Self Insured Solutions Forms California’s First Agricultural Workers’ Comp Self-insured Group

December 6, 2004

Following up on the establishment of the California Contractors Network — a self-insured group (SIG) for high-risk employers — Self Insured Solutions has created California’s first Agricultural self-insured group.

“We’re already inside the ten yard line with this new SIG,” according to Tom Wheeler, president of Self Insured Solutions. “We’ve completed our filing with the state Office of Self Insurance Plans, and expect to have a start date of January 1, 2005 for our new group, the California Agricultural Network — CANSIG. Our game plan is set, and we’re ready to start scoring for some of California’s most well known and respected fruit and nut growers.

By the time our members watch this year’s Super Bowl,” Wheeler pointed out, “we predict that CANSIG will be saving growers 10 to 25 percent on workers’ comp.”

Initial participants in CANSIG include prominent California growers such as Dave Wilson Nursery, Mid Valley Nut and Ronald Martella Farms.

Self Insured Solutions’ existing SIG, California Contractors Network, now has more than $22 million in annualized contributions, making CCN California’s largest and most successful construction-based self-insured group fund. “Just as with the members of CCN,” Wheeler explained, “members of CANSIG will receive a substantial savings on workers’ compensation costs, and will accrue significant other financial and employee-relations benefits as well.”

Wheeler said that the typical employer with 50 full-time workers participating in one of SIS’s self-insured groups saves from 10 to 25 percent of their annual workers’ comp costs. And there are additional benefits to be found.

“Our aggressive safety programs further reduce costs by helping employers identify and eliminate the most common causes of on-the-job worker injuries,” Wheeler said. “Taken together, this approach generates significant and sustainable savings for our participants. In a state such as California, where workers’ comp premiums are among the most costly in the nation, these savings can help thousands of small- and mid-sized agricultural businesses to improve profitability. In turn, this permits them to grow, adding new jobs for new employees, and adding to the economic health of the entire state.”

Wheeler said that all of Self Insured Solutions’ self-insured groups generate significant savings for their participating firms, for a variety of reasons, including its aggressive claims resolution system. “Our Self Insured Solutions’ team includes skilled investigators who are experienced former police officers who swiftly investigate all claims,” Wheeler said. “Their mandate is clear — swiftly and efficiently pay in full all legitimate claims, enabling workers to recover and return to work in the minimum medically prudent time. At the same time, we also quickly deny all fraudulent claims, saving our participating companies significant claims costs, and ensuring that all legitimate claims have full access to all resources. This two pronged approach — paying in full all legitimate claims while quickly denying all fraudulent claims — keeps costs down. This approach also ensures that all of our covered injured workers receive all the medical care they need, with no delay.”

Over nearly a decade, in a growing number of self-insured groups managed by the 32-member team that makes up Self Insured Solutions, the approach to handling on-the-job injury claims has helped thousands of workers to recover and quickly return to work and saved its member-employers anywhere from 10 to 25 percent in their overall workers’ comp costs.

“We’re excited about forming this new group,” Wheeler said. “California’s agricultural industry is crucial to a healthy state economy, and for too long, farmers have had no alternative but to participate in the costly, inefficient state-run system. By freeing growers from concerns about California’s troubled workers’ compensation system — one of the most critical overhead costs burdening our farmers — we help them concentrate on doing what they do best: feeding the world.

“The Self Insured Solutions’ distinctive group self insurance model has proven incredibly effective, for a variety of industries and over many years,” Wheeler said. “With the formation of CANSIG, we are simply duplicating the costs-saving success template we created in 1995, and have been providing to our growing number of other groups for nearly a decade.

“We strongly believe in group self insurance as the single best way for smaller employers — farmers or other employers with as few as 25 full-time employees — to manage their workers’ comp costs,” Wheeler pointed out. “With proven savings of anywhere from 10 to 25 percent or more on worker’s comp costs, any group of employers who are paying more than $7 or $8 dollars per hundred of payroll should really think about starting or joining a self-insured group. Our experience — right here in California — shows that our model works. We’re ready to help any small- or mid-sized employer who’s serious about getting into group self insurance.”

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