United Heartland: Creating a Better Tomorrow for Injured Workers

November 19, 2018

No one expects to get hurt while on the job, but when it happens, it’s important to have the right resources available to ensure the injured worker is able to make the quickest recovery possible.

According to an article commissioned by the Workplace Safety Initiative, the longer a worker is off the job, the less likely he or she is to return. For example, an injured worker who has been absent from work for six months is 50 percent less likely to return, and after 12 months of absence, the probability of returning to work drops to 20 percent.

Returning to work after an injury affords several benefits to a worker — most importantly, rebuilding their livelihood and quality of life. Physical activity on the job also helps aid recovery, and the social support fostered through work relationships can ease anxiety and depression.

To ensure that workers make a quick recovery and to provide the best care and treatment options, effective workers’ compensation providers engage a multifaceted approach. This can have very positive results — effectively achieving positive outcomes and helping injured workers return to work faster and healthier.

Data analytics: Having analytics tools in place can help insurance companies use data to recognize population health trends and identify risks facing policyholders. Over the past two years, a team of AF Group nurses has been working with physicians to identify injured workers who are at risk of medication misuse, including opioid abuse. In workers’ compensation, opioids make up a third of all prescribed pain-relief drugs.

Evidence-based medicine: Research shows that utilizing evidence-based medicine guidelines better inform patients’ health-care decision-making when they’re faced with more than one care option, and it leads to better patient outcomes. AF Group advocates for greater use of evidence-based medicine guidelines to help shorten policyholders’ recovery time and lower medical costs. AF Group experts and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine published landmark research in 2016 describing the benefits of using evidence-based medicine guidelines on workers’ compensation claims.

Smart technology: As InsurTech has gained momentum over the past two years, insurance companies are partnering with tech experts and start-ups to improve the way insurance is delivered. These changes have the opportunity to improve customer service, further mitigate risk, increase operational efficiencies, and much more. For AF Group and its brands, Director of Innovation Abel Travis is piloting new technological innovations as well as business models and product innovations that require a technology enabler.

“As our customers’ lives and work continue to evolve, we’re focused on remaining nimble and adaptable for the changes ahead,” said Steve Cooper, president of United Heartland. “As part of AF Group, we’re at a distinct advantage — with access to the latest tools and technology to stay more connected to our agents and policyholders, improve the way we assess and mitigate risk, and help injured workers find the best path forward following a workplace injury.”

If you’re interested in becoming a United Heartland agent, visit Or to find one of our independent agent partners near you, head to

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