Professional Services

Workers’ Compensation for Professional Services: Accountants, Architects, Attorneys, Consultants, Engineers

With a predominantly white-collar workforce, workers’ compensation insurance for professionals is often easy to come by. The cost of work comp coverage is much lower than average due to the low frequency of claims and lower than average severity when the claims do occur.

Most professional firms are small with one location. There a few national firms doing business in all 50 states.

  • The workforce tends to be well educated and does not present any significant challenges for the work comp insurer.
  • They are highly motivated to return to work if injured.
  • Employers may have to require them to stay out of work long enough to fully heal as they may wish to come back to work too soon.
  • Some employers require a “fit for duty” release from a company doctor before injured employee may return to work.

Professional firms normally do not have a safety program. There are few safety issues as most facilities are designed with the safety of the employees and the safety of the general public in mind.

The availability of medical care depends upon the location of the employee at the time of injury.

  • Office employees in metropolitan areas will have more medical options than employees working in small towns.
  • Selection of medical providers will depend upon the state where the injury occurs.

When there are injuries the indemnity benefits for injured employees tend to be higher due to income level of the white-collar employees of the professional firms.

  • Long term disability occurs very infrequently due to the normal low severity of injuries in this industry.
  • Occupational illnesses and the associated indemnity benefits are also very rare with professional firms.
  • Carpal tunnel is one of the most frequent exposuresfor these employees because they use computers continuously.
    • They may be career-minded individuals who work well past the point of pain developing, to the stage where they may require surgery.
    • Early identification programs are key in such a workplace.

Some categories of professional services providers that would have the same or similar work comp issues (low frequency and low severity) include:

  • Attorneys
  • Engineers
  • Architects
  • Accountants
  • Consultants
  • Physicians
  • Dentists
  • Corporate executives
  • Real estate agents and brokers
  • Ministers
  • Retail sales
  • Insurance brokers

Transitional / Modified Duties in the Professional Service Industries

Work in this industry is generally sedentary to light in nature and tasks are easily modified to accommodate restrictions on a temporary basis.

  • Employee will need to spend less time on the computer If the injury is a cumulative trauma (such as carpal tunnel.)
  • An ergonomist should review all work stations to make necessary adjustments to reduce such injuries.
  • Placement with a non-profit agency could be a good fit in this industry for professionals eager to return to work who cannot perhaps due to the repetitive nature of their work, for example on a computer.

Temporary transitional work accommodations include:

Consultants: Work could be done telephonically or via webinar when restricted from travel perhaps with a leg fracture.
Physicians: Allow sedentary duty to work on reports, charting or research if restricted from walking that prohibits patient exams.
Office Workers: Identify tasks such as filing, data entry or light cleaning that need attention in the office.
Reading Room: Start a reading program where employees can read and record books for the blind, or for non-reading employees.

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