Tennessee workers’ compensation exists to protect you, your small business, and your employees from any on-the-job injury or illness.
If you’re a Tennessee small business owner, you likely need to carry some form of workers’ compensation insurance. According to the Department of Labor & Workforce Development, Tennessee state law requires specific (but not all) employers to provide workers’ compensation coverage benefits for two reasons.
Read on to learn what’s required of you as a Tennessee employer and how to protect your business and employees from any accidents that may occur on the job.
If you’re an employer in construction or trades (including construction service providers) and have one or more employees, you’re required to carry insurance unless those employees are specifically exempted.
As an owner of a construction business, you’re required to carry workers’ compensation coverage for yourself, or you must be listed on the Exemption Registry, as of March 1, 2011.
If you have one or more employees in the coal mining industry, you’re required to have coverage.
Aside from the industries mentioned above, every other Tennessee business with five or more employees is required to purchase workers’ compensation insurance coverage.
This can be done by either purchasing a policy from an insurance carrier or becoming a self-insured employer with the Department of Commerce and Insurance.
Family members, part-time employees, and corporate officers aren’t excluded from workers’ compensation coverage. They’re included when determining how many employees work for a business.
Subcontractors must provide workers’ comp coverage to their employees.
Subcontractors can work with the general contractor to be covered by the general contractor’s workers’ compensation coverage.
Sole proprietors and partners aren’t typically covered by their workers’ comp policy when it’s created unless the contractor is considered a construction services provider. This means they’re a person or entity engaged in the construction industry.
Sole proprietors and partners can opt-in for coverage for their workers’ compensation policy by filing an Election of Sole Proprietor or Partner to Come Within the Provisions of the Tennessee Workers’ Compensation Law (Form I-4).
In the event of a workers’ compensation claim, you have rights and responsibilities as an employer:
There are many ways to go about obtaining workers’ compensation coverage as a Tennessee employer. These methods include:
You can obtain insurance by working with an insurance agent. The agent can write a workers’ comp policy from one of the 400+ insurance companies licensed by the Department of Commerce and Insurance to sell insurance in the state of Tennessee. Need a workers’ comp quote? Get one in minutes and save up to 30%. It’s as easy as pie.
If you’ve been denied a policy by two or more non-affiliated insurance companies that are licensed to write insurance policies in Tennessee, you can obtain workers’ compensation coverage from the Assigned Risk Plan. There are 10 companies that write policies in the Assigned Risk Plan.
If you’ve been denied a policy and currently have another form of commercial insurance already (such as commercial automobile or general liability), you can ask your insurance agent if they can place you with an insurance company they represent that participates in the Assigned Risk Plan.
Group self-insurance is another way to obtain workers’ compensation coverage. A group self-insurance pool or trust must be approved by the Department of Commerce and Insurance.
Individual self-insurance must also be approved by the Department of Commerce and Insurance.
There are several ways in which you can be exempt from obtaining workers’ compensation insurance. You may be exempt if:
Remember, every situation is different. Tennessee workers’ compensation laws are subject to change, so be sure to do your research and speak with a trusted advisor.
Please note that this content is intended for educational purposes only. As laws change regularly, refer to your state legislation or an advisor for specific legal counsel. If you’re a small business owner, learn more about the basics of workers’ comp or check your current rate in 3 minutes.