June 12, 2018

CA WCIRB Announces New Policyholder Ombudsman

San Francisco, CA – California employers have a new workers’ compensation Policyholder Ombudsman. Ms. Addie Wong took over the Ombudsman position in March and has begun developing an outreach program aimed at raising awareness of the Ombudsman office and the services she offers to California employers.

Created as part of the 1993 reforms that led to open rating, the Policyholder Ombudsman is an independent position within the WCIRB and receives guidance from an oversight committee whose membership includes an insurer representative, an employer representative, and a representative from the California Department of Insurance.

The Ombudsman helps policyholders better understand the workers’ compensation system and their insurance policies, and the Ombudsman can be of assistance to policyholders in effectively resolving disputes with their insurers. “The Ombudsman’s job is to work directly with the policyholder and listen to his/her concerns and give voice to those concerns to the insurer. The worker’s comp system is complex and employers sometimes aren’t aware of the resources that are available to them. Or, they may not understand why their insurer took a particular action. That’s where I can help,” remarked Mrs. Wong.

Revamping the Ombudsman section of the WCIRB website, updating all of the office’s printed material and establishing new communications channels are among her first priorities. Earlier this month, she launched the “Policyholder Ombudsman” Facebook page and a Twitter account. She is also planning an e-newsletter which policyholders and others may subscribe to receive automatically.

In the coming weeks, Ms. Wong will be reaching out to employer associations across the state making certain that policyholders are aware of the assistance she can provide. “I am excited about the opportunity to help California employers, especially small employers who may be struggling to understand the workers’ comp system. I think I can provide a valuable service.”

For more information about the Policyholder Ombudsman, visit the Ombudsman page of the WCIRB website or email ombudsman@wcirbonline.org. To request assistance from the Policyholder Ombudsman electronically, use the Request for Assistance Form on the Ombudsman page.

Source: CA WCIRB

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