Understanding WSIB’s NEER system more important than ever
Ontario’s workers’ compensation system is on the verge of a major overhaul and employers need to be aware of how this change will impact them.
As part of the administration’s ongoing efforts to eliminate its significant unfunded liability and to modernize operations, the WSIB has proposed Rate Framework changes that are expected to come into effect in 2019. The proposal will significantly change the way employer premiums are set and will eliminate the current process of giving surcharges and refunds based on a company’s claim performance.
Here are a few of the highlights of the rate framework changes:
- New system will eliminate the current NEER (which covers most businesses), CAD-7 (for construction firms), and MAPP (for small businesses) experience ratings programs and replace them with one unified system.
- It will reduce the number of unique rate groups (industry groups) from the current 200+ to about 34 and each employer will be placed into one group, based on its predominant business activity.
- No more “predicting” expected claim costs for a given year and then allocating a refund or additional surcharge if your actual results are different than what was expected.
- Now the WSIB will assign a range of premiums for the entire industry group, with your company falling somewhere along the continuum for that group (known as “risk bands”), depending on your company’s performance. Increases or decreases in claim costs will result in an increase or decrease in next year’s premium (as you move up or down that “risk band” continuum).
- Employers will be on the hook for a longer period of time as the “review window” expands from 4 years to 6 years (with higher weight given to more recent results).
If the NEER system is being replaced, why should employers care about it?
Excellent question. In fact, understanding and improving your company’s current NEER experience is more important than ever.
As the WSIB transitions to the new system it will need to determine where to place your company along the “Risk Band” range for the premiums in your new rate group. Executive Director of Strategic Revenue Policy at the WSIB, Jean-Serge Bidal, recently shared that a significant factor in that decision will be made by looking at your historical experience and claim costs.
Here are some ways to improve your company’s NEER experience now and increase your chances for lower premiums in the new system:
- Reduce the frequency of workplace accidents by actively encouraging an environment of safety.
- Provide modified duties immediately to any injured workers, thereby reducing the number of lost-time claims (make sure that your employee’s doctor knows you have modified work options available that you will customize for their individual abilities and limitations).
- Gain enterprise-wide support for return-to-work options (ensure that everyone is on board and establish an organized, sustainable, consistent plan for your company).
- Object to any WSIB claims that you feel are not legitimate or may be non-occupational in nature (i.e. injured themselves outside of the workplace).
- Request SIEF cost relief when you suspect a pre-existing condition contributed to the injury (or is delaying recovery).
Don’t wait until it is too late to get your company’s NEER experience optimized. Understanding exactly how the current system works is the best way to be prepared for the upcoming new system.
A more detailed look at the proposed changes can be found here.
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