A Child's View of Workers' Comp

My daughter, then age six, was "helping" me with some client reports and cut to the essence of what workers' comp should be about.


Step back and consider how simple workers' comp should be.

If every professional from all corners of our industry took time away from their narrow daily focus and considered the big picture in general terms, we might all experience a collective re-setting of the communal respect we should carry for the essence of workers' comp's intent.

One evening in 2005, my daughter, then six years old, was "helping" me do work in my office. (As my good clients know, on any given day Risk Acuity might run a robust second or third shift!) I was reconciling a monthly pile of client first-reports, and she was making sure my finished stack was in date-order. At one point, she decided to create a report of her own on a blank paper, mimicking the lines, boxes and random numbers.

When she showed me her finished product, I was puzzled. In one area, she wrote "Jhon Elbort." Near the top, she wrote "Broke hes legs." Every other line was either blank or filled with a scribble. I asked if she wanted to know the kinds of information she could make up for other boxes (like the date, doctor's name, birthday, address, etc.). She replied, "If he broke his legs, why do you need to know anything else?"

If only every aspect of our industry had such simple respect for this essence. In a perfect world of integrity, we would all uphold our ends of the bargain. Imagine employers, claim providers, doctors and employees making honest efforts to support what the system should be and make reasonable expectations about the limits of what the system owes. This would obviate most of the other tactical, legal and profit-driven "busy work" we all do that has no direct impact on an injured person's recovery.

We should never forget that WC is all about the employee experience.

Needless to say, Jhon Elbort's first report remains framed on my wall.

Barry Thompson

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Barry Thompson

Barry Thompson is a 35-year-plus industry veteran. He founded Risk Acuity in 2002 as an independent consultancy focused on workers’ compensation. His expert perspective transcends status quo to build highly effective employer-centered programs.


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