Are you ready with enriched disability coverage for your employees or customers?

If you’re running a business or have a full-time career, are raising a family, and managing to juggle the other responsibilities of adulthood, you already know the holidays are stressful. But did you know the months following the holidays are more dangerous than other times of the year?

A study done by The Hartford, one of The DBL Center Ltd.’s top insurance carriers, showed that short-term disability claims went up in January and February. Are you ready?

Why Do Disability Claims Go Up in the Winter?

January and February are challenging months for many people. The rise in prevalence of colds and the flu can lead to increased respiratory illnesses, including pneumonia, which sometimes requires hospitalization and a short-term leave from work. The Hartford study shows that 66 percent of all winter disability claims were illness-related, which also can include depression. Additionally, 22 percent of claims were for pregnancy/childbirth, and 11 percent were due to accidents.Empty table in a conference room

Slips and falls on ice, car accidents, accidents and injuries related to snow shoveling, as well as winter sports injuries all contribute to increased disability claims in the winter. Depression and stress-related illnesses also tend to rise in the northeast during the long, cold winter days. Although the study was completed in 2009, these facts haven’t changed. But there are ways you can make a difference in your workplace.

Focus on Employee Health and Wellness

Encourage employees to take a sick day—and visit a doctor—when they are sick, to help prevent the common cold from turning into pneumonia and to keep them from spreading germs around the office. Frequent hand-washing is shown to be the best way to prevent the spread of germs. Make sure the restrooms and kitchen are stocked with hand soap.

Consider implementing stress-reduction programs such as office massage or lunch-break yoga classes. If you don’t have an employee gym facility on-site, consider adding gym membership reimbursement to your perks and benefits package. Studies show regular exercise may help the body fight off colds.

Be Prepared with a Plan

When employees go out on short-term disability, their team members must pick up the slack. Cross-training employees on mission critical tasks, so that someone can fill in when there’s an unexpected illness, or even a planned maternity leave, can help keep office stress levels down and maintain employee morale.

Make sure employees understand the expectations and reward them in tangible ways and with praise when they step up to help out their co-workers.

Offer Enhanced DBL to Help Avoid Long-Term Claims

If an employee’s short-term disability coverage can’t help them get through the rough patch, they might be tempted to consider other alternatives, such as applying for long-term disability (Social Security Disability Insurance). They might use their short-term leave to find another job with a better benefits package.

The Benefits of Enriched DBL and TDB Disability Coverage

New York-based businesses can provide an enriched DBL package, which increases benefits beyond the New York State minimum of $170/week. Businesses in New Jersey can offer long-term disability coverage to dovetail state-mandated temporary disability benefits (TDB), and may also save money by bundling TDB coverage with other ancillary benefits such as dental, life insurance or add a group short-term disability policy over and above the state-mandated benefit.

Beat the Winter Blues with Better Disability Coverage

Business owners and HR directors should consider beating the winter blues with enriched DBL or privatized TDB. You can switch your disability insurance providers on the first day of each quarter: January 1, April 1, July 1, and October 1.

If you’re an insurance broker, this is the perfect time to write new business by letting companies in New York and New Jersey know about the advantages of privatized disability coverage with personalized service and benefits beyond the New York State minimum, so they can be prepared for the possibility of increased disability claims in the first months of the new year.

Let The DBL Center Ltd. help you get through the winter with the disability coverage you need.