UMA Comp: Keeping premiums under control

Workers’ compensation is a fact of life for employers large and small, but not all providers are the same, and the ability of your provider to understand your business can make an important difference in the quality of your coverage.

Bus and motorcoach companies have the advantage of a plan that was designed to address their specific needs: UMA Comp. To precisely address and meet the needs of motorcoach operators, longtime UMA supporter Sackett Cook of TIB, brought the strength of KF&B and PMA Insurance together to work with the United Motorcoach Association to craft a program that operators can count on to protect their companies and their employees. The comprehensive program serves fleets that include vehicles from motorcoaches to limousines and most everything in between.

Today, UMA Comp is one of the association’s most popular member programs, meeting the needs of members in every state and providing expert underwriting to create a comprehensive, high-quality affordable program that gives employers the tools to keep their premiums under control.

“There are so many ways for a company to take a wrong turn when it comes to workers’ compensation,” said Ken Presley, UMA’s vice president, legislative & regulatory affairs & industry relations/COO. “And what seems like a small mistake can have huge consequences.”

For example, underestimating payroll, failing to obtain certificates of insurance from subcontractors, misclassifying employees or encouraging workers to first seek treatment under their group health insurance plan instead of filing for workers’ comp, all are sensitive areas that are fraught with hazards.

“That’s why UMA Comp is so essential,” according to Presley, who helped craft the plan. “Not only is it great coverage, but UMA Comp offers training and support that operators need so they can stay on the right side of the law. And their training can even help companies to lower their premiums by reducing accidents and claims.”

Workers’ compensation is not just protection for employees; it provides essential states-mandated protection for the employer, too. A mistake in the way a plan is implemented can be costly enough to put an operator out of business and into serious legal jeopardy.


Controlling costs

Because workers’ compensation is regulated at the state level, premiums and coverage vary, but there are also many similarities. Premiums are determined by the state’s base rate for a classification (such as drivers, etc.) and then adjusted according to payroll and what is called an employer’s experience modifier, or “x-mod.”

The experience modifier is typically the only factor employers can influence. The x-mod is based on the employer’s previous three years of workers’ compensation claims assigned to those companies that have better than average claims (excluding the most current year) versus their paid premium. An x-mod of less than 1.0 is assigned to those companies that have better than average claims, which helps reduce their premiums from the base rate. Companies with higher than average claims earn an x-mod that’s higher than 1.0 and would see an increase to their premiums from the base rate. The experience modification factor is also affected by the severity of claims and the employer size, determined by payroll.

It’s important for companies to consult their insurance agent to determine ways to implement a workplace safety program that is aimed at reducing workers’ compensation incidents. By learning to manage the process through monitoring loss runs and keeping open communication with their insurance broker and claims adjusters, companies can help reduce the severity of claims. In doing so, they can, hopefully, lower their premiums over time.

“In the insurance world, workers’ compensation programs have a way of blowing up after a few years, usually through losses and poor underwriting. This relationship is now well over a decade old, indicative of great oversight including top-of-the line underwriting and claims management,” said Presley. “Bus and motorcoach companies looking for long-term solutions to control their workers’ compensation costs will benefit from taking a look at a UMA Comp proposal at renewal.”

Through UMA Comp, PMA offers services that can help companies work toward the goal of lower premiums that can outperform other providers. Those include:

  • Claims Management. The value that PMA delivers is enhanced by industry-leading programs to ensure quality, prevent fraud and manage litigation. PMA’s specialized services for large accounts include:
  • PMA Account Management. A structured program designed to optimize each insured’s performance. A designated team of risk management professionals identifies the most significant loss drivers, organizational needs and special servicing requirements, creates a customized action plan and is accountable for results.
  • A designated claims service manager who serves as a single point of contact for insureds and serves as their liaison, overseeing and coordinating services.
  • Transportation Safety-PMA risk control professionals that provide expertise, training and ongoing guidance to help insureds manage their fleets. Their services focus on three key areas: driver selection and hiring, driver training and general fleet safety. They provide guidance on best practices hiring procedures, including motor vehicle record report evaluation; offer driver training in-person through classes and workshops, and online with tools that enable employees to participate at their convenience; offer consultation services that provide best practices for vehicle maintenance programs and vehicle loss control strategies, including driver monitoring programs and the effective use of new transportation technologies, e.g., GPS. Upon request, PMA can audit the client’s existing fleet safety program or help the client develop a new formal fleet safety program.
  • Benchmarking Data. As part of their risk control program, PMA provides detailed loss analysis information to insureds according to their needs. These metrics, including industry comparisons and insightful year-to year analysis, help an organization determine if they are at a competitive business advantage compared to their industry peers and serve as a foundation for risk control intervention and planning.
  • Online Training/PMA Organizational Safety Institute. PMA delivers a very successful web-based training series for insureds led by highly credentialed PMA risk control consultants under the auspices of the Organizational Safety Institute. The Institute offers online learning to insureds about emerging best practices in organizational safety efforts.
  • Account Management. To ensure that insureds’ accounts are consistently performing at high levels, PMA delivers a structured Account Management Program. Insureds are partnered with a team consisting of an underwriting account executive, risk control consultant, and claims service manager. account management team members:
    • Identify the accounts’ most significant loss drivers, organizational needs and special servicing requirements;
    • Create a customized integrated action plan;
    • Monitor activities/results and reports on achievements.
  • Complex Bill Review. Complex bills undergo an additional layer of scrutiny by our team of nurses and highly trained coders. Our nurse examiners apply clinical guidelines, ensuring appropriate billing based on clinical reports. Our expert coders review bills for compliance with complex state-mandated rules and regulations.
  • Claim Reporting Options. PMA insureds have the convenience of reporting claims in the manner most suited to their needs—PMA Cinch®, our internet-based risk management information system; on-line; phone; fax; or mail—any time of the day or night. Insureds are provided immediate confirmation and claim number assignment for claims reported electronically. Acknowledgement letters are sent to all designated insured contacts for all reported claims.

The PMA Insurance Group, headquartered in Pennsylvania, provides workers’ compensation coverage to bus and limousine operators through its UMA Comp program for United Motorcoach Association members. The program administrator is KF&B, Inc. Contact Director Ron Schwarz  at (951) 850-7509.

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