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Records Storage Question From California Reader


Workers Comp Records Storage For Documents

Workers Comp records storage tends to be one of the least mentioned subjects.

One of my blog readers from California asks how long should records for Workers Comp be stored before being destroyed.

My answer applies to all states with all types of Workers Compensation coverage – even self-insureds.

Graphic of Records Storage documents Folder

My opinion is that no insurance documents of any type, whether or not it is about Workers Comp should ever be destroyed. Back in the prior years, destroying documents after 10 years might have been OK to keep from drowning in paper. With the advent of multi-page scanners, there is no reason to have any documents on paper for many years. I recommend scanning all documents more than seven years old and saving them to a pen drive or a thumb drive. This includes the associated payroll records. I recommend then backing up the pen drive or thumb drive with burning a CD of the information.

Why would I recommend saving insurance documents more than 5 years old? We are now reviewing the premiums for insureds in West Virginia and New Jersey that involved old contractor sub-contractor agreements. The one that we are reviewing in New Jersey requires us to go back 11 years, as there was an ownership change that will likely make a difference in how the companies are structured. This makes a big difference in the client’s Workers Compensation premiums right up to today.

Picture Of Records Storage Files Documents

We have some clients that scan everything and are paperless. That is a great way to save space, aggravation, and paper. The main thing we recommended to those clients is to backup the scans to two different backup places.

If your company does not have a multi-page scanner, you can purchase one very reasonably on eBay. Most copiers now have scanning capabilities, even the low-end budget all-in-one machines.

Why I posted on this subject is the lack of documentation of prior Workers Compensation information has cost some of our clients dearly. A thumb drive has saved me many times when I needed old data.

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James J Moore - Workers Comp Expert

Raleigh, NC, United States

About The Author...

James founded a Workers’ Compensation consulting firm, J&L Risk Management Consultants, Inc. in 1996. J&L’s mission is to reduce our clients’ Workers Compensation premiums by using time-tested techniques. J&L’s claims, premium, reserve and Experience Mod reviews have saved employers over $9.8 million in earned premiums over the last three years. J&L has saved numerous companies from bankruptcy proceedings as a result of insurance overpayments.

James has over 27 years of experience in insurance claims, audit, and underwriting, specializing in Workers’ Compensation. He has supervised, and managed the administration of Workers’ Compensation claims, and underwriting in over 45 states. His professional experience includes being the Director of Risk Management for the North Carolina School Boards Association. He created a very successful Workers’ Compensation Injury Rehabilitation Unit for school personnel.

James’s educational background, which centered on computer technology, culminated in earning a Masters of Business Administration (MBA); an Associate in Claims designation (AIC); and an Associate in Risk Management designation (ARM). He is a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) and a licensed financial advisor. The NC Department of Insurance has certified him as an insurance instructor. He also possesses a Bachelors’ Degree in Actuarial Science.

LexisNexis has twice recognized his blog as one of the Top 25 Blogs on Workers’ Compensation. J&L has been listed in AM Best’s Preferred Providers Directory for Insurance Experts – Workers Compensation for over eight years. He recently won the prestigious Baucom Shine Lifetime Achievement Award for his volunteer contributions to the area of risk management and safety. James was recently named as an instructor for the prestigious Insurance Academy.

James is on the Board of Directors and Treasurer of the North Carolina Mid-State Safety Council. He has published two manuals on Workers’ Compensation and three different claims processing manuals. He has also written and has been quoted in numerous articles on reducing Workers’ Compensation costs for public and private employers. James publishes a weekly newsletter with 7,000 readers.

He currently possess press credentials and am invited to various national Workers Compensation conferences as a reporter.

James’s articles or interviews on Workers’ Compensation have appeared in the following publications or websites:

  • Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS)
  • Entrepreneur Magazine
  • Bloomberg Business News
  • WorkCompCentral.com
  • Claims Magazine
  • Risk & Insurance Magazine
  • Insurance Journal
  • Workers Compensation.com
  • LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites
  • Various trade publications


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