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Effective accident and illness management

Challenges and solutions for HR

Effective accident and illness management

Employees who have fallen ill or met with an accident need professional and efficient support during their absence so that they can recover and return to their jobs as quickly as possible. HR plays a central role here. However, as a result of complex and inefficient processes, HR loses valuable time and resources working on administrative tasks instead of devoting itself to the key issue: taking care of the absent individual. But what makes accident and illness management in Switzerland so challenging? In this blog post, we explain what makes this process so complex and what solutions HR has at its disposal even today.

What factors make the management of accidents and illness so demanding?

The administration of accidents and illness in Switzerland is a complex process that confronts companies with multiple challenges. But why is this?

On the one hand, it is because the available tools are sadly often defective. They call for multiple data entries, manual administration of the employees' files and manual deadline monitoring. The last-mentioned point is dealt with in practice using Excel spreadsheets, post-it notes or Outlook tasks. In addition, the different parties involved in processing the case need to be coordinated, e.g. insurance companies, case managers, medical professionals, payroll accounting or pension funds. Failure to meet deadlines can have serious consequences for the company and the employees, with reduced benefits from insurance companies, for example. Apart from the direct processing of an absence, it is often impossible to perform a case analysis due to lack of information. In many cases, the insurer is the only party involved to have a history of the indemnified cases – a history that a company could lose if it switched to a different insurance company.

As a result, the Human Resources department is forced to invest more time and resources in administration. Little time therefore remains for the core task: taking care of the person who is absent due to an accident or illness.

The employees are not the only sufferers from a defective accident and illness management process – the company itself is also affected. In addition to tying up excessive valuable HR resources, poorly managed processes can have a negative impact on absence times and therefore on insurance costs. Finally, productivity losses should not be forgotten, including those in HR.

Are software tools THE solution?

One way to make processes more efficient is to do away with the manual processes referred to above and replace them with digital solutions. So far, so good – in theory, at least. However, HR is then faced with a new challenge: to find its way around the variety of tools available on the market, such as UKA from HRM Solutions and from Assepro. Insurance companies, insurance brokers and HR service providers also offer tools.

Apart from the differences in the technologies used (watch out for end-of-lifecycle solutions) or in the choice between on-premise and cloud solutions, there are differences in the functions and the potential for end-to-end digitalisation. Obtaining knowledge of your current and above all your future needs is therefore a decisive step in order to be able to compare the different solutions.

In addition to the choice of solution, you should also analyse the communication protocol for transferring data to the insurer and integration into the company's payroll tool. In actual fact, the claim report protocol has been used for many years to transfer data and information to the insurers, and almost all insurance companies accept this format.

For some months now, the KLE solution (customer-integrated service process from claim to provision) from Swissdec has offered a method that is more tightly integrated in the payroll accounting process (farewell to multiple entries and interfaces). An advanced encryption method is used here on the basis of symmetrical and asymmetrical encryption algorithms. Our assessment of KLE: we have tested the KLE protocol thoroughly in the past few months with our payroll accounting tool SwissSalary, and the experience we have gathered is extremely positive. However, it should be noted that only a small number of insurers accept this protocol at present and it is also dependent on ELM 5.0 certification on the level of the payroll accounting software. It remains to be seen whether this is the solution of the future. Nevertheless, the value proposition offers considerable advantages in terms of time saving, data accuracy, process simplification and data security. The coming period will reveal whether this approach will become further established.

Various parties are involved in case processing, such as insurance companies, case managers, medical professionals, payroll accounting or even pension funds. Coordinating these requires special attention and is very time-consuming.

And why not outsource this process?

In addition to investment in a high-performance tool, there is also the option of outsourcing these processes entirely. Outsourcing accident and illness administration may offer a number of advantages but also comes with various implications.

  • Time-saving: HR can save time by outsourcing case management, thereby eliminating the in-house processes. Instead, the department can concentrate on other tasks with higher value added.
  • Specialist knowledge: Companies that undertake accident and illness administration need highly qualified and experienced staff to ensure prompt and accurate case processing. However, it may be difficult to find such skilled people when there is a shortage of skilled workers.
  • Cost reduction:By outsourcing case management, companies can avoid the costs associated with training in-house staff.
  • Flexibility:Outsourcing case management can give companies more flexibility because they can decide whether they want to assign all or only some of the cases to an external provider.

However, outsourcing may also entail disadvantages, such as loss of control over the process, the need for constant close communication with the external service provider and possible additional costs that may be associated with outsourcing. Employees must be clearly and transparently informed if they are ultimately in contact with an external person because of outsourcing. Care must also be taken to ensure that HR does not lose contact with the sick or injured person despite the support being provided externally. It is therefore important to weigh up the pros and cons carefully before you decide whether or not to outsource accident and illness administration.


To sum up: keep a watchful eye on corporate strategy and culture

There are many options for optimising accident and illness management in your company. A wide range of tools and possible approaches is available and there is more than one solution. In the search for an answer, you should focus on your company's strategy. In particular, never lose sight of your desired corporate culture in the sprawling jungle of options because your employees are your most valuable asset.

Head of Romandie, HR Campus

Patrick Zwahlen

Patrick supports companies in their digital transformation and previously headed a major HR Service Centre as a service provider. Over and over again, he found that many HR departments have difficulty with accident and illness management and do not apply customised solutions.

Published: 6. October 2023

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