Almost 60 Years And Still Going Strong

A Note From The President:

We hope this letter finds you and your business off to a good start for the year. It’s been a busy six months: the FHM team has been working hard to find more and better ways to serve our policyholders and agents as they work their way through our ever-changing economy. This letter addresses one way the changes in our economy have led to changes in your workplaces – increasing occurrences of fraud – and recommends five steps you can take to reduce your company’s risk. But first, I want to tell you about another FHM milestone.

Approaching 60 Years

The year 2012 sees FHM approaching its 60th anniversary of operation. As we look forward to this milestone, we are proud to say FHM remains firmly grounded in the two principles that its founders set forth when the company began: delivering the highest quality of service and the “lowest ultimate cost” in workers’ compensation through cutting-edge cost containment, loss control and safety and fraud programs; and establishing and maintaining a strong financial base in order to weather changes in the market and economy. We are pleased to say that as we approach our 60th year, FHM is financially strong and that the FHM team is ready to tackle the next 60 years with the same enthusiasm it has exhibited in the past.

Honoring these principles has carried us through 60 years of growth and service to employers in the Southeast and given us deep financial roots that have helped us weather economic storms and allowed us to strategically increase our book of business. As you know, in the last few years, FHM has expanded throughout the Southeast to help even more employers create and manage safe workplaces and provide timely, appropriate care for injured employees.

In thinking about this milestone, we believe our founders would be pleased to know that FHM’s service area now extends to seven states in the Southeast including Florida, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky and Virginia. Our founders may not have envisioned our service area would expand throughout the Southeast, but they certainly did envision we would still be in business because of the solid foundation they gave us.

Fraud Levels Increasing

Even though there are signs the economy is beginning to show indications of getting back on its feet, we continue to see fraud levels creeping upward, particularly in the area of prescription drug abuse. This could be due to the economic conditions, to a reduction in some employer-based health insurance benefits, to a growth in “pill mills,” often acting under the guise of a pain management clinic or to the increase in unscrupulous medical providers. We urge you to pay close attention to the behavior of your employees and remind you to contact us if you suspect fraudulent activity. For more information about identifying possible workers’ compensation fraud, go to the Fraud section of our website or contact your adjuster or the FHM Fraud Unit.

At the same time, we cannot stress enough the importance of using sound hiring practices, including doing background checks and, after a conditional offer of employment is made, a check of the public records to determine if there have been reports of workers’ compensation fraud. On the SAFETYnet section of our website, a list of websites to assist you with your hiring and screening procedures can be found.

Regardless of the tools you use, FHM recommends the following 5 steps to strengthen your hiring process:

  1. Request and follow up with references.
  2. Include a question on the employment application asking applicants to list any criminal convictions, guilty pleas, pleas of nolo contendere or no contest and withhold of adjudication. Be sure the application notifies applicants that any false statements on the application will be grounds for a decision not to hire the applicant and immediate termination if the applicant is hired.
  3. Conduct a criminal history background check. Include the sexual predator background check when appropriate. If you use an outside vendor to conduct any criminal history or other background checks, you must comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act which contains detailed notice and disclosure requirements. For more information about the Fair Credit Reporting Act’s requirements, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website.
  4. If you are a Drug-Free Workplace, require a pre-employment drug test.
  5. After a conditional offer of employment is made but before the person starts work, have the person complete a post-offer medical questionnaire that includes a question about previous workers’ compensation claims. Ensure there is a statement advising that any false statements are grounds for revoking the conditional offer of employment and immediate termination. When the questionnaire is complete, perform a workers’ compensation background check. Please note that the Americans with Disabilities Act contains specific requirements for employers regarding the confidentiality of medical information.

It is important to remember, however, that you may make employment decisions based on an applicant’s criminal history or information you learn through criminal or medical background checks only if the information is job-related to the position in question and consistent with business necessity. Your state may also have special rules governing background checks or medical records. You should seek the advice of your employment lawyer if you have any questions about the above standard, the Fair Credit Reporting Act or the laws of your state.

In addition, FHM’s Loss Control Consultants are ready to assist you in fine tuning your hiring processes and showing you how to access free and low-cost resources to use in completing thorough background checks. Contact our Loss Control department at 1-888-346-3461 ext. 6312 or visit us on the web for more information.

Pay Attention to Safety

It is always important to pay attention to workplace safety. As always, our Loss Control Consultants are available to work with you to identify and implement safety programs to increase awareness of the need for safety and to connect you with vendors who can provide products and services to enhance the safety of your working environment.

Technology Enhancements

We are continuing to push hard to create a paperless workplace, to constantly improve our website – including adding a number of workplace safety training tools – and to increase policyholders’ ability to access ever-greater amounts of information about their claims, including online payroll reporting and online bill payment. If you haven’t visited our website recently, I urge you to do so. There is a wealth of tools and resources available to you and your staff.

Our ability to continue to enhance and expand our services and broaden our service area is made possible in large part by the trust and confidence you place in us. We stand firm in our commitment to continue strengthening our sound financial base and to delivering the highest quality of service through a philosophy of “A Policy To Do More®.”

As always, we appreciate the trust and confidence you place in our company. We look forward to working closely with you well into the future as we continue to strengthen our foundation, spread our reach and enhance the products and services you rely on to maintain a safe workplace.

Sincerely,

Bill Bond, Jr.
President

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