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Posts Tagged ‘Workers Compensation Insurance’

How Do I Lower My Workers Comp Premiums?

Saturday, February 1st, 2014

In the past few decades, workplace safety has become an issue, and one that all are aware of. As a result, overall workers compensation claims have gone down drastically in the past few decades.

That said, we must point out that there are some industries where they have gone down less than others

If you want to lower your workers compensation premiums, there are several paths you could go down.

First, initiate a risk management plan in your business. Start out using your insurance carrier’s risk management staff. They are the people who understand the industry from that side. Implementing safety procedures lower your risk factors for the carrier, and this step could save much money.

As you grow it is likely that you can delegate your own staff to take over the tasks involved with that risk management plan. You might even get to a point where you can hire someone specifically for that task.

Has your company had claims? If so, are those claims in a particular department? Find out why and address them as part of your risk management program. Then advise your carrier that you are working in that direction.

Find out how your payroll is reported. Is overtime factored into it? Are bonuses? This could be a driver of your premiums.

Additionally, you might look into starting a program to assist workers to get back into the workplace more quickly, which mitigates the losses your carrier is paying, and losses are what drive premiums.

Normally, a program where your workers can come back gradually and in a limited capacity which will increase step-by-step works best.

Check your job classification codes and insure that they are classified correctly. Sometimes the wrong classification can change your rates.

Keep your carrier informed of all changes and improvements made to the workplace.

Remember to review your workers compensation annually along with all of your other business insurance. Work closely with your licensed insurance professional and your carrier to make sure your risk exposure, coverage, and premium is where they need to be.

Part-Time Business Insurance

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

Statistics show that approximately 10% of households operate a home-based business; businesses such as desktop publishing, car repair, consulting, or tailoring.

And so we hear this question from time to time: Does my part time business need insurance?

It is not an uncommon assumption that such businesses are covered by the homeowners insurance. This is actually not the case. And the assumption often puts part-time business owners at risk for serious financial damage in cases which involve accidents, clients who believe they have been damaged due to one service or another of the business, errors and omissions, or damage to a computer, website, or loss due to bad weather.

Indeed most homeowners insurance policies will not cover business-related losses. Frequently, a business rider can be added to the homeowners policy, and in some cases, simple businesses will need nothing more than that.

But if you are doing repair work or any sort of manufacturing, you are likely to need more commercial coverage than a rider. A general liability insurance policy, and/or business property insurance.

Additionally, if you have even one employee, you will need workers comp insurance.

And going without is perilous to your pocketbook as well as your home, property, or more!

Protect your home, your business, and your security by talking to your licensed insurance professional in order to determine just what coverages you need.

Business Owner’s Insurance: Keeping It Simple

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

I am a firm believer in living life by the principle of K.I.S.S.

For the uninitiated, the acronym means “Keep It Simple, Silly.” Well, actually, the second “S” can be any of a lot of things, but we’re keeping this polite.

The idea is, the simpler you make solutions, the less complications you will be met with if those solutions go south.

That being the case, let’s look at business insurance in its simplest forms.

General Liability Insurance:
General liability insurance protects you against damages, injuries, or other risks of liabilities which may be imposed by lawsuits which are sustained at your place of business by a third party.

Workers Compensation Insurance:
Workers Comp insurance is the form of insurance which provides medical benefits and wage replacement to your employees who are injured on the job. Some states also require that businesses provide additional coverage as well. Your licensed insurance professional can help you to determine what coverage is mandatory and what is prudent for you.

Buildings and Property Insurance:
Building insurance is also called commercial building insurance or property and casualty insurance. This coverage which protects financial risks due to damage to or loss of a physical structure that the insured owns or leases. There are some losses which are not automatically covered by this type of insurance. Flood damage, for example, is usually not covered automatically. So if you lived in a flood zone, you would want to work with your licensed insurance professional in order to ensure that your potential flood losses are insured.
Commercial Vehicle Insurance
A commercial auto insurance policy covers business vehicles and their drivers. If your circumstances dictate it, your auto coverage can be combined with property and casualty insurance in your business owner’s policy. It is important to note that it is a fact that many business owners assume a variety of risks by using their cars and assuming a personal auto policy will cover any risk.
There are numerous kinds of additional insurance which are available to business.  Again, it is a fine idea to have a thorough and frank discussion with your licensed business insurance professional in order to make the best decisions about the options which are available for your business.

How Can I Reduce Worker’s Compensation Premiums?

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

claims continue to decline.  Understand of course, certain industries still continue to have up ticks in claims and costs.  These may vary year to year and industry or even industry segments.

Implementing a risk management plan in your business if you have to pay workers compensation insurance premiums is a great starting point..  In the beginning, utilize the risk management staff at your carrier, the company that writes the workers compensation to help you set up your plan.

As you grow and get larger, it may make sense to assign this to staff and eventually, even hire someone to perform this function.  Implement safety procedures which make you a better risk for the carrier.  Keep a log and track days without incidents.  In addition, take a look at the following to see if it may help you reduce your premiums:

  • Start a program to allow workers to get back into the work place faster.  Establish a step program which would allow for limited capacity which would gradually increase. Remember that rising rates are a result of benefits paid.  The earlier an employee can get back to work, the better for everyone.
  • Check on how your payroll is reported.  Overtime and bonuses may not have to be factored in to payroll costs which help determine your premium.
  • Has your company had claims, is it a particular department or group? Investigate and address these as part of your risk management program and make sure to advise your carrier.
  • Check your job classification codes, sometimes they may be classified wrong and raise rates.
  • Keep your carrier informed of changes and improvements made to the workplace.
  • Schedule annual reviews with your carrier and invite them in to see improvements.
  • Challenge your carrier if you feel it necessary.  Use industry associations and your state department of insurance as a resource.

Don’t be afraid to review your workers compensation annually with all your other business insurance.  Work with your commercial insurance broker and the carrier to make sure your coverage, risk exposure, and premium is where they need to be.

What Policy Do I Need for My Store?

Friday, September 7th, 2012

Anyone involved in the insurance profession is familiar with the common mistakes people make regarding business insurance.

Setting limits too low: Oftentimes, business owners do not understand that the largest amount of money in a policy is the initial policy, and that extra coverage is usually a very small amount. It is, in fact, often possible to double one’s limits for less than 10% more money.

Not reading the policy: Although insurance policies are usually long and involved, they are contracts, and it is important that the policy be read before you sign it. If you simply cannot do it, you should get an attorney to do it for you.

Not understanding duties: Business owners’ policies carry with them duties to defend or indemnify, and it is essential that the business owner understand those duties. It needs to be clear in your mind whether or not your insurer will defend you if you get sued as well as what they will pay if there is a judgement against your business.

Neglecting business interruption insurance: While you are probably covered for such things as fire or flood, you will quite likely want to be insured for the loss of income during the time your business might be closed due to those incidents and their aftermath.

Finding the right insurance company: The importance of finding the insurance company and policies which will suit your needs cannot be stressed enough. Given that an uncovered lawsuit could mean the end of your business, it is essential that you find just the right company.

Discussion with your licensed insurance professional is the first step to avoiding all of these common errors.

Church Insurance Is Available

Friday, August 17th, 2012

A church or synagogue, like any non-profit or a business, needs to put the proper insurance coverage in place to protect both the assets and members of the church.  In fact, a number of coverage options are available to reduce the various risk exposure faced by the operation of a church or synagogue.

With any church insurance coverage, the basics of property, general liability and worker’s compensation are a must.  Property insurance covers the buildings and equipment as well as other contents and some personal property.  In addition, it may make sense to add plate glass coverage with a rider if needed for stained glass. Special coverage may be needed for antiques and restoration.

Make sure theft and vandalism are also covered in the policy.  General liability will protect the church in the event of a claim of personal injury, or damages.  It would also cover contractual liability for services provided such as room or hall rental, or other service functions performed by clergy or staff.  Make sure to add product liability for food consumption, sales, or even distribution.

Like any business, worker’s compensation must be in place if there are employees.  Check with your state department of insurance for the specific requirements surrounding coverage.

Additional coverage considered would be professional liability to covers teachers and clergy.  Directors and officer’s liability should also be carefully considered.

If daycare is provided, additional coverage may be necessary or packaged with teachers and school insurance.  Fine arts and antiques may have to have separate coverage added or included depending on the carrier.  Boiler and machinery coverage may also make sense, as well as  business interruption coverage.

Work with a licensed insurance professional in determining what coverage options and liability limits need to be in place.  Ask whether a business owner’s package is available and how the options discussed can be included.  You may also explore whether an umbrella policy may make sense for your church.

Workers Compensation and the ADA

Sunday, March 18th, 2012

Social Security Disability Insurance, essentially the first American worker’s compensation plan, was loosely based on the Prussian system, a system which inspired the gloomy author Franz Kafka, who worked within the bureaucracy of the Prussian workers compensation system.

Modern-day workers compensation insurance has at its core the concept of no-fault insurance. The system is set set industrial accidents are going to happen no matter how careful employees are. This system was set up in order to deal with those events.

In the United States, workers comp claims are handled by state compensation boards which are created and overseen legislatively. Each state handles worker’s compensation claims differently, but all of them assign monetary amounts for various body parts and/or injuries.

American workers compensation insurance remained static up until the 1990s.  The impetus for drastic change was the Americans with Disabilities Act, which became law in 1990.

The Americans with Disabilities Act mandated that employers make “reasonable accommodation” for employees with disabilities. Due to the ADA, then, employees who suffered back injuries which would previously have gotten them a permanent disability, were now able to continue working due to the fact that their employers were now mandated by law to make accommodations to make their continued work possible.

Because the ADA no longer recognized many disabilities as permanent and complete disabilities, the long-accepted payment schedules no longer made sense.

In one of the most famous workers compensation cases, an employee at the Santa Fe railroad won more than a quarter million dollars as a settlement for permanent total disability under workers comp. His doctor had testified he would never be able to work again to to a back injury he acquired on the job. Less than a week and a half after the settlement, he filed a lawsuit under ADA because he said he was wrongfully terminated due to his disability which was covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The lawsuit was thrown out, of course, but this serves to illuminate the reader as to the massive changes that then had to be done.

How Can I Reduce My Workers Comp Premiums?

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

Reducing workers compensation premiums takes planning and work.

In the decade or so, workplace safety has been the focus of many companies and industries. As a result, workers compensation claims and costs have declined. Even so, certain industries continue to tick up against the overall patterns.

In order to reduce your workers compensation premiums, you need to attack safety and performance in your business rigorously. If you’re paying workers compensation premiums in your business, you need to establish a risk management plan. In the beginning, your workers compensation carrier should have risk experts available to you and your employees.

Develop regular risk assessment and management meetings with your key employees and the experts at your insurance carrier. As you grow, it may make sense to hire a full time risk manager to work on this for your company.

Meanwhile, it is important to implement your own workplace safety program. Consider developing written procedures for both safety and returning to work. Resources to do this are available from your insurance carrier, the state department of insurance and your licensed insurance professional. Take the time to check how your payroll and employee classifications are relayed to the carrier.

Overtime and bonuses as well job descriptions and classifications which can have an impact on cost if not reported correctly. Investigate claims on your policy and implement written action plans and corrective action plans. Keep both your licensed insurance professional and the insurance carrier informed of any changes and improvements made in the workplace and your risk management program.

Evaluate your workers compensation coverage annually when you review your other coverage for the business. Work with your licensed insurance professional to help you manage both costs and your risk management program. Stay involved as the owner with your risk management and workplace safety programs.

Do I Need Worker’s Compensation Insurance?

Friday, January 13th, 2012

Do I need worker’s compensation insurance?

In order to protect employers from lawsuits resulting from workplace accidents and to provide medical care and compensation for lost income to employees hurt in workplace accidents, in almost every state, businesses are required to purchase workers compensation insurance.

Workers compensation insurance covers workers injured on the job, whether they’re hurt on the workplace premises or elsewhere, or in auto accidents while on business. It also covers work-related illnesses for the employee. Every state except Texas requires you to carry worker’s compensation insurance.

Even though it is not required in Texas, it is possible that your customers or vendors will require your business carry it as a requirement to do business with them. Although many government entities do require worker’s compensation insurance.

An employer must carry worker’s compensation insurance, also known as worker’s comp for two reasons. The first is to insure workers that are hurt while working will be taken of financially. Worker’s compensation insurance will pay the medical costs and a portion of their wages while recovering from the injury.

The second reason is to protect the employer (the business) from being sued by the injured employee. It is important to have a good understanding of worker’s compensation in your state as requirements and coverage differs in every state. We cannot stress enough how requirements differ from state to state and it is the business owners responsibility to insure compliance.

As a rule of thumb, there is a waiting period in each state. This is to reduce frivolous claims. The waiting period again varies by state. Worker’s compensation insurance and the laws governing it are utilize a no fault concept. It doesn’t matter who is at fault, the employer or employee. However, there are some instances where fault could come into play, such as being under the influence of illegal drugs or alcohol.

It’s necessary to be pointed out; if you work as an independent contractor you also need carry worker’s compensation insurance for your protection. Check with licensed insurance professional and your state department of insurance to determine what is needed for worker’s compensation insurance in your business.

Reducing Workers Comp Premiums

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

How can I reduce my worker’s compensation premiums?

Safety has become a key focus in business and industry and on average, worker’s compensation claims have been on the decline.  However, some industries still continue to have more claims and costs affecting their worker’s compensation premiums.

It may be time to begin a risk management in your business if you are paying worker’s compensation premiums.  In the beginning, utilize the risk management staff at your carrier, the company that writes the workers compensation.  As you grow and get larger, it may make sense to assign this to staff and eventually, even hire someone to perform this function.  Implement safety procedures which make you a better risk for the carrier.

Here are some additional ways to see if your carrier will work with you to reduce your premium:

Start a program to allow workers to get back into the work place faster. Establish  a step program which would allow for limited capacity which would gradually increase. Remember that rising rates are a result of benefits paid.  The earlier an employee can get back to work, the better for everyone.

Check on how your payroll is reported.  Overtime and bonuses may not have to be factored in to payroll costs which help determine your premium.

Has your company had claims, is it a particular department or group? Investigate and address these as part of your risk management program and make sure to advise your carrier.

Check your job classification codes, sometimes they may be classified wrong and

raise rates.

Keep your agent and carrier informed of any changes to the workplace.

It’s imperative to review your worker’s compensation annually.  Don’t be afraid to challenge increases and work to get your carrier on board.  By working with your agent and carrier, they will get to know you and your business which will result an understanding of how to keep costs in line.