A Necessary Discussion About Workers’ Compensation

Mick McGill
Mick McGill
Vice President Client Service, Property Casualty

When you think of fraternal organizations, insurance may not be a topic that immediately comes to mind. But, it should be. While you may not think of these organizations as having “employees”…they most definitely do and steps should be taken to ensure the organization (or even local chapter) is safe should an injury happen.

What am I talking about? Workers’ compensation…and it’s just like it sounds. Workers’ compensation laws protect the financial interest of people who suffer injuries on the job. Without these benefits, thousands of workers would fall into insurmountable debt every year. Workers’ compensation benefits go beyond the payment of medical bills, as disability benefits, loss wage benefits, and death benefits are provided as well.

Our Holmes Murphy Fraternal Practice has experienced an influx of workers’ compensation claims involving employees of fraternal organizations. Similar to claims in other industries, the proximate cause of incidents and subsequent injuries continue to be related to the condition of the physical location coupled with unsafe acts of employees.

It likely comes as no surprise that common causes of loss include slips, trips, falls, sprains, strains, and falls from heights. Our team is making a concerted effort to work with our clients to do the fundamental things necessary to reduce the probability of incidents occurring and injuries being sustained to employees of fraternal organizations. We have developed loss prevention recommendations, which are truly necessary to ensure the safety and monetary security of all parties. These include:

  • Clear Job Descriptions
    • Ensure job descriptions clearly spell out job duties
    • Include physical requirements of the job duties
    • Confirm employees can perform the physical requirements of assigned job duties
    • Emphasize the importance of only performing assigned job duties
  • House Director Employment Agreement
    • Ensure there’s an annual execution of Employment Agreement
    • Clearly spell out assigned work hours (40 hours a week or less)
    • Implement timecard procedures for weekly reporting of work hours
    • Include job description within employment agreement so that injuries when doing things outside of employment can be eliminated from the workers’ compensation claim experience
  • Eliminate Off-Premises Job Functions — Outsource job functions requiring employees to leave the chapter house premise.
  • Outsource Housekeeping Job Functions — Utilize a third-party cleaning company to perform these work tasks (for example: Merry Maids, The Maids, etc.).
  • Outsourcing Food Service to Third-Party Vendors — Utilize third-party vendors to provide food service for the chapter (for example: Campus Chefs, College Chefs, Upper Crust Food Service, etc.).
  • Return-to-Work Programs — Implement a program that strives to accommodate work restrictions during injury treatment. This is intended to motivate employees to return to work full duty as soon as possible.

Based on our review of fraternal workers’ compensation claim experience, implementation of some or all of the above loss preventions measures could potentially have a material impact and reduce the workers’ compensation claim frequency and severity for your organization.

If you’d like to find out more information or have questions on how it all works/how to get started, don’t hesitate to comment below or reach out to our team directly!

Explore more from Holmes Murphy