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Workers Comp Email – Five Best Practices To Avoid Trouble Later

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Workers Comp Email Still Best Way To Document Communications – Five Quick Rules 

Workers Comp email still provides the best way to document files.  The sender and receiver can both have documentation of the communication in writing.  Some carriers and TPA’s do not add the email directly into the file.  They instead document what was said in the email. 

picture of CRT Memory for workers comp email processing
Public Domain – Ben Greene

These quick workers comp email rules are for insurance personnel and for anyone that needs to communicate with an insurance carrier whether workers comp or not. 

Any carrier or TPA personnel reading this – check with your department’s manual as it may differ from the five rules.  Your manual always wins. 

My advice to anyone calling an insurance company or to anyone working in an insurance company remains the same as I recommended 10 years ago – use email – avoid phoning if possible. 

The five quick rules for workers comp emails and the file are:

  1.  Compose an email as if it may show up in court someday.   As a workers comp expert witness, I have read internal emails that were damning, to say the least.  Do not consider an email private.  We have all learned from social media that what you post cannot be taken back. 
  2.  Always keep an exact copy of the email received for documentation purposes.  Your own documentation of the email may not match its intent.   Even if you have to cut and paste an email right into your notes, do it.   Old school -print it out. 
  3. Do not use company email for personal items.  See #1 above.  Reading through notes as an expert witness, I came across an insurance worker discussing their upcoming divorce with a family member through the insurance carrier’s email.  (ouch!)

    Boxes of workers comp email documents repository shelve
    Wikimedia Commons – The National Archives
  4. Do not use a provider like Yahoomail, Gmail, or Hotmail at your workstation.  Anything that goes through your company’s server is stored somewhere.   I have seen those emails as part of a file’s documentation while serving as an expert witness for a TPA.  Ouch!  
  5. Do not use your company’s servers while using your phone for personal items.  See #4 for why.  Make sure you are on your personal phone provider’s network.   Any supervisor or manager may not like the overuse of your personal phone while at work. 
  6. Bonus – These rules still apply if you are telecommuting.  Sometimes we become more relaxed while working out of our homes.   Bill Gates once said – when you send an email it is stored on at least five servers.   

Next week I am going to cover my 3-3-3 rule for workers comp email or any type of communications.   See you next week.

 

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James Moore

Raleigh, NC, United States

About The Author...

James founded a Workers’ Compensation consulting firm, J&L Risk Mgmt 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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