Landscape Companies with Low Experience MODs Do These 5 Things

By Drew Garcia, VP of Rancho Mesa

LANDSCAPE companies with a low Experience Modification Rating (XMOD/ EMR) typically exhibit similar best practices when dealing with work- related injuries. Their proactive approach helps close claims faster and return

employees to work sooner than their counterparts. The XMOD/EMR is a unique number assigned to a business that is made up of their historical loss figures and audited payroll information vs. the same information for companies involved in the company’s same industry. Generally, if your business has experienced more claim activity than the industry average, you will have a XMOD/EMR above 1.00. The opposite is true if you have had less claim activity, your XMOD/EMR will be below 1.00. The XMOD/EMR impacts the rates you pay for workers’ compensation by crediting (XMOD/EMR below 1.00) or applying a surcharge (XMOD/EMR above 1.00). Here are the 5 best practices used by landscape companies who have an XMOD/EMR) below 1.00.


If you heard our podcast episode with Roscoe Klausing of Klausing Group, you will hear him coin the phrase an “aggressive return to work program” which was a key component to his company, of more than 70 employees, going 3 years without a lost time accident.

Aggressively finding a way to help bring an injured employee back on

10 The Landscape Professional //September/October 2020

modified work restrictions has long been proven to provide positive outcomes for everyone involved. Benefits of bringing an employee back on modified duties include: Eliminating temporary disability pay- ments from the claim cost.

Lower the dollar amount of medical treatments.

Reduce the overall cost of the claim. Lower the potential impact the claim would have on your XMOD/EMR. Improve injured employee morale.


It is critical to constantly remind your front-line supervisors and employees that they must report all injuries no matter the severity as soon as possible. Studies have shown that work-related injuries reported with the first 5 days have a dramatically lower average claim cost and litigation rates than those reported after 5 days. Two measurable statistics for you to keep an eye on are: The lag time between when an injury is reported to you from an employee.

The amount of time it takes you to re- port this information to your insurance carrier.

By conducting a thorough accident investigation at the time of injury and providing a report to your insurance claim professional, you will speed up the claims process and lower costs. Eliminating the time delays caused by the claim profes- sional waiting for details or additional information is critical in making sure your injured employee is on the fast track to recovery. To assist the landscape industry in completing this necessary step, Rancho Mesa has created a free, fillable, carrier approved accident investigation report for use by the landscape industry at https://www.landscapeprofessionals. org/LP/ToolkitsResources/Business-In- a-Box/HRBiaB/Accident_Forms.aspx.

3. COMMUNICATION Keeping in constant communication with employees who are injured is vital to a positive outcome. At times, the workers’ compensation process can seem slow. Some injuries will take longer than others. This can lead injured employees to feel frustrated and uncertain. Make sure you are addressing their concerns and checking in on them, frequently.

4. KNOW THE BASIC PRINCIPLES BEHIND THE XMOD/EMR You do not need to know the XMOD/ EMR formula, but you should have an understanding of the basic concepts that leads to XMOD/EMR inflation. You should know when your claim information will be sent to your rating bureau for next year’s XMOD/EMR cal- culation and make sure you are familiar with the status of each claim before the information is locked.

If your rating bureau uses a Primary

Threshold or Split Point, it is good to understand how this number impacts claim cost and each claim’s impact on the XMOD/EMR. Know your lowest possible XMOD/

EMR, this would be all your payroll with zero claims. The points between your lowest possible XMOD/EMR and your current XMOD/EMR are the controllable points. Know the policy years that are used to calculate the XMOD/EMR.

5. RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR CARRIER AND CLAIMS PROFESSIONAL The carrier claims professional who handles your injuries can have a huge impact on the outcome of the claim. If you are fortunate enough to have a dedicated claim adjuster assigned to your company, make it a point to call and introduce yourself before the first claim occurs. The adjuster should have a very good understanding of: Your attitude and policy regarding return to work programs.

The level of accident information they will receive from you.

Who will be your company’s main con- tact throughout the claim process?

Consider these five best practices when handling your workers’ compen- sation claims to keep your XMOD/EMR under control and your workers’ compen- sation costs low. TLP


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