Cort Business Services was tired of being had. The privately held Fairfax, Va.-based furniture rental company, with average annual revenues in the $450 million range, had the customary internal approach to workers compensation claims and employee disabil-

ity benefits–two systems and two insurers. But, the lack of coordination between these systems and insurers rendered Cort vulnerable to fraud. "We'd have employees call up claiming to have a non-work-related injury, and after they found out they couldn't collect as much money by being out on disability, they'd call back a different part of the company and say they had a work-related injury," says Jeff Seidman, Cort's vice president of human resources. "Neither side knew what the other was doing. The system got played."

To eliminate that possibility, Cort decided last April to outsource management of its short-term and long-term employee disability benefits and its workers compensation claims to Synchrony, a joint venture of insurers St. Paul Travelers Companies Inc. and MetLife Inc. Today, when a Cort employee is injured on the job or at home, a single call is made to Synchrony's 800 number. There follows a systematic investigation of the claim, the development of treatment protocols by claim and medical experts collaborating on case management and return-to-work objectives, and a single line of reporting back to Cort. "When all the information is going into and coming out of one place, you prevent employees seeking a fraudulent solution to a monetary need," says Seidman.

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