Understanding the complexities of a workers compensation account begins with gaining a complete understanding of the business operations. The processes of selling, underwriting, issuing and renewing a workers compensation policy revolve around gathering and interrupting information about an employers business. Questionnaires are a helpful tool.
Insurance companies use questionnaires during the new business underwriting phase of a policy to gain a better insight into what a business actually does, how they do it, what work process are involved and what materials are used in those processes. Think of this. When an agent submits a new application for coverage to an insurance company the information on that application is the only thing that an underwriter has in front of them to get a complete picture of the risk. Workers compensation applications really only provide basic information about the new client and the insurance company underwriter only has a certain amount of time to underwrite and issue the policy. Questionnaires simply provide an underwriter with more specific information about the new client.
Workers compensation questionnaires are not standardized. They are typically developed by and for the use of an underwriting department of a specific insurance company. You’ll find that most forms address specific industries like these:
- Labor Contracting Industry
- Garage and Automotive Related
- Medical Care and Hospital
- LSH&W Exposures
Typical questions found on one of these forms will ask about Management and Safety Practices and will address:
- Maintenance of OSHA 300 log
- Written safety plans
- Employee personal safety protection use such as; hard hats, safety shoes, ear and eye protection use
- Maintenance of MSDS
- Slip and fall protection
- Use of ladders and safe guards for fall protection
- Forklift and other equipment training
- Equipment use and training
- Use of subcontractors
- Hiring procedures
- Use of written job descriptions
- Motor vehicle use
- Delivery and information about employees traveling out of state
Information requested may also include:
- Detailed descriptions of work processes and materials used
- Descriptions of other type of work performed
- Payroll summary by type of work performed
- And copies of recent tax documents
They are also a valuable tool for gathering renewal information about an existing client. After an insurance company initially underwrites and issues a policy for a client there may be very little contact until the policy ends at which time an audit is conducted. Changes in operation may occur during the policy period that would effect the way a policy is underwritten. Identification of changes and updating a renewal policy is important as the accuracy of information about the employers operation has a direct relation to how a business is classified and ultimately the premium they pay. However most renewal policies are processed usually 60-90 days prior to the renewal date. You’ll find that part of the renewal process is to make some type of contact with the client to verify that no changes in the business operation have occurred or to document and manage those that have. Many insurance companies will do this by sending the client a questionnaire to complete and return. The questionnaire then becomes part of the renewal file for future reference.
Insurance companies use questionnaires to get a better understanding of what goes on at an employers work place. They do this to make sure the policy is set up right. That the employers operation fits within their company appetite for providing coverage. That codes used on the policy are correct and that the premium they are charging is adequate for the exposures present.
So the next time you receive a workers compensation form to fill out from your insurance company make sure you understand the purpose. If you have questions be sure to contact your agent or insurance company for answers!
Hope this helps you out! Thanks!