Employers with sufficient assets can self insure their L&I claims. These self insured employers manage their L&I claims in house or with the help of a service company. Employers self insure to save money. One way they save money is by not paying it to injured workers. If you have a self insured claim and a serious injury, you are already at a disadvantage.
It is the job of L&I’s self insured section to oversee self insurers and make sure that they are following the law. However L&I is too busy to look at every self-insured decision. As a result self insured employers often do bad things knowing that L&I is not looking. If you don’t complain, protest or appeal, then they get away with their unfair claims management.
Don’t put up with bad treatment from your claims manager.
If you don’t like how your self insured employer is handling your claim, you need to take action. Become involved, get vocal, do something! Don’t let your self insured employer push you around. Here is what you can do:
• Talk to your self insured claims manager. This is your employer’s HR department or a service company such as Sedgwick, Gallagher Bassett, Pinnacle Risk Management, Eberle Vivian, Penser North America or Matrix. Ask them for an explanation of what they are doing. Tell them what you think. If they are wrong then tell them so and ask for what you want.
• Communicate with the L&I Self Insured Section about your self insured employers behavior. This is L&I. You have a claims manager at L&I, in the self insured section. It is the job of the L&I self insurance section to help you if you are being unfairly treated by your employer and their claims manager.
• Call them at 360-902-6901. Encourage them to do their job and help you with your claim.
•Penalty for delayed benefits If the Self Insured Employer unreasonably delays payment of benefits then you can write to L&I and request a penalty. Self Insured employers are subject to a penalty, RCW 51.48.017. Make them pay you for unreasonable delay of your benefits. Get legal help with this if you need it. Penalties to the Self Insured Employer
Injured workers of Self Insured employers can seek help from the Office of the Ombudsman at anytime during their claim. The Ombudsman can provide injured workers with many resources to address claims discrimination, claims suppression, unnecessary IME’s, delayed time loss payments and denied medical treatment.
Getting the Self Insured employer and their third party administrators to do the right thing is not easy. The Ombudsman’s knows this and is there to help you. It is their job to get involved and to make Self Insured Employers do the right thing.
The Office of the Ombudsman needs to hear from you if you have problems when dealing with these large self insured employers. They need you to report problems with the claims management companies hired by the employer so they can work directly with the employer and their third party claims administrators to resolve the issues delaying proper payment of benefits.
Sometimes a knowledgeable advocate is all you need to push the Self Insured Employer to do the right thing and authorize your benefits. Through the ombudsman, self-insured workers have access to knowledgeable and effective advocates who are able to work in partnership with self-insured personnel. The Ombudsman’s office is there to help you, the worker, receive appropriate benefits under the law.
The Ombudsman can be reached here, Office of the Ombudsman, or by calling 888-317-0493
Telephone – Call for information or a free strategy session – 206-343-1988