim costs compare to the premium their company pays. Employers with fewer injuries and lower claim costs will receive a larger portion of the refund than employers with higher claim losses. 

Higher refunds are not the only advantage. When workplaces are kept safe and claims are controlled, a company may also pay less premium through decreased Experience Modification Rating (EMR). On the flip side, employers who are not engaged in safety or controlling costs will not only receive less of a refund and pay higher premiums, but if that trend continues, it could threaten a company’s ability to continue participating in the retro group. Here are some basic strategies for lowering claim costs and increasing a Retro check:

  • Report all injuries right away. ERNwest’s claims team advocates on a company’s behalf to make sure only valid claims are allowed and that medical treatment is only for the related injuries. To be effective in helping, they need to know about injuries even before a claim is filed.
  • Keep injured employees working. Time-loss dollars on claims reduce retro refunds 3x-5x faster than medical dollars. If an employee is unable to return to their normal work, return them immediately to light-duty consistent with their work restriction.
  • Pay their regular wages if light duty is not possible. Called Kept on Salary (KOS), continuing to pay an injured employee’s wages even when they are not at work can still be financially beneficial in protecting refunds and lowering the L&I premium paid.
  • Submit for Stay at Work (SAW) wage reimbursement. While this does not directly increase a retro refund check, it does help the bottom line. L&I will reimburse 50% of wages for employees who work light duty. ERNwest will help submit for reimbursement at no charge. Don’t let this be money left on the table.

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