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Workers’ compensation insurance, sometimes known as workman’s comp insurance, is a state-mandated insurance program that provides medical, disability, survivor, burial, and rehabilitation benefits to employees who are injured or killed due to a work-related injury or illness.
In nearly all states and with few exceptions—businesses are required by law to carry workers’ compensation coverage.
Workers’ comp helps businesses care for an injured employee by supplementing medical and rehabilitation bills and by helping offset an injured employee’s lost wages.
Workers’ comp helps protect the business from significant financial loss and from being sued by an injured employee. It can also limit other monetary disruptions to the business.
Workers’ comp can help a small business meet state-mandated laws and workers’ comp requirements so they can avoid sentencing or paying fines for non-compliance.
Illness or injury
In the case a team member becomes ill or is injured due to their work, workers’ compensation helps cover them for related medical care and economic losses.
An injured team member is also covered for wage replacement associated with time off due to disabilities for work-related incidents. The common level of wage replacement is 2/3 of your team member’s wages.
If someone dies in a work-related incident, death benefits may be paid out to their family. These benefits offer financial support when an employee’s family needs it the most.
Each state administers its own workers’ comp program through a commission or board, meaning each state operates differently. Typically these state agencies ensure businesses comply with workers’ comp laws, collect relevant accident information, and make final decisions on cases.
In most states, employers must maintain records of any accidents, report accidents to state agencies, and inform their insurer of any accident within a specified timeframe.
Businesses that are protected by workers’ comp can easily request a Certificate of Insurance to show proof of coverage if needed. For some businesses, this is particularly important because they may be required to provide proof of insurance before any work can begin. This is common in the construction industry, for example.
When a business buys a policy, the premium (price) is estimated. To ensure the correct premium is ultimately charged, insurers will perform an audit after the most recent policy period has ended. Insurers look back at the prior period to verify that the upfront pricing was accurate. If there are any material differences in the business risk or makeup of the workforce, the insurer can collect more premium or provide a credit. Learn more.
Not typically covered:
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For business owners, workers’ comp protects your company from being sued by employees. It reduces the risk of a crippling financial loss in the case of a serious accident involving your team members. Workers’ comp is also legally required in almost every state and situation. For some, not having workers’ comp can result in large fines or time in prison.
Any team members who are covered by workers’ comp can receive financial protection if they are harmed while performing regular work duties.
Insurers use a standardized system of class codes to categorize the type of work someone does. For example, the class code 8017 is a retail store employee. Look up class codes.
The NCCI is an insurance rating and data collection service for workers’ comp. It is a non-profit organization that recommends rates to insurers. To do this, NCCI collects and analyzes a wide range of workers’ comp information. They produce guidance manuals for most (but not all) states to define classification codes and experience modification ratings.
The states that are not part of the NCCI are CA, DE, IN, MA, MI, MN, NC, ND, NJ, NY, OH, PA, WA, WI, and WY.
When first purchasing a workers’ comp policy, the premium (price) is based on the estimated payroll over the period the policy will cover. To ensure the policyholder is paying the correct premium, a “premium audit” or “payroll audit” is conducted after the policy period has ended. This audit can result in the policyholder needing to pay more or less for the policy—if there’s a difference between the actual and estimated premium. The insurer will reach out to the policyholder to conduct the audit and may ask about the duties of different team members or request payroll documents.
Before finding Pie, Mike found himself with a huge bill from his workers’ comp provider after Gutter Plumber’s audit due to the company’s immense growth.
In 2012, Judy Pepper and her husband Vaughn, a retired Westminster police officer, wanted to start a business that brought their community together.
After years of working together on private yachts, Patrick and Rebecca Anderson made the life-changing decision to settle in Denver, Colorado.