Argo’s 12 Days of Santa’s Insurance: Workers’ Compensation

It’s crunch time at the North Pole; so to help out, Argo has analyzed Santa’s workers’ compensation risk and how he mitigates his elves’ injuries.

It takes more than a jolly laugh, an expert crew of elves and a trusty team of flying reindeer to pull off the world’s biggest gift delivery in a single night year after year.

Santa’s elves are the hardest working toymakers around. From woodworking and painting to assembly of high-tech gadgets, labor in Santa’s workshop is intense and nonstop.

Santa Claus navigates a globe full of risk that – if left uninsured – could lead to a sleigh-full of suits. And we’re not talking about the red kind.

Operating power tools and lathes, climbing ladders and performing the repetitive motions of wrapping presents and tying bows means even the most careful elf faces the risk of a workplace injury, noted Thom Rickert, vice president and head of marketing at Trident Public Risk Solutions.

Trident recommends three tips for Santa to minimize his workers’ compensation exposure:

1. Implement robust safety, training, and equipment maintenance and inspection programs.

2. Require personal protective gear such as gloves and parkas.

3. Consider a job-rotation scheme on the assembly line to limit repetitive-motion injuries.

Toymaking on the tundra entails its own set of challenges, but making sure the elves – and Santa – work in safe conditions has successfully reduced the frequency of workers’ compensation claims.

There’s always room for improvement, though. An uptick in losses due to burns in past years led Trident to ask Santa to stop allowing the elves to help Mrs. Claus bake cookies; and to avoid animal bites, only specially trained elves are authorized to interact with Santa’s reindeer.

“Comet is especially skittish when the elves get near him,” Rickert said.

Because Santa rewards his many elves for their labor in an unconventional way, calculating the cost for workers’ compensation coverage is similarly nonstandard. His premium rings in at a merry $500,000 a year.

That’s a lot of curly-toed shoes.

When Trident suggested instituting a positive reward system to incentivize the elves to avoid injury, Santa obliged.

Rumor has it, Santa holds a drawing every month for a free trip to Florida in the off-season.

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