Rise in Texas Workplace Deaths Reveals Need for Strategic Approach to Workplace Safety, Workers’ Compensation

What Texas businesses need to know about protecting their people and their businesses

AUSTIN, Texas – Sept. 22, 2010 – The U.S. Department of Labor recently reported that workplace deaths in Texas rose to 480 in 2009, a 3.6 percent increase over the prior year. While workplace safety seems like common sense, the latest workplace death statistics indicate that additional insight and perspective around a strategic approach to workplace safety and workers’ compensation insurance coverage could be helpful for Texas businesses.

Texas is the only state in the country that doesn’t require businesses to carry workers’ compensation insurance by law. So why should Texas businesses carry this insurance when it adds another monthly expense to the income statement in an already uncertain economy?

“Taking a smart, informed approach to workers’ compensation insurance will not only protect employees and minimize risk for the long term, it will also protect Texas businesses from being exposed to potentially crippling costs in a time of economic uncertainty,” said Hale Johnston, senior vice president, regional manager of the Western Region for EMPLOYERS. “By taking a proactive and thoughtful approach to evaluating possible hazards in the workplace, businesses can simultaneously keep their most important assets – their employees – safe and further facilitate their business’ long-term success. “

Workers’ compensation is a line of insurance that is not well understood. This is especially true for small business owners who don’t have the luxury of having a dedicated, in-house risk management specialist. When workers’ compensation insurance is viewed as just another cost, the business owner may not realize how the many value-added benefits associated with a strategic approach to workers’ compensation can positively affect their business in the long run.

A key point for Texas businesses to understand is that workers’ compensation serves as a no-fault guarantee, providing employers with legal protections including immunity from most employee injury lawsuits. In the event that a lawsuit involving an employer with workers’ compensation coverage goes to court, the employer’s insurance company pays attorneys’ fees and costs including general damages, pain and suffering, and permanent disability.

Many business owners may believe their employees aren’t vulnerable to work-related injuries or illness, tempting them to forgo this coverage. But consider that the latest work-related fatality statistics provided by the U.S. Department of Labor revealed transportation incidents continue to be the leading cause of fatalities in Texas (34 percent) and nationally (39 percent). This single statistic provides helpful perspective regarding an employer’s risk, because any injury or illness sustained by an employee while traveling for business, driving to a sales call, or simply running an errand for office supplies, is likely to qualify as a workers’ compensation-related incident.

Nine Questions Businesses Should Ask about their Workers’ Compensation Coverage:

  1. What accident prevention or other value-added services do I receive from my carrier with my workers’ compensation insurance coverage?
  2. Does my workers’ compensation carrier have sufficient experience in my industry?
  3. Are there workplace safety, accident investigation and fraud prevention tools available to easily implement in my business?
  4. Does my carrier offer access to an online safety library that I can use to build my own safety program?
  5. Is my carrier financially strong and dedicated to remaining in my state’s insurance marketplace?
  6. Can I get a flexible payment plan from my workers’ compensation carrier?
  7. How fairly and efficiently does my workers’ compensation insurance carrier handle claims?
  8. Does my carrier offer a medical provider network that can help manage the medical costs associated with an injured worker’s claim?
  9. Does my workers’ compensation insurer have multi-state capabilities to service my growing business?

Contact Information

Media Contact: Lauren Meckstroth, The Abbi Agency
(775) 446-4678 or lauren@theabbiagency.com

Company Contact: Mike Paquette
(775) 327-2562 or mpaquette@employers.com

Investor Relations Contact: Adam Prior, The Equity Group, Inc.
(212) 836-9606 or aprior@equityny.com

About Employers Holdings, Inc.

EMPLOYERS® and America’s small business insurance specialist® are registered trademarks of EIG Services, Inc. Employers Holdings, Inc. is a holding company with subsidiaries that are specialty providers of workers’ compensation insurance and services focused on select, small businesses engaged in low-to-medium hazard industries. The Company operates throughout the United States, with the exception of four states that are served exclusively by their state funds. Insurance is offered through Employers Insurance Company of Nevada, Employers Compensation Insurance Company, Employers Preferred Insurance Company, Employers Assurance Company and Cerity Insurance Company, all rated A- (Excellent) by the A.M. Best Company. Not all companies do business in all jurisdictions. See employersstage.wpengine.com and www.cerity.com for coverage availability.