You might think workers’ compensation coverage is pretty straightforward, and you’d be right—to a point. A nursing home in Massachusetts with 100 employees has similar, though not identical, coverage to one across the border in New Hampshire.
Where those points diverge is on the law and the regulations that frame it. No two states are alike. Back in 1911, when Wisconsin was rolling out the first workers’ compensation system in the country, no one could predict how coverage would evolve.
Given the inner workings, it’s no surprise the people behind the policy play such a key role. As a workers’ compensation specialist, A.I.M. Mutual has been providing coverage and services for more than 30 years. With more than 18,000 policies to produce annually, that’s a tall order.
“Whether it’s a quote, endorsement, renewal, or reinstatement, we rely on our production staff to review and process each request that comes across their desk,” said Abi Troy, Vice President of Operations. “That reflects a certain level of experience and dedication that we really appreciate, and it has allowed us to meet and often exceed standards across the board.”
Today all New England states require employers to have workers’ compensation insurance in place, regardless of whether the business is large or small. Meeting the statutory requirements is the employer’s responsibility, yet policyholders often look to their carriers for help.
Once underwriting has done its job, the policy production team takes over, processing all policy transactions. The clock starts ticking right away since turnaround times are mandated. That’s all in a day’s work for Rating, Statistical, and Office Services, where everyone is accustomed to meeting service requests on demand.
Like a puzzle, each production department is a piece that touches another. When the pieces click into place, so does the successful start of another coverage period. Brokers and policyholders know they can get same-day answers to questions ranging from certificate requests to policy information.
The Processing Hub
Rating is where the policy changes happen, and they come from all directions. Brokers, policyholders and state bureaus forward their requests through any number of channels.
Some states, like Massachusetts, have their own bureau responsible for setting workers’ compensation requirements. More often, though, states defer to National Council on Compensation Insurance guidelines. If a business operates in more than one state, it can easily find itself dealing with very different rules. Consider too the involuntary market has a set of standards that differs from the voluntary market.
Raters review all information for accuracy, reaching out to brokers if necessary. They input transactions, flag items for future reference, and send all items to be stored electronically. Working closely with other departments, including underwriting, audit, claim, and premium receivables, they keep pace with ever-changing rates and regulations.
And their efforts get noticed. “Doing business with A.I.M. Mutual is a pleasure,” said Brad Howes with McCrillis & Keep Insurance Agency. “You can teach the world a thing or two about service.”
The final process in policy production is reporting. Virtually all transactions processed in rating are compiled for state and NCCI oversight.
A.I.M. Mutual’s own statistical team pores over the reported data to identify issues and any action items. Throughout the life of the policy, an Error Specialist examines reported information for accuracy, making corrections as necessary. Once a policy has been audited, a Statistical Analyst reviews all the data, looking at premium and loss experience for policyholders. The team is well-versed in procedure regarding all policy activity, how each step interrelates and state-by-state requirements.
Getting the policy, renewal, or endorsement to where it needs to be rests squarely on the shoulders of Office Services. Automation has transformed how physical policies get issued. While some states allow for electronic delivery, many still require carriers to issue paper. Upon receipt from Rating, Office Services prints, bar codes, and mails the policy. A process that used to take days just a few years ago now happens in hours.
Office Services also handles document imaging, which brings big benefits to both the policy and claim sides. Advances in indexing software continue to speed up the information exchange, and, by extension, customer service. Whether correspondence comes in electronically or by mail, it’s captured, securely stored, and immediately accessible to claim adjusters and the service team.
Certificates of Insurance—a top request from brokers and policyholders—are also streamlined electronically. They are generally processed same-day, along with requests for loss runs or changes to contact information.
Expediting service requests is everyone’s job at A.I.M. Mutual, but the policy production team does earn praise from brokers and agents in a hurry to get answers.
“I really do love A.I.M. Mutual and the service everyone I contact provides,” said Jean D’Addario, Senior Account Executive with Salem Five Insurance Services. “I deal with many carriers and you win hands down!”
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NINA LaFAUCI is Rating Supervisor at A.I.M. Mutual and has over 25 years of commercial and personal lines experience. As a licensed property and casualty broker, Nina has experience in rating, underwriting, statistical reporting, claims services and creative problem solving.
MICHAEL FREED is the Fleet & Office Services Manager responsible for several service departments, the corporate fleet of vehicles, and corporate facilities. He joined A.I.M. Mutual in 2002, working in Information Technology, and transitioned to his current role in 2017. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Information Technology from Bentley University.