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A new survey released by Aflac found that 42 percent of all companies providing access to voluntary accident and disability insurance reported declines in their workers’ compensation claims.

The Aflac Workers’ Compensation Report, an online survey conducted by Lieberman Research Worldwide on behalf of Aflac, asked 600 employers from small, medium and large U.S. companies if they provided employees with access to accident or disability insurance and, if so, whether they noted a corresponding decline in workers’ compensation claims. When responses were broken down by company size, the survey found that 55 percent of large companies that provide access to accident insurance experienced declines in workers’ compensation claims, while 34 percent of small- and medium-sized companies each reported declines. These findings are important considering workers’ compensation benefits paid to injured workers in 2011 rose, costing American employers $77.1 billion.

“For years, insurance agents and brokers have heard anecdotal rumors linking voluntary accident and disability insurance to reduced workers’ compensation claims, and we learned the anecdotes are true based on our recent study results,” said Tye Elliott, Aflac vice president of Core Broker Sales. “These findings confirm the correlation between accident and disability insurance and reduced workers’ compensation claims. Employers can now weigh the potential positive financial effects of offering accident and disability insurance against the costs of workers’ compensation claims.”

This study has been reported in main stream media, most of the insurance journals, and the Wall Street Journal. Unfortunately, the study does not provide a financial analysis. Assuming the declines in workers’ compensation claims reduced employer costs, on the other side of the equation, providing voluntary accident and disability insurance to all employees would be an increased cost for employers who do not provide this benefit. The analysis needs to determine if the additional cost is offset by the projected savings. If there is no savings, the concept seems more like cost shifting than cost savings.