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Certified Return Receipt Mail – Old School Workers Comp Life Saver


Certified Return Receipt Mail – Workers Comp CYA

The use of Certified Return Receipt Mail may seem out-of-date in the age of Facebook, Twitter,  etc.   However, when the chips are down, having that little green card in your Worker Comp file is like a stroll on the beach – very comforting.

Picture of Certified Return Receipt Mail Forms
Self Use License

This article began as one on subrogation and ended up covering more ground.  I have often heard recently that emailing a Workers Comp form or letter is the same thing as mailing it.   You may want to check that statement as having the recipient’s signature verifying receipt of a letter you mailed to them can be very helpful.

I decided to take a live picture of what one looks like and then send you with a link to the Postal Service on how to fill them out properly.   The mistake most often made with Certified Return Receipt mail is not including your return address on the green postcard.

You may wish to read the US Postal Service’s pages on Certified Mail.  The file is a PDF worth downloading and reading.

This information may sound juvenile.  However, our file reviews show that very important documents are sent by claim staff with no way to prove the addressee received it.    My local Postmaster said that Certified Return Receipt mail does not go through the system slower than any other First Class mail.  Obtaining the receiver’s signature may take extra time.  The green signature card is returned to the sender by First Class Mail.

Make sure that your claims processing manual or supervisor is OK with paying the $6+ in postage.

USPS Tracking Number Certified Return Receipt Mail First Class Mail
Public Domain By Rick Stambaugh

If the recipient refuses to sign the green return card, that is also noted by the Postal Service.   The many uses for Workers Comp adjusting are (in my order of importance):

  1. Subrogation letters to another carrier or third party.  Using Certified Mail can save you many headaches later if someone says,  “I never received that letter.”  The green signature card may be all you have to save the day later in a subrogation claim.  This has saved me often.
  2. Workers comp forms – state mandated claim closure forms that do not require the recipients signature may be a good idea.
  3.  A payment with a deadline – many adjusters have at one time had to pay a penalty and explain to their supervisor/manager and even worse- the insured or TPA client why there is a penalty assessed on the file for late payment (bad scene).    Most states have increased the penalties for late settlement payments.  Remember, the date they received it is critical, not when you made the payment.
  4. When a PO Box is involved – UPS and FedEx as a general rule do not deliver to PO Boxes.   I made the mistake many years ago overnighting a check to a PO Box.   I had a lot of explaining to do – see bad scene in #3.
  5. If another party involved says they did not receive something, you may want to send it Certified Return Receipt mail the second time.  Unless you have a bad address, this quickly takes care of the situation.
  6. If someone has bad mail service – there are instances where someone may just not have good mail service to their address.   We sometimes receive mail 15 – 21 days after it was mailed First Class in a neighboring state.   The cheapest tracer is Certified Return Receipt Mail.

If you have sent Certified Mail, you can track the receipt number at the USPS website to see where it is in the mail system.   The one negative on time management is the receipt must be stamped by a Postal Employee to be valid.

The Postal Service website is a little slow right now with the holiday mail.

Certified Return Receipt and First Class Mail are registered trademarks of the US Postal System, all rights reserved.

©J&L Risk Management Inc Copyright Notice


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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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