In 2007 the town of Islip hit an 11 year high in lost workdays related to employee workers compensation claims. When it comes to service associated injuries or illness, the resulting lost workdays are essentially uncontrolled absences that can cost a company or, in this case the taxpayers, millions of dollars. Recognizing a hole that was draining the town’s budget, Robert Finnegan, Director of Labor Relations, Personnel and Safety for the Town of Islip took on the challenge of changing practices and performance of a large employee base. It wasn’t all done inside the culture of the workers and staff, though. Finnegan and the town had to make a commitment to a safe work environment for employees and effectively and responsibly manage the risk associated with the work environment.
The good news is that Robert Finnegan and the Town of Islip were up to that challenge. With help from Brady Risk Management, Islip succeeded in developing safe practices and protocols, restructuring safe work settings and implementing the use of proper personal protective equipment. The steps taken have paid off — literally — in the amount of $6.5 million in savings on worker’s compensation over the last three years, no small amount of pocket change for the taxpayers. To top off the financial savings and the increased safety to employees, the Town of Islip has recently been awarded the Theodore Roosevelt Workers’ Compensation and Disability Management Award by Risk and Insurance Magazine, an honor given to companies and non-profits for the efforts they make to cut the number as well as the cost of employee injuries on the job.
The Town of Islip’s road to reduced injuries and increased workdays started out with a humble goal of saving $500,000. The plan of attack included a comprehensive review of programs, service providers, claims management and supervisor accountability. When all was said and done, the Town had far exceeded their initial goal, saving an impressive $2,800,000 in just one year, with Mr. Finnegan crediting the services provided by Brady Risk Management for improving the town’s workers’ compensation accountability and the subsequent savings — all resulting in the Town of Islip being awarded the Theodore Roosevelt honor.
The considerable role that Sean Brady, Peri Rohme and the team at Brady Risk Management played in getting the Town of Islip from an 11 year high in workers’ comp-related lost workdays to an all-time low and saving the Town millions of dollars is based in the invaluable knowledge and skill they have in risk management. The team at BRM did what they do best: reviewing the existing policies, procedures, protocols and techniques for handling claims. They looked into historical losses and compared them to current loss to establish whether or not the practices in place were cost efficient. Being able to lend their analytical skills and expertise in service instructions, Worker’s Compensation and TPA protocols made all the difference when the time came to craft a plan and coordinate procedures that resulted in:
- An 88% reduction in the number of annual worker’s comp claims from 2007 to 2010.
- A 52% reduction of annual incurred claims from 2007 to 2010.
- A 47% reduction in sick day usage from 2007 to 2010 — a total of over 40,000 days.
- A 63% reduction of lost work days.
- A 41% reduction in medical bill expenses between 2008 and 2010 for a savings of $2,385,093.
The percentages and dollar amounts represent a significant change from ineffective policies and protocols that were draining the Town’s budget and depleting its workforce. Currently employee availability has increased by 3% on daily basis. That may not sound like much, but consider that it’s the equivalent of roughly 21 extra employees reporting for work every day. That’s a considerable number that shows just how much more bang for their buck the Town of Islip is getting compared to paying on lost workdays due to workers’ compensation related sick leave.
With the Teddy Roosevelt Award as encouragement, the stage has been set for the Town of Islip to continue down a safety-conscious money-saving road with emphasis on accountability and best practices. Having Brady Risk Management on board to assist in the project was key to the success of the project. The experience they brought to the table in program and risk management and workers compensation consulting was the basis from which crucial changes were made that were necessary to successfully enhance safety and improve employee availability and productivity. The “Teddy” is just the icing on the cake.