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Workers Compensation Records Retention Question


Workers Compensation Records Retention Recommendations

Vector Illustration Of Files Workers Compensation Records Retention Different Color
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The subject of Workers Compensation Records Retention is not as popular pre-2010 for some reason.   We do receive a question on this topic every few months.

Workers Compensation mail headaches was covered a few years ago.  I recommend reading that older article.

We received the question – How long should we (employer) hold onto Workers Compensation records such as policies, premium audits, claims info, Experience Modification sheets, and other similar records?

That is a tough “overall” question to answer as each state has specific record requirements.  The length of time to retain records can vary greatly.

The best overall way to handle the records is to digitize them and keep them forever.   That does seem extreme.  However, there are many Workers Comp files where the “disease statutes” kick in once an injured employee “has been diagnosed” with an occupational disease.    Having claims records can be a make-or-break situation.

Document Workers Compensation Records Retention In Drawer
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Also, when we perform any type of data analyses or forecasting, the more data there is into the past, the better that we can predict the future.  Business cycles of up to 20 years are present in much of the data we have reviewed for certain clients.

This kind of goes against the current actuarial position of the most recent data holding more weight than very old Workers Comp data.   Of course, this is a debatable point.

My advice to to retain all Workers Comp data permanently by digitizing it using a scanner.   A scanner is a relatively cheap investment.   Any of our clients that have Workers Comp data digitized has saved $$ on our services.

Most data arrives in digital form nowadays.  Copying it to a reliable thumbdrive that has security will always have your Workers Comp data at your fingertips.   Asking your agent to be a data storage provider is not the best advice.  Agents do retain limited data for quite some time.

A 128gb thumbdrive  such as the one in this article can be found for $35 or less.  That size will hold approximately 1,664,000 pages of scanned data.  Only having Workers Comp related data on the thumbdrive will save data retrieval headaches later.

Workers Compensation can be assigned to a certain person in the office to make sure all the data is in one place. Workers Compensation records retention can be an easy process unless you are searching for a piece of paper from 12 years ago.

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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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