Workers Compensation Records Retention Recommendations
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.
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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