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, 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. Meanwhile, in 2011, workers’ compensation benefits paid to injured workers actually rose, costing American employers $77.1 billion.

Clearly, according to Aflac's survey, U.S. companies stand to benefit by offering accident insurance, but the fact that workers' compensation benefit costs are rising suggests fewer companies are covering their employees and are paying more in the long run.

“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.”

Elliot continued by stating these findings mean companies can often decrease the frequency and expense of their workers' compensation claims by making voluntary accident and disability insurance available to their employees.

For the purposes of the survey, a small employer was defined as one with 3–99 employees. Medium employers had 100–499 employees, while large employers had 500 or more.

Lieberman Research Worldwide is a large, privately held marketing research consultancy that works in product development, brand strategy and tracking, customer experience, market segmentation, pricing, and more. The Workers’ Compensation Report reflects a survey conducted in November 2013.

Be sure to watch out for the May issue, which will include an article with more information on workers' compensation.