Our commitment to a stronger, safer Texas

TXM for Texas LogoAt Texas Mutual, we are committed to helping you keep your employees safe on the job. When an injury does occur, we are there with compassion to help businesses recover and injured workers get back to a productive life. That compassion, rooted in each of our employees, extends far beyond the 68,000 businesses and 1.4 million employees that count on us for their workers’ compensation coverage. Take a look at the short video below to see the impact we are making.

Texas Mutual has a rich history of giving back to the communities in which we live, and our employees answer the call to help those in need time and time again. The collective impact of our efforts makes a difference for Texas, and that’s why we are introducing TXM for Texas. In many ways, TXM for Texas is the work we have always done and the partnerships we’ve always had. It speaks to our continuous commitment to the safety, wellness and education of our communities – all with the goal of creating a stronger, safer Texas.

Our commitment to you

At Texas Mutual, we view safety, wellness and education as the keys to success for our policyholders and our communities. We work with organizations that share that same commitment to improve the safety of workplaces and prevent injuries, to promote workplace wellness and healthy living, and to encourage education for those entering the workforce and beyond.

TXM for Safety

Safety is at the core of everything we do. Over the past year, Texas Mutual has awarded $1 million in safety grants for TXM policyholders, our employees created safety kits for cub scouts, and we distributed $228,000 to emergency responder organizations. We will continue these efforts to support the safety of our workplaces across the state of Texas.

TXM for Wellness

When your employees are healthy, they are less likely to get injured and more likely to return to work if an injury does occur. In 2017, Texas Mutual offered $1 million in wellness grants to our policyholders, our employees delivered Meals on Wheels, and we raised $52,000 for the MS-150. We know that healthy employees are safer employees, and we’ll continue to do our part to support healthy communities.

TXM for Education

We believe that education supports the strength of this great state. Our employees volunteer with local schools, we partner with colleges to provide safety-related courses, and we provide scholarships for dependents of workers who experienced catastrophic injuries. We advocate for education and will continue to do so to serve our future workforces.

The TXM for Texas difference you will see

In the coming weeks, we will feature each of our focus areas (safety, wellness and education) here on the Texas Mutual Blog. You can also join us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to see our commitment in action. We’ll highlight the compassionate work our employees do, recognize how our nonprofit partners make a difference in people’s lives every day, and share our efforts to make a measurable change in your communities. This is our commitment for a stronger, safer Texas.

Your Claims Questions Answered – What do I do if I suspect workers’ comp fraud?

Workers’ compensation fraud hurts business owners by causing higher premiums. That’s why we take fraud seriously at Texas Mutual and have a team dedicated to investigating these concerns. In 2016, Texas Mutual investigated more than 1,600 referrals and discovered more than $1 million in claimant fraud.

In our next video in the Your Claims Questions Answered series, we talk about what you should do if you suspect fraud. Watch the video below and take a look at our top three tips to remember when it comes to fraud.

Always contact Texas Mutual first when you suspect fraud.
If you suspect someone at your workplace is committing fraud, the first step is to contact Texas Mutual. We have a dedicated team of licensed professionals that will investigate your referral. Don’t confront the employee, but instead trust the professionals to investigate. To report suspected fraud, call (800) 488-4488 or email fraudstoppers@texasmutual.com.

Maintain a good relationship with the injured worker.
It’s important to maintain a positive relationship with the injured worker throughout the recovery process. Instead of jumping to conclusions, voice your concerns to Texas Mutual. There could be many reasons why an employee is not home on bed rest and making accusations to an injured worker could lead to more problems for your business.

Put a return-to-work program in place.
Focus on a return-to-work plan with the injured worker. If they are unable to perform the job duties they did before their injury, then determine what modified job duties they can do that will help them contribute to the team. Injured workers out six months or more have only a 50 percent chance of ever returning to work. Getting an injured worker back on the job will prevent you from being in the middle of a fraud investigation. We recently covered how to create a return-to-work program. Remember, it’s never too early to get started.

You can watch the full Your Claims Questions Answered series here. Visit texasmutual.com for FraudStoppers posters, red flags of fraud, and more information on reporting fraud.

What is workers’ compensation?

From your property to your pets, there are many reasons to buy insurance. For a business owner, workers’ compensation insurance provides protection against the serious consequences of workplace injuries. Watch the video below from our Workers’ Comp Expert Minute Series to get a better understanding of workers’ comp.

As the video explains, workers’ compensation is an insurance policy that a business owner buys to pay for medical care and lost wages for an employee hurt on the job. It provides peace of mind because without workers’ comp coverage, employers have few financial protections if an injury occurs in their business. With a workers’ compensation provider like Texas Mutual Insurance Company, we are committed to helping you keep your employees safe and we work hard to get your employees back to a productive life after an injury.

Workers’ compensation also provides important protection for employees. In the insurance world, the services and payments a claimant (in this case, the injured worker) receives are known as benefits, and in workers’ comp, there are a few different types of benefits. Benefits are based on the wages the injured worker was not able to earn as a result of the injury he or she experienced and the severity of the injury. Below is a brief overview of the types of benefits an injured worker could receive.

  • Income benefits, also known as indemnity or lost wages benefits, replace a portion of the wages that are lost because of the work-related injury. For more information on the types of income benefits, click here.
  • Medical benefits cover the costs of medical care and treatment for a worker’s compensable injury or illness.
  • Death benefits are provided to an injured worker’s surviving family in the event of a fatality.

Workers’ compensation insurance protects businesses from the serious consequences that can result from workplace injuries. Texas Mutual also goes the extra mile and not only protects your business financially but also works hard to help you keep your workforce safe. We are your partner in preventing the injuries from happening in the first place. With more than 2,000 resources in our safety resource center including 200 e-Learning courses, we give you the resources you need to keep your employees safe on the job.

If you are interested in purchasing workers’ compensation coverage, speak to your agent. You can retrieve a list of agents in your area by visiting the Independent Insurance Agents of Texas website.

Your Claims Questions Answered – What can the Texas Star Network do for my business?

Texas Mutual offers a workers’ compensation heath care option called the Texas Star Network. Comprised of medical professionals with the return-to-work goal in mind, our network is one of the many ways we save you money.

Watch our next video in the Your Claims Questions Answered series on what the Texas Star Network can do for your business and take a look at the key benefits below.

Benefits of the Texas Star Network:

  • Policyholders receive a discount of up to 12 percent off their premium
  • Patients treated by an in-network doctor return to work eight days sooner on average
  • Injured workers receive top quality medical care with lower than average costs
  • It’s easy to find in-network providers through the network app or online directory
  • You can reduce your premium by lowering claim costs

We encourage you to consult your agent to determine if the network is the right choice for your business, but keep in mind you do not have to wait until your policy renews to enroll. The network comes with responsibilities for you and your employees.

Visit texasmutual.com for information on how to enroll in the network, and to find other network tools.

Your Claims Questions Answered is a six-part video series covering the most commonly asked claims questions. We’ve featured each episode on the blog with our key takeaways. You can watch the full series here or visit our recent posts about return-to-work programs, e-mods, the claims process, and reporting an injury.

Your Claims Questions Answered – How do I create a return-to-work program?

It’s our goal at Texas Mutual to get injured workers back to a productive life as soon as medically possible. With a return-to-work program, you can save on claim costs, business expenses and injured workers can heal sooner and get back to contributing to the team.

We cover how to create a return-to-work program in our next episode of the Your Claims Questions Answered series. Watch the video below and take a look at the steps to create a return-work program in your workplace. Keeping these steps in mind will help you be prepared if the unexpected happens.

Get started now.
A return-to-work program should begin before an injury occurs. For all your employees, make sure you have a current record of their daily job duties, such as a job description, and encourage cross training. That way if an injury occurs that requires leave time, your team can make sure the job duties get fulfilled and you don’t miss a beat.

It may seem like a quick fix to bring someone new in, but the time and expense of hiring a new employee to replace an experienced worker is 50 to 150 percent of their salary.

Determine modified job duties.
The treating doctor will determine the injured worker’s ability to perform job duties. If they are unable to return to the same job, determine what parts of the job they can still do or find a different area in which the employee can make a positive contribution.

Make an offer to the injured worker for the modified position. It’s best to put it in writing, and it should include a DWC Form-073 (Texas Workers’ Compensation Work Status Report) completed by the physician.

Keep open lines of communication.
A little bit of motivation can go a long way for someone recovering from an injury. Stay in touch with the employee and check in with them. This can help them avoid feelings of isolation and the disability mindset. If the employee is back on the job with modified duties, see how they are adjusting to the new role.

Open communication is also important with Texas Mutual. If you have questions or concerns about the injured worker’s claim or recovery, call us at (800) 859-5995.

While every case is different, one of the best ways to control workers’ compensation costs is with a return-to-work program. Call the Texas Mutual safety services team at 844-WORKSAFE (967-5723) for help getting started or visit texasmutual.com for more resources. Watch the Your Claims Questions Answered series here and read our key takeaways from how claims affect your e-mod, reporting an injury, and your role in the claims process.

Your Claims Questions Answered – How do claims affect my experience modifier?

We kicked off our new video series Your Claims Questions Answered with key takeaways on your role in the claims process and how to report an injury. This week, we’re diving a little deeper into how claims can affect your experience modifier. Watch the video below and take a look at our key takeaways to learn about experience modifiers and what it means for your workers’ compensation premium.

What is an experience modifier?

An experience modifier or e-mod is a factor applied to your workers’ comp rate that is a comparison of your company’s loss experience against other employers in the same industry as you. If your company has had severe and medical-only losses, the e-mod will adjust your premium to lower the impact of those claims. Typically only mid-to-large size businesses will receive an e-mod.

How is an e-mod calculated?

The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) adjusts and rates e-mods in Texas. They look at payroll and claim history from the past three policy years to help identify potential losses. In general, employers with better-than-average loss history will see lower premium compared to the average, and employers with below-average loss history will see higher premium compared to the average.

All data is reported to NCCI, but not all losses are entered into the e-mod formula. In some cases, a small loss will have no impact or a proportionately small impact on your experience modifier.

Always report claims

A good rule of thumb is to always report your claims. Taking care of small claims on your own is not always in your best interest and most business owners are not experts in workers’ compensation law. From missing out on network savings to opening up your business for penalties, not involving Texas Mutual is not worth the risk.

The best way to manage your e-mod is with effective loss prevention and return-to-work programs. But remember, an e-mod is a pricing modifier and isn’t always a direct representation of a company’s commitment to safety. For more information on e-mods and how to qualify for one, visit texasmutual.com.

In our next installment of Your Claims Questions Answered, we’ll share our tips on creating an effective return-to-work program for your injured workers.

Your Claims Questions Answered – What do I do if an employee gets hurt?

In our new YouTube video series Your Claims Questions Answered, we address the most commonly asked claims-related questions. We covered your role in the claims process recently on the blog. Next up, we are discussing what to do when an employee gets hurt while at work. Watch the video and take a look at our key takeaways below.

Address the employee’s health

If an employee is injured on the job, the first thing you should do is assess the situation and determine if it is an emergency. Call 911 if needed and make sure the employee gets timely care to facilitate a quick recovery.

Using the Texas Star Network can help employees get the care they need and can help you manage claim costs. Injured workers can search for a treating doctor, pharmacy, or specialist through the Texas Star Network’s provider portal online or through the Texas Star Network’s mobile app.

Report the claim to Texas Mutual

To report an injury, we will need a DWC-1 Form known as the Employer’s First Report of Injury or Illness. We’ve made it easy to report claims to Texas Mutual online, by phone, fax or mail. Whichever way you choose to report, it’s best to make a report as soon as you can, so Texas Mutual can help you with the claim. The law allows employers up to eight days to report the injury.

Keep open lines of communication

Open communication supports a culture of safety by empowering employees to voice their concerns. Make sure employees know how to report safety hazards and how to access the resources they need to be safe on the job.

In the event someone is injured on the job, getting them back to a productive life is always best. Stay in touch with the employee throughout their recovery to help mitigate their feelings of isolation and maintain team comradery.  A return-to-work program can be started before an injury occurs. Visit the Return-to-Work page at texasmutual.com for more resources.

Training and preparation

There are steps you should take to be as prepared as possible for when a workplace injury occurs. Making safety a habit starts with providing the right training for your employees to do their jobs safely. Texas Mutual has free resources available for you and your employees including webinars and e-Learning online training courses.

Assign a point person to take the lead during injury incidents and create an action plan that is accessible for your employees. Practice drills can help your workplace prepare for an emergency situation and can help you identify any shortfalls in training.

Keeping these tips in mind will help you be prepared when a workplace injury occurs. Next in the Your Claims Questions Answered series, we’ll cover how claims affect your e-mod.

Before You Text Behind the Wheel, Watch this Short Video

Texas Mutual’s workers’ comp experts do their best to share their expertise with you as economically as possible. We know you’re busy, so we keep our posts short and to the point.

Sometimes, a third party reminds us that words aren’t always the best way to make a lasting impression.

This short video by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration demonstrates, in no uncertain terms, the potentially fatal consequences of texting while driving.

The next time you’re tempted to glance at that cellphone screen, if only for split second, remember this 30-second video. It might save your life.

Revisiting a Potentially Fatal Safety Issue

By Woody Hill, Vice President of Safety Services

By Woody Hill, Vice President of Safety Services

What if 100 people died every day while flying? Most of us would probably stay off airplanes. But would you sell your car if you found out that statistic actually applies to driving?

It seems flying is in fact safer than driving.

Once a year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration releases a report on the leading causes of workplace fatalities. And every year, transportation incidents sit on top of the list.

We have promoted safe driving on this blog 100 times. At the risk of sounding the like the proverbial broken record, let’s make it 101. If we can save just one life, I think it’s worth it. Don’t you?

Workplace safety thrives on buy-in from management and employees. Driver safety is no different.

Employee responsibilities:

  • Ignore the speed limit. Sure, the law allows you to drive at least 65 miles per hour on most highways. The speed limit on toll roads is as high as 85 miles per hour. But that doesn’t mean you should drive that fast. Posted speed limits are for normal driving and weather conditions. When roads are slick, visibility is poor, or if you are hauling heavy loads, slow down.
  • Put the phone down. About 80 percent of people involved in traffic accidents are distracted, according to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. When the cell phone rings, let voicemail pick it up. Pull over at the first convenient, safe place, and return the call or text.
  • Buckle up every time. If the law isn’t enough incentive to buckle up, consider this: The NHTSA estimates that 63 percent of people killed in traffic accidents were not wearing seatbelts.
  • Get plenty of rest. Driver fatigue is a factor in about 100,000 crashes each year, according to the NHTSA. If you’re tired, pull over at a safe place and rest.

Employer responsibilities:

  • Check records. Check employees’ motor vehicle driving records upon hiring them, and at least annually thereafter.
  • Consider drug testing. Before you implement a substance abuse testing program, consult an attorney to ensure you comply with all applicable state laws.
  • Lead by example. If you expect employees to control their speed, put the phone down, buckle up and get plenty of rest, you have to do the same.
  • Provide the resources. A modest investment in driver safety training, vehicle maintenance, an
    in-vehicle monitoring system and other resources can go a long way toward keeping your people safe behind the wheel.
  • Empower employees. Workplace safety works best when employees take responsibility for their own safety, as well as each other’s safety. Empower your staff to remind co-workers to follow safety procedures. Together, you can ensure everyone gets home safely at the end of the day.

Rest assured this is not the last time you will hear from me on this issue. As long as Texans are dying behind the wheel, Texas Mutual will be there, promoting safe driving behaviors. In fact, we’re gearing up for our annual
Give Safety a Hand campaign. Stay tuned for more news as the campaign nears.

Every morning, millions of parents drop their kids at bus stops. We trust that the adults behind the wheel have the training to get them to school and back safely. Texas Mutual wants to help ensure that happens.

In January, we partnered with Del Mar College to offer free driver safety classes to Corpus Christi ISD bus drivers. Students will learn how to comply with state and federal regulations, inspect their vehicles, drive defensively and avoid distractions.

About the author

Woody Hill is vice president of safety services at Texas Mutual Insurance Company. Hill has 30 years’ experience in workplace safety and health.

Hill holds a bachelor’s in environmental health and safety from Eastern Kentucky University. His field experience includes work in the oil and gas, mining, contracting and manufacturing industries.

Prior to entering the private sector, Hill served 14 years as an industrial hygienist at the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health. In that role, he partnered with employers to develop workplace safety programs, and he provided compliance guidance on safety and health laws.

Video: The Compensable Claim

Workers’ compensation insurance replaces a portion of injured workers’ lost wages. It also provides important legal protection for employers. Watch this short video for an overview of the benefits of workers’ compensation coverage.

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