At the 2021 WCI Conference in Orlando, Scott Westman, Sr. Vice President Casualty Operations at Sedgwick and Steve Figliuolo, Enterprise Risk Management at Chick-fil-A, Inc., discussed how they approach workers’ compensation claims.
Chick-fil-A tries to take the same customer service approach with their claims handling that they do with the customers in their stores. That means going the extra mile to advocate for their injured workers. To assist their employees, they set up a 24-hour call center for people to reach out with basic workers’ compensation questions. The system can be complex and they hoped this would take some of the mystery out of it. One unexpected side effect of this was it freed up time for their claims adjusters to complete other tasks.
They also implemented a nurse triage model to try and cut down on unnecessary emergency room visits. They see a lot of minor burn and cut claims and the workers can get much quicker, and cheaper, treatment at an occupational medicine clinic versus the long wait times at ERs that minor injuries experience.
Their advocacy approach does not just focus on the experience of the injured worker and instead also looks at the adjuster experience. They want their adjusters to focus on the higher level tasks that only they can do instead of spending a lot of time on administrative issues.
Allowing direct deposit for claim payments was a game changer for many of their employees. The post office is very inconsistent with delivery times and people depend on their checks being received timely. They implemented this program before the pandemic and it was extremely successful.
They also allow for direct reporting of claims by injured workers. They initially feared this would lead to an increase in fraudulent claims but that was not the case. Allowing team members to self-report made them feel empowered and in control of the claims from the onset.
Frequency is the most important metric because the best claim is the one that never occurs. They focus heavily on injury causes and consider ways to prevent future similar injuries from occurring.
Shift to Delivery
During the pandemic, Chick-fil-A, like many restaurants, shifted to a drive thru and delivery model. There are many challenges that come from the delivery model especially when it comes to having the proper insurance in place and reviewing the driving records of the employees you are utilizing. They have been working with their franchise operators to develop these programs, but they do present new challenges.
It is very important that their vendors follow all their protocols when it comes to how injured workers are treated. The advocacy approach has to carry over to the vendors they utilize.
Biggest Risk Management Challenges
Since they have a trucking operation, the nuclear verdicts occurring in commercial auto are a major concern. Every year, there seem to be larger verdicts than previously thought possible. These verdicts seem to defy all logic when it comes to both their size and whether there is actual liability.