4 Factors to Consider When Choosing a Workers Compensation Carrier

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By Travelers
7 minutes
Two assembly line workers, working together

Managing the risk of workplace injuries and optimizing operational efficiency is paramount to the success and sustainability of a manufacturing business. Partnering with the right insurance carrier – one with direct industry and ergonomic expertise – can assist with risk mitigation and could help position your company to thrive in the age of advanced manufacturing.

A strong relationship with your workers compensation insurance carrier may provide opportunities to reduce ergonomic and other workplace risks, control costs and create a safer, more productive operational environment. It’s important to choose a carrier that complements your business operations with experience, tools and flexibility in claim services. Look for the opportunity to build a collaborative relationship that helps optimize your efforts to enhance safety, reduce injuries and facilitate claims more effectively.

By maintaining a strategic partnership with a carrier that brings specialized expertise to help you develop the right risk management and ergonomic solutions to your manufacturing operation, you may be better positioned to protect your employees, reputation and bottom line.

Here are four important factors to look for when choosing a workers compensation insurance provider to support your business and its ergonomic risk management needs.

1. Takes a Holistic Approach to Ergonomic Risk Management

To better evaluate and mitigate the potential impact of ergonomic-related injuries, smart manufacturers consider all aspects of daily operations, work environment design and employee well-being. It’s an ongoing cycle of assessing risk and then making incremental adjustments to improve the safety of the way work is performed as well as the work environment itself. The best workers compensation providers will have ergonomic specialists who can recommend customized, holistic solutions to help you address your company’s specific ergonomic needs.

A qualified, competent business insurance provider will have experience in all facets of ergonomic injury prevention and incident management. They will use leading-edge techniques and technology to deliver insights to help you understand the risks and help you choose the right interventions to implement at the right time. Choose a provider that offers your internal teams ongoing support to develop and deliver organization-wide initiatives to reduce the frequency and severity of common ergonomic injuries like musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and back injuries. Find a carrier that specializes in:

  • Conducting ergonomic assessments of facilities and processes.
  • Collecting and analyzing data to inform recommendations.
  • Offering consults for workstations and processes with ergonomics and efficiency in mind.
  • Consulting with management on ergonomic programs.
  • Addressing workplace factors that can contribute to ergonomic issues such as fatigue and repetitive tasks.
  • Collaborating with customers to help them deploy cost-effective, ergonomic- enhancing processes and technologies.
  • Sharing employee engagement and leadership education opportunities.

Quantifying the effectiveness of ergonomic interventions.

Ergonomic Solutions at Work

During an equipment manufacturer’s virtual Kaizen event, a Travelers ergonomics specialist collaborated with the company’s plant team to assess the potential causes of employee musculoskeletal disorders and recommend solutions. The practical, cost-effective courses of action included process improvements to reduce lifting and manual material handling as well as layout improvements and the integration of powered tools into the assembly processes to reduce employee exertion.

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Kaizen events are live, interactive events where our specialists can help teams discover specific process design concerns, driven by employee experience, and support their teams’ design improvements.

Ivana Wireman, CPE, CSP, Sr. Specialist, Human Factors and Ergonomics, Travelers

From risk assessment to return-to-work, Travelers’ certified ergonomics specialists provide data-driven insights, conduct AI-enhanced evaluations and offer industry-leading consultative services to deliver short- and long-term solutions designed to help instill a culture of safety throughout your organization.

Leveraging exclusive, continuous improvement-inspired Ergonomic Job Improvement Process (EJIP) – an industry-leading consulting service that works collaboratively with our customers to identify and control ergonomic risk in the workplace – Travelers specialists help manufacturers analyze risk factors, provide critical leadership training and recommend ergonomic improvements engineered to get results.

Ergonomic Solutions at Work

Choose a workers compensation provider that is equipped to provide specific recommendations for ways you can reduce employee injuries, enhance workplace safety and improve efficiency such as:

  • Material-handling solutions.
  • Adjustable workstations.
  • Lighting solutions.
  • Tools and fixtures.
  • Task redesign.
  • Workplace layout.

2. Leverages Advanced Risk Assessment, Analytics and Reporting Tools

A comprehensive risk assessment process is the foundation of an effective ergonomics strategy. From the field to the factory floor, the analysis of workplace environments, manufacturing processes and job tasks is essential to ensuring you have the information you need to make improvements that can help your operation remain ergonomically sound and aligned with modern workplace standards.

Data, insights and industry benchmarking are great resources – but their true value lies in the solutions they inform. Choose an insurance provider that combines ergonomic expertise with leading-edge technology and data to help you assess risks in your manufacturing processes. These assessments can help you make informed decisions about the workplace improvements that will have the most impact on your operations.

Look for a workers compensation provider that offers the flexibility to evaluate your facility and operations in the way that works best for your business – whether that’s on-site or virtually. You’ll want access to a dedicated team with highly specialized knowledge and experience in the manufacturing industry. The team should be able to conduct in-depth evaluations and help you implement specific solutions based on facts reported in the facility assessment.  

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Some carriers may recommend tools to help manufacturers analyze job risk but they don’t necessarily have the expertise to develop solutions. Data alone will not unlock effective ergonomic solutions. Both data and expertise are needed to decrease worker injuries and streamline operations.

Mary Ellen Ausenbaugh, CSP, ARM, Technical Director, Human Factors and Ergonomics, Travelers

Travelers is one of the first insurance carriers to offer AI-enhanced ergonomic assessments that can be conducted at the customer site, via cellphone video or the Travelers Virtual Visit tool, or a combination of on-site and virtual. Our Human Factors and Ergonomic Specialists use a variety of industry-leading risk analysis models, which integrate the latest research to analyze manufacturing processes, focusing on the “vital few” industrial tasks that are most likely to cause worker injury or illness.

Travelers leverages AI-enhanced technology to analyze video of the motion, exertion and postures of employees at work and assigns an overall risk score to prioritize findings. Aided by state-of-the-art software, ergonomics professionals are able to quantify the risk and develop consultative solutions to help improve worker safety. We deliver concise, detailed reports that include immediate and long-range recommendations to improve workstations and workplace design within your facilities.

Ergonomic Solutions at Work

A building products manufacturer leveraged Travelers’ AI-enhanced assessment tools and ergonomic specialist analysis to determine that a task requiring workers to manually move large carts in its manufacturing plant was assessed with a “very high” risk of causing injury. This finding prompted the company to make key improvements to its process, adding low-force casters to reduce the effort required to move the carts and a raised deck for easier unloading and loading. The company also improved plant floors and switched to smaller loads in the carts. These efforts paid off by reducing the manufacturer’s overall risk index for this task by 66%.1

3. Deploys Effective Education and Training Resources

The success of any workers compensation program largely depends on an organization-wide culture of safety. This includes awareness of and adherence to best practices for reducing workplace incidents and injuries. It requires commitment at all levels of an organization, from the highest rung of leadership to each frontline worker. To help nurture a culture of safety in your organization, choose a workers compensation carrier that offers robust educational and training resources that you can leverage to maintain a workplace that is proactive about safety and injury prevention. The key is to engage employees through development and deployment of ergonomic controls.

From orientation to on-the-job skills development and awareness-based safety training, adopting a continuous improvement-like approach to employee onboarding and continuing education is a smart strategy. Look for a carrier equipped with the expertise, tools and ongoing support you need to help your ergonomic safety controls remain effective as your manufacturing operations adapt when processes, equipment and technology evolve.

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Our ergonomic team training provides hands-on practice using easily scored methods to solve a company’s real-world problems in their workspace and quantify risk reduction. At the end of the training, teams have impactful results to sustain continuous improvement efforts.

Josh Kerst, CPE, CIE, Sr. Human Factors and Ergonomics Specialist, Travelers

Travelers’ ergonomics specialists can work together with a company’s internal teams to provide customized, interactive training sessions and workshops – in person or virtually –  covering topics from workstation design and musculoskeletal disorders to risk factor identification methods and assessment tools.

These ergonomics specialists can also help guide leaders through the process of creating a task force to help engage and involve workers in addressing ergonomic issues. They can train ergonomics teams to help them assess key hazards that may lead to injury and develop solutions that reduce risk and improve productivity. Equally important, following team training, they remain available to aid your company in achieving its continuous ergonomic improvement goals over time.

Ergonomic Solutions at Work

Travelers’ ergonomics specialists consulted with an automotive components manufacturer who determined that installing new material-handling equipment onto the factory floor could substantially reduce material handling and worker strain. The necessary adjustments and improvements were implemented. As a result, the company reported decreases in key ergonomic risk factors,2 with the added bonus of increased productivity:

reduction in manual material-handling frequency.

overall ergonomic risk reduction based on PAT (postural assessment technique) scores.

shorter cycle time to complete the process.

4. Prioritizes Employee-Centric Claim Management and Return-to-Work Support

Even with the best ergonomic controls and practices in place, injuries and illness can happen. When they do, efficient and effective claim management and return-to-work strategies can be critical to ensure a strong recovery and a safe, smooth and medically appropriate transition back to work.

The right workers compensation carrier can help support return-to-work, which in turn helps lower claim costs. From designing workstations that can accommodate individual ergonomic needs and help prevent reinjury, to educating family and co-workers on how to provide appropriate post-injury management and recovery support to injured employees, robust support from an insurance provider with specialized expertise can help your business improve worker safety and reduce costs.

Choose the carrier that integrates innovative digital tools, advanced performance analytics and specialized services to streamline and humanize the claim and recovery process. Partner with a team you can rely on to consistently deliver the personalized, proactive support and care your employees and your business need – every time you need it.

Travelers provides industry-leading workers compensation claim capabilities and services designed to help businesses improve safety, optimize claim experiences and reduce costs.

Helps employees smoothly navigate the workers compensation system from the time of injury to their return to work.

Creates one-on-one, personalized connections with nurses to support injured employees through the claim process

Personalized data analysis and reporting tools identify trends driving loss costs to inform mitigation strategies that improve safety.

Address physical and psychosocial risk factors to provide injured employees with holistic health support.

Specialized Medical Audit and Review Team (SMART) analyzes medical bills to identify trends driving workers compensation costs to inform mitigation plans.

Advanced modeling identifies cases with likelihoods of post-injury chronic pain that may benefit from proactive intervention.

Workers Compensation Digital Advantage

Travelers’ suite of exclusive, industry-leading digital tools and capabilities are designed to improve and enhance the claim management experience.

MyTravelers® for Injured Employees

An online experience that engages and empowers injured employees to take an active role in their recovery.

Virtual Visit

A dynamic, real-time video tool allows injured employees to easily connect with Claim and nurse professionals throughout the recovery process.

Predictive Modeling

Advanced data and analytic tools help ensure effective and timely deployment of potential cost-saving, outcome-improving interventions.

Get Started with a Great Workers Compensation Insurance Carrier

Investing in a workers compensation insurance partner knowledgeable in ergonomics can help you improve safety and better facilitate claims and potentially reduce the risks, costs and overall impact of ergonomic injuries on your organization. When evaluating a provider, it’s important to consider the unique needs of your manufacturing workplace and workforce.

Contact Travelers to learn more about how our industry-leading, innovative ergonomics services, solutions and specialists can help your company establish the necessary controls to help prevent ergonomic injuries. When injuries happen, Travelers can help you understand how to improve an employee’s experience while reducing the impact of the loss on your business’s productivity and profitability.


1Based on Travelers proprietary risk rating scale, AI-Enhanced Ergonomic Assessments, Feb. 2021 - Feb. 2022.
2Travelers claim data, October 31, 2019 – October 30, 2022

Manufacturing employee working with advanced technology.

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