Carriers: AmTrust Insurance

A Short but Deep History in Workers Compensation

AmTrust Financial Services began in 1998 in downtown Manhattan by entrepreneurs George and Michael Karfunkel, and current Chairman, CEO and President Barry Zyskind. When started the organization was founded it had a plan to focus on niche specialty property and casualty markets. The group of founders believed these markets were underserved by larger insurance carriers. AmTrust attempted to focus on classes of business with lower risk loss profiles. An additional commitment was to innovation in small business insurance. AmTrust Insurance has more than 7,000 employees and serves approximately 70 countries.

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How has AmTrust Established Trust so Quickly?

AmTrust North America is one of the fastest growing insurance companies in the comp industry. The company has grown from $526 Million in 2006 to over $4.1 Billion in 2014. The company has an “A-” rating from A.M. Best. Additionally the carrier ranks as the 3rd largest workers’ compensation carrier in the United States. With their dominance in the workers’ compensation market the business tries to focus on offering a Business Owners Package in addition to small businesses workers compensation solutions so business owners can secure all coverages with one company.

Amtrust has been able to gain the trust of many agencies throughout the country by offering low rates for very specific target class codes by focusing on claims management, by focusing on employee recovery time, by offering a free loss control website for policyholders, and by developing one of the strongest Pay as You Go Workers Compensation Programs in the industry. Since it was founded in 1998, AmTrust has focused on steady stable growth through acquiring multiple similar companies. Some of the key targeted acquisitions have allowed the carrier to offer one of the most diverse underwriting portfolios in the industry. Like most insurance carriers, AmTrust is extremely targeted in which appetites they have are hungry to quote, but each additional acquisition has allowed them to ad to their strong portfolio. They grow increasingly strong in the small and medium size markets.

 

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AmTrust Specific Pricing

AmTrust has gained a competitive advantage by focusing primarily on small and medium sized businesses, that leadership believes are underserved by larger insurance carriers. Leadership has found five industries where the company is hungry to offer coverage. those industries include:  Food, Contractors and Construction, Auto Repair, Apparel Manufacturing, and the Service Industry. This specific focus on these industries and businesses in the small to medium size allows AmTrust to offer more then competitive rates.

 

Our agency works with AmTrust Insurance Company throughout the United States to offer some of the very best prices on workers compensation coverage for the industry class codes they target. If your listed in one of the above classes an AmTrust quote may definitely benefit your business.

Get started online with a quote or give us a call today at 888-611-7467 to find out if one of our Specialist can help save you money on insurance.

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Carriers: The Hartford Insurance

The Hartford Insurance Company was founded in 1810 in Hartford, Connecticut. It is most often referred to as The Hartford. The company is a fortune 500 company and most recently ranked 156th on the list in 2018. The logo for the company is that of a male deer that represents the medieval hunting term hart. This is the same logo represented on The Seal of the City of Hartford, showing the relationship of the company to the local community.

Image result for the hartford insurance

The Hartford Insurance wrote their first workers comp policy in 1913. The Hartford is one of largest workers compensation insurance companies in the country and the company offers some of the lowest rates with the broadest coverage for certain target class codes. The Hartford insurance is A Rated by J.D. Power. The company was also voted #1 for customer service and claims management. The Hartford Workers Comp Basic Coverage allows for more choices on your liability limits and easier payment options, such as Pay As You Go coverage.

The Hartford Insurance Logo.

The Hartford Insurance Company has a wide appetite for many classes of business most other carriers are not hungry to offer coverage. The Hartford has multiple unique programs and underwriting advantages for businesses both small, medium, and large. The carrier has a long standing reputation for superior customer service, excellent loss prevention services, and handling of insurance claims. The Hartford Insurance Company has a network of medical providers that includes 500,000 healthcare providers and 53,000 network pharmacies. This network allows The Hartford to negotiate lower rates for medical services and are able to pass those savings on to their customers in the form of lower premiums for their customers.

 

Workers Compensation Shop is a National Hartford Focus Partner. As a partner we know how to help employers get the most out of a Hartford Workers Compensation Policy.

 

Workers Compensation Shop Logo

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Carriers: Markel FirstComp Insurance

This is the first in a series of blog posts we are writing about the carriers we partner with for workers compensation insurance coverage. Markel FirstComp Insurance has been a partner of Workers Compensation Shop since 2007. We are proud to be one of the few agencies approved to offer and administer Pay As You Go Workers Compensation with First Comp. Markel FirstComp also offers self-reporting, 9 installment plans, and annual pay policies. Learn more about Markel FirstComp Insurance here.

Markel FirstComp Insurance is a holding company that does business in insurance, reinsurance, and financial services. Markel was founded in 1930 and is headquartered in Richmond, VA. There are operations stationed all over the world. FirstComp Insurance was founded in 1997 with a goal of providing a consistent solution for agents and insured’s who operate in an unstable marketplace. This instability occurs in some high risk industries and with some businesses that have bad loss runs. First Comp was purchased by Markel in 2010. Under their new name, Markel FirstComp, the organization began offering additional property and liability lines of coverage in 2013. In June 2016, it was announced that Markel had joined the Fortune 500 for the first time.

Divisions of Markel Insurance

Markel FirstComp Insurance is currently made up of five main divisions. Those five divisions include:

  • Markel Global Insurance
  • Markel Specialty
  • Markel Wholesale
  • Markel International
  • Markel Global Reinsurance

Markel Global delivers customized solutions to sophisticated policy holders while Markel specialty underwrites a wide variety of commercial personal and program business. Markel wholesale is a go to market for out of the box risks and features excess and surplus risks. Markel international is headquartered in London, but has branch offices throughout the world that underwrite a growing portfolio of a number of policies. Markel Global Reinsurance manages a wide variety of reinsurance products to the broker market.

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Workers Compensation Shops’ Relationship with Markel FirstComp

Workers Compensation Shop began partnering with Markel FirstComp Insurance in 2007. Just two years in to business, Workers Compensation Shop began partnering with Markel FirstComp as one of only a few agencies approved to offer and administer Pay As You Go Workers Compensation reporting with FirstComp. In addition to this program, FirstComp also offers a self-reporting option, a traditional 9 installment plan, and annual pay workers comp policies. Markel FirstComp has made a name for itself as one of the best carriers in the industry for quoting new business ventures, artisan contractors, and main street businesses. These are the types of businesses many carriers shy away from because of less than stellar claims history. While primarily focusing on writing grey and blue collar companies, FirstComp is actively quoting in 36 states across the country.

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Introduction to our Carriers

Workers Compensation Shop is a part of the Insurance Shop LLC. Insurance Shop LLC was founded in Columbia, Missouri in 2005. We are a national insurance agency that is licensed in all 50 states. We partner with more then 40 insurance carriers to provide fast and easy access to commercial insurance solutions, employee benefits and personal lines of insurance coverage. Whether you are a small business owner searching for general liability or you just bought a new home, we can help you get multiple quotes for coverage all in one place. Our motto is ‘We shop insurance so you don’t have to’.

Over the course of the next few weeks we are going to highlight several of the carriers we partner with.  Here is a list of the carriers we offer workers compensation insurance through.

 

The Hartford, is a United States-based investment and insurance company. The Hartford is a Fortune 500 company headquartered in Hartford, Connecticut.

 

Travelers is the second largest writer of U.S. commercial property casualty insurance and the third largest writer of U.S. personal insurance through independent agents.

 

Markel Corporation is a holding company for insurance, reinsurance, and investment operations around the world.

 

AmTrust Financial is a multinational property and casualty insurer specializing in coverage for small to mid-sized businesses.

 

Employers is a group of companies providing workers’ compensation insurance and services to select, small American businesses. We understand the workers’ compensation insurance needs of independent, entrepreneurial business people because we focus on only one type of customer—small businesses.

 

AIG is an American multinational insurance corporation with operations in more than 80 countries and jurisdictions. As of December 31, 2016, AIG companies employed 56,400 people.

 

MetLife

MetLife, Inc. is the holding corporation for the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, better known as MetLife, and its affiliates.

 

 Progressive

Headquartered in the Cleveland suburb of Mayfield Village, Ohio, Progressive has more than 33,000 employees in almost 400 offices throughout the country.

 

USLI is a member of the Berkshire Hathaway family of companies, USLI is an A++ rated company that supports its products for small businesses with financial strength and stability.

 

Philadelphia

Philadelphia Insurance Companies (PHLY) headquartered in Bala Cynwyd, PA, designs, markets, and underwrites commercial Property/Casualty and Professional Liability insurance products, incorporating value-added coverages and services for select industries

 

Liberty Mutual Group, more commonly known by the name of its primary line of business, Liberty Mutual Insurance, is an American diversified global insurer, and the fourth-largest property and casualty insurer in the United States.

 

 

The Insurance Shop also operates General Liability Shop and Workers Compensation Shop.

 

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Cable Installers

Cable television and internet services are a regular part of most peoples lives in today’s technological age. Cable installers provide a service to customers through the installation of both fiber optic and coaxial cables for both cable television and internet service providers. The work cable installers do can be physical because they install lay lines or cables throughout many parts of a property and the work is almost exclusively done on third party properties that vary greatly. Because of the differences in the locations the work is done, there is a lot of risk for cable installers looking to insure themselves and their business. Here are some tips about how employees of a cable installation business should be classified, if cable installers are required to carry workers comp coverage, what underwriters are concerned about, and what a cable installation business should be concerned about in relation to workers compensation insurance.

Construction, Wiring, Electrical, Hi-Viz

How Should Cable Installers be Classified?  

The most common workers comp codes used in the cable installation industry is NCCI Class Code 7356. NCCI Stands for the National Council on Compensation Insurance. This organization is the foremost authority on workers compensation classification codes and recommending pure premium rates. NCCI gathers data, analyzes industry trends, provides objective insurance rate and loss cost recommendations. If you are the owner of a cable installation business, it is important to make sure all employees are classified properly. You can do this with the help of an independent insurance agent, but the responsibility is ultimately up to the business to make sure all employees are classified properly.

Separate from workers compensation classification, Cable Installers are most often employed as either employees of a cable service provider or as a contractor. When a worker is classified as an employee, in most cases it is the law of the state for them to be covered by workers compensation insurance. W-2 employees must be covered by workers comp in most instances, but in many states independent contractors are also considered employees for purposes of workers compensation insurance. For this reason, it is again important to partner with an independent insurance agent. The independent agent can help a business owner determine how best to classify your employees (W2 or 1099). Independent agents also allow a business owner to get unbiased advice about each policy and each carrier. They also can help you determine what is the best way to classify your employees and what risks you are taking insuring or not insuring those employees.

Electric, Wiring, Elektrik, Wire, Cable

Are Cable Installation Businesses required to carry Workers Comp?

Workers Compensation Insurance is governed by the states and not the federal government. In some states there are exclusions to the requirement for workers comp coverage depending upon the structure of the business, the annual revenue, or the number of employees. It is important to check with the proper governing body within the state or states the business operates to make sure the business is following the proper laws. Even if the business is allowed to not carry workers comp coverage, it is usually a good idea to still secure some form of coverage. Even when the installer is the only employee of the business, some carriers offer a ghost policy at significantly lower premium to have some coverage in place.

In order to enter into most contracts, cable installers are required to provide a certificate of insurance. The certificate of insurance shows what coverages and the limits of coverage the business or contractor has in place. It also includes the policy effective dates. Most contracts require an installer to have workers comp and general liability at a bare minimum. Some contracts will require additional policies. This is where the help of an independent agent can be valuable because they can give you many options from many different carriers in an attempt to meet the needs of all contracts.

Wire, Cables, Electric, Network

What Concerns an Underwriter about a Cable Installation Business?

Cable Installation work is done primarily on third party locations and each property varies greatly. This brings about a driving risk that most insurance carriers do not like. Any time there is a driving risk it raises both the frequency and severity of a claim. This is because when a person is driving a vehicle for work purposes, the liability to third parties is the liability of the business, not the liability of the driver. This means when an employee causes a wreck, the business is liable for damages and medical costs of injured third parties. The fact that work is being done at third party locations also raises the risk of both bodily injury and property damage. This elevated risk results from the cable installer not being familiar with the location they are doing their work. The cable installation business has little input on the maintenance and upkeep of the facility. Additionally, the biggest risk a cable installation business has to worry about is electrocution. The level of risk is low, but the consequences of that low risk are extremely high.

Copper, Wire, Cable, Scrap Metal

Concerns for Cable Installers Relating to Workers Comp

The first concern related to workers’ compensation coverage is whether the cable installer is an employee for a cable provider or whether they are an independent contractor. If they are an employee of the company than the company is responsible for carrying the proper workers compensation coverage for them as an employee. Now if they are a contractor, depending upon the state the installer may need to purchase coverage for themselves and for their business if they have employees working for them. It is important to speak with an independent insurance agent and the proper governing body in the state in which you operate in to make sure you have the proper coverage.

In addition to W2 vs. 1099 contractors is the NCCI Classification code of all employees. The most common workers compensation classification codes for cable installers include:

  • 7536: Cable Installation and Construction
  • 8901: Cable and Telecommunications—Office Employees
  • 7600: Cable TV or Satellite—Other Employees and Drivers
  • 6325: Conduit Construction—for Cables or Wires
  • 8742: Outside Sales Persons

Partnering with an independent insurance agent and speaking long and honestly with them is the best way to determine how all employees should be classified and prevent a costly post term audit.

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Mechanic

Mechanic

Mechanics are needed everywhere. It is hard to function in 2019 without a reliable automobile and a good mechanic is invaluable to keeping a vehicle on the road. Because of this huge need for mechanics, there is equally a huge demand for their services. With this demand comes an elevated amount of risk. Cars come to mechanics in many different circumstances. Some are well kept and others look like they have not seen an oil change in months if not years. Because of the vast differences in cars that are worked on their is an elevated amount of risk a mechanic business takes on. This risk is in the form of liability to the car owner, but also liability to the health and well-being of the employee. Here are four workers compensation concerns, and fiveadditional policies mechanics should be concerned about when purchasing commercial insurance.

Hand, Mechanic, Carburetor, Screwdriver, Mount

Workers Compensation Concerns for a Mechanic

What is Workers Compensation Insurance?

Workers’ Compensation Insurance is also required by state law for most business, in most industries. Workers Comp Coverage is known as the ‘exclusive remedy’ because the policy protects both the business and the employees when an employee is hurt on the job. The business benefits from a workers compensation system in the fact it cannot be sued for on the job injuries that occur as a part of normal business activities. The employees benefit from this policy by gaining medical coverage and some lost wages (normally 60% of regular wages) when they are hurt and not able to work.

Proper Classification of a Mechanic

First and foremost it is important to make sure all employees are properly classified for purposes of workers compensation insurance. The classification codes are determined by the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) or the state governing body. In most states there are around 700 different classification codes. The most common NCCI Workers Compensation Class Codes are 8380 (auto repair), 8393 (Auto Body Repair or Paint Shop), and 9516 (Auto Shop—Radio and Equipment).

If there are employees who are only clerical employees it is important to express this to the  insurance agent. If there are some aspects of the mechanic business that are extremely dangerous and only a few employees partake in this work, it is important to make this clear with the agent and the insurance carrier. The agent and carrier can only act upon the information given to them by the business owner and it is in their best interest to always assume more risk. If the insurance agent assumes more risk, it will more than likely cost the business more in premium or it could cause a claim to not be covered.

Not properly classifying some or all of the employees within a business can cause quite a headache at the end of the term period. Not properly classifying an employee will result in either a credit or a debit on the policy. If a business receives a credit, it means the business has tied up cash in unnecessary premium payments throughout the year. In many instances this is valuable cash flow that could be used on more urgent business expenses. In the event there is a debit on the account (an underpayment), it means the business has to come up with additional premium in order to move forward with an in tact workers compensation policy.

Partner with an Independent Insurance Agent

An independent Insurance Agent is usually the best way to get the most comprehensive policy at the best rate. This is because an independent agent can look up the going rate for multiple insurance carriers. They know which carriers have more of an appetite for auto repair and which are more likely to dig deep with credits and discounts. Independent insurance agents can also give a business owner the positives and negatives to each company and each particular policy. When one policy is dramatically lower in price it is usually for a reason. That reason is rarely because the policy covers more claims or the claims process is better. An independent agent can warn a business owner about carriers who have worse customer service. They can at the very least let a business owner know what they are getting into by going with a cheaper company. A captive agent works for only one company. They can only sell on the positives of their company and the policies of that carrier.

Workplace Safety for a Mechanic

Working as a Mechanic is a physical job. Most facilities are open to the elements. Providing fans in the Summer and some form of heat in the Winter is a good way to prevent employees from getting sick or exhausted. Keeping the floors the floors clear and clean will prevent some slips, trips, or falls. All mechanics need to be up to date on all shots, especially tetanus. More then anything, a focus on safety needs to start from the top of the organization. If the business owner, the leadership, and the key employees need to focus on safety and talk about it frequently. If they care about safety and the express their concern to all employees, all employees are more likely to focus on safety during their daily work days.

Auto Repair, Oil Change, Oil, Auto, Shop

Additional Insurance Policies a Mechanic Should Secure

✓ General Liability Insurance
✓ Garage Keepers Liability
✓ Business Personal Property
✓ Hired and Non-Owned Auto
✓ Business Income with Extra Expense

General Liability Insurance for a Mechanic

General Liability  Insurance is required by law for most employers in most states. The coverage protects a business from claims of property damage and bodily injury to outside third parties that result from the actions of a business or the employees of that business. It is rarely enough coverage to protect a business properly. It is important for business owners to discuss with an insurance agent what additional policies may or may not be necessary.

Garage Keepers Liability Insurance

Garage Keepers Liability Insurance provides coverage to a business for  liability exposures with respect to damage to a customer’s auto or auto equipment that has been left in the dealer’s care for service or repair. This goes for vandalism, acts of god (Tornado, Hurricane, Hail, etc.), and many other reasons why the car may be damaged while in the possession of the business.

Business Personal Property Insurance

Business Personal Property Insurance is a type of insurance coverage that covers buildings, business personal property, and personal property of others for direct loss or damage. Items covered by this policy may include most items of value that aren’t considered a structure, fixture, automobile, watercraft, or aircraft. For a mechanic this might include desks, chairs, tools, equipment, appliances, and furniture.

Hired and Non-Owned Auto Insurance

Hired and Non-owned Auto Insurance for Mechanics covers the business for accidents that occur when an employee causes a wreck when using a vehicle the business does not own. The vehicle can be the employees personal vehicle or a vehicle that is rented by the business. Hired and Non-Owned Auto is most commonly added (or endorsed) onto a commercial auto policy.

Business Income with Extra Expense Insurance

Business Income and Expense Insurance is designed to cover a business when they are closed or partially closed due to a covered loss. The policy will take care of expenses like payroll, bills, and lost revenue due to an act that is covered by another policy. The key part of this policy is that the underlying cause of the claim has to be covered by another policy (General Liability, Commercial Property, Inland Marine, Etc.). If the underlying reason for the business being closed is not a covered loss, like in the event of a flood or a hurricane, this policy is not activated.

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Daycare Center

Insurance coverage for a Daycare Center can be expensive

Workers compensation rates tend to vary considerably by industry, state, and insurance company. This can make it difficult for employers to know if they are getting a good deal when purchasing coverage. Partnering with an independent insurance agent is a good way to get many choices all in one place. This can help owners and managers when shopping Small Business Insurance for Daycare Companies.

Toy area at a Daycare Center

Child care costs are extremely high for new parents. A large reason for the amount daycare companies have to charge is because of the cost of commercial insurance. This industry has a tendency to have a higher frequency of claims and those claims tend to have a higher severity compared to other industries. Implementing a safety program that includes a return to work program is a great way to attempt to control what a business pays for commercial insurance. These programs will help the business limit the frequency and severity of claims. It is also a great way to save when purchasing Workers Compensation Insurance.

Why are Risks so High? 

A large reason for these additional risks is because the primary purpose of the industry is to take care of children. Children are the most prized possession of a family and they bring an element of emotion to any claim or lawsuit. When something happens to a child, people react differently then normal circumstances. People are willing to file a lawsuit much quicker when it comes to something involving their child. Even in the event that a lawsuit is unfounded and the business is found to not be negligent, this can still create an enormous cost to a business in the form of legal fees.

Workplace Safety Concerns

When it comes to the health and well-being of employees, Daycare Centers have many different types of risks. Common slips, trips, and falls are always a concern. Lower back injuries can be common because of having to pick up kids frequently. Germs are a large risk that needs to be dealt with. Providing antibacterial soap and hand sanitizer is essential to keep your employees healthy and on the job.

How can Daycare Centers Adapt?

The good thing is many agencies offer exclusive programs designed for the child care industry. If they are an independent agent, they can usually find programs with several insurance companies. This can help daycare centers find the lowest rates on coverage and prevent large fluctuations in premium.

Children waiting for lunch at a daycare center.

NCCI Classification Codes for Daycare Programs

Class Codes Brief Business Description of Operations we Cover
8869 Child Care Centers- All Employees. This classification typically includes centers that care for both pre-school and school-aged children. It doesn’t include traditional schools with before and after school care programs. However this class would include child care centers operated by organizations such as YMCA’s and churches.
7380 Drivers and Chauffeurs. This is a common class code utilized for day care centers with vans or buses for transportation.
8868 College- Professional Employees. Adult day care facilities may utilize this code for day time senior care where there is very limited medical care involved. May also be applicable to learning centers.
9101 College- Other Employees. This code would apply to adult care staff who are not in a professional role or utilizes specialized skills. This may include maintenance, grounds keepers, food service and driving.
8868 Massachusetts Only- Child Day Care Centers utilize this code
NOTE Contact a Workers Comp Specialist for more information on properly classifying your day care business.
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Trim Carpenters

There are many different aspects of the construction industry. Some businesses are generalists and focus primarily on new home construction. Other businesses focus primarily on remodeling of existing structures. Still other businesses focus on a specific niche within the construction industry. Some examples of these niche companies include: framers, roofing companies, floor installation, and even trim carpenters. Trim carpenters are one area of the construction industry that have a unique risk associated with the work they do. Here is a description of exactly what a trim carpenter does and what they need to be concerned with when it comes to dealing with the workers compensation system.

Tools used by a Trim Carpenter.

What Trim Carpenters Do 

Trim Carpenters perform construction work only on the interior of a property. This may include cabinet installation, interior trim, remodeling, repair, finishing or refinishing. Contractors and Remodelers perform both interior and exterior work. Exterior carpentry includes framing work, such as structural support for a new building or residence. Normally, Interior Carpentry consists both rough and finish work. Rough work involves framing windows and doors, laying floor joists and sub-floors, stairways and more. Finish carpentry work examples include: hanging doors, installing baseboards and molding around doors and windows, making or installing cabinets as well as shelving or other custom built-ins.

Trim Carpenter sanding wood for use on a job.

Workers Compensation Concerns for Trim Carpenters

The liability a Trim Carpenter faces related to Workers Compensation varies based on the size and nature of the job. The physical nature of the job for trim carpenters creates elevated levels of injuries. Hand tools and sharp objects such as saws, chisels and nails are common to all types of carpentry. These tools can cause an excessive amount of cuts, piercings and accidental amputation. Hernias, strains, sprains, and back injuries related to lifting occur more frequently then other industries. When an adequate focus on safety is present can limit the frequency and severity of injuries that occur. When work is done at height, additional risks are present. There is a potential for more severe injuries and even death when work is done on ladders and scaffolds at height. Maintenance of ladders and scaffolds is crucial in order to limit injuries to employees who do work at heights. The use of proper safety equipment should be a part of any company culture no matter if the business is a one man operation or includes dozens of employees.

Painter finishing a job before turning over a new house to its owner.

Additional recommended coverages for Trim Carpenters:

  • General Liability Insurance
  • Inland Marine Insurance
  • Commercial Auto (and Hired and Non-Owned)
  • Business Personal Property
  • Employee Dishonesty
  • Inland Marine
  • Umbrella Liability Coverage
  • Business Income with Extra Expense

Common Workers Compensation Class Codes:

  • 5437: Carpentry—Cabinets and Interior Trim
  • 5403: Carpenters—Not Classified Elsewhere
  • 2802: Carpentry—Shop Only
  • 5432: California Class—Carpentry
  • 5645: Carpentry—Residential Construction

 

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Washington Workers Compensation Insurance Rates 2019

Washington Workers Compensation Insurance Rates 2019

There is good news making waves throughout the state of Washington in 2019. The good news is the business community is paying less for workers compensation insurance this year. On average, businesses are paying 5 percent less for coverage compared to 2018. This marks the largest drop in more than 10 years and the effects went in to place as of the first of the year. With this decrease, employers will pay an average of approximately $58 less per employee for a year of workers’ compensation coverage. Workers will also see the amount they contribute to the workers compensation system decrease by an average of $6 a year. This combines for a total savings of $136 million less in premiums during 2019 for workers and employers.

Seattle, Washington Skyline

Why are Washington Workers Compensation Insurance Rates Declining in 2019

One of the main reasons for declining Workers Compensation Insurance Rates in Washington for 2019 is the projected long term costs for the workers’ compensation system have fallen more than $2 billion thanks to a number of reasons.  The Labor and Industries (L&I) Department within the state government has enacted a number of programs that have helped injured workers heal and return to work, reduce opioid use during treatment, and provide vocational support earlier in injury claims. The state has seen dramaticly positive results as a result of L&I implementing opioid prescription guidelines. The guidelines have resulted in a 90 percent reduction in the number of workers receiving opioids at six to 12 weeks after injury. THis has also been in conjunction with the agency providing vocational support and assistance earlier in injury claims. Stepping in earlier in the process has helped reduce injured workers from winding up on long term disability. According to L&I Director Joel Sacks, ‘We’ve seen a big drop in injuries at work in our state since 2012. And that’s great news because preventing injuries and making workplaces safe is our number one goal’.

Mount Rainier National Park in Washington State

What Can Washington Businesses do to Maximize Savings?

Invest in Safety

The one main aspect of what a business pays for workers compensation insurance is the experience modification rating. The one aspect of this rating a business has control over is the loss ratio.  The loss ratio is the percent of insurance premium a business pays to the insurance carrier compared to the expected loss incurred by the carrier as a result of that business.  This ratio is the one aspect of commercial insurance businesses have some control over. Implementing effective safety programs and documenting them is the best way to impact this ratio.

Shop Around

Shopping around for the best insurance rate possible is always a wise decision. It is not wise to base your decision to buy insurance solely on price and it is not wise to switch agencies or carriers each year based on a slight dip in price. Relationships still mean something in the insurance industry. It is important to look around if for nothing else than to make sure your agent and your carrier are offering a competitive price.

Partner with an Independent Agent

The most efficient way to shop around your policy is by partnering with an independent insurance agent. An independent agent is not tied solely to one carrier. They can offer your business the policies of many different carriers. This offers your business many more choices. Also, an independent agent can give you unbiased advice about each policy and each carrier. Margins within the insurance industry are extremely tight. When a carrier offers a drastically lower rate then the competition there is a reason for it. The reason for a lower price is rarely, the coverage is better or the carrier offers better claims service. When you partner with an independent agent, they can tell you the positives and negatives to each carrier and help you make a well informed decision.

Public Fish Market in Downtown Seattle, Washington

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Accounting Firms

Accountants, CPA’s, Bookkeepers, Auditing, Tax Preparing Services, and Payroll Services 

Businesses in the accounting industry have very unique risks that only businesses in this industry face. These businesses face enormous risk when it comes to dealing with people and businesses sensitive financial information. Cyber Security is extremely important for accounting firms. When it comes to Workers Compensation Concerns, the risk of severe injury are small. Because of the nature of an office setting, repetitive use injuries are the biggest risk. A sedentary lifestyle is also a concern for the health of the workforce in general. Creating some form of incentive to encourage your employees to stay physically fit is a good idea to prevent absenteeism. In most cases it creates a happy and healthy workforce. Slips, trips, and falls are not a huge problem to this industry, but they should not be taken lightly. Focusing on ergonomics will help employees prevent repetitive use injuries and prevent back problems from arising.

Picture of a persons desk while working at an accounting firm.

Even though an accounting firm operates in an office setting, there is a need to pay attention to the up keep of the facility the business operates. Keeping the parking lot well lit and free of debris can prevent many slip, trip, and fall claims from occurring. Even you operate in an area of the country where cold weather is common during the Winter Months, it is important to have a plan in place for removing snow and ice from the parking area and walkways. Common areas within the facility should be kept clean and clutter free. Someone needs to be in charge of the general maintenance of the facility. Smoke detectors needs to be in working order.

Accounting Firm picture on a laptop computer with stacks of coins getting gradually larger.

Additional Coverages for Accounting Professionals:

✓ General Liability Insurance
✓ Professional Liability Insurance (E&O)
✓ Hired and Non-Owned Auto
✓ Employee Dishonesty Bond

General Liability Insurance

In most states throughout the country, general liability insurance is required by law for most businesses. This is commonly the first policy a business purchases, along with workers compensation insurance. Just purchasing GL and WC can be a risky proposition for most businesses. General Liability will cover the business for the common liability it faces to outside third parties damaged by the actions of the business. These damages can be both property damage and bodily injury. In most cases, clients do not visit the office location or an accounting firm. If they do it is not very frequent or for very long. This keeps the liability risk fairly low. Off-premises exposures arise when employees are engaged in sales visits, training sessions, and physical audits at the client’s location. There should be strict policies and training for how an employee should conduct themselves when conducting off-site work.

Professional Liability Coverage

Professional Liability is a necessary coverage for most all accounting firms. Professional Liability is also frequently referred to as Errors and Omissions or E&O. The nature of the business for accounting firms is giving professional advice and providing audits. When the advice is not up to par, liability can arise. These risks can be related to include the services the business provides, the credentials and experience of the employees, and the ratio of professional to clerical employees. Thorough background checks must be done on all employees to verify education and to prove they do not have a financial criminal history. In many cases, failure to adequately monitor staffs credentials can cause a claim to not be covered. Limiting the amount of professional work clerical staff are allowed to do can prevent risks from arising related to E&O Claims.

Commercial Auto Insurance

Risks associated with driving normally low for accounting firms. If the business owns vehicles that are only used for business purposes, a traditional commercial auto policy will suffice. If you have employees who travel and use rental cars or employees who use their personal vehicles for business purposes, a hired and non-owned auto policy needs to be added for the business to be properly protected.

Employee Dishonesty Bond

An Employee Dishonesty Bond is highly recommended for businesses that operate as an accounting firm. There are two main types of criminal exposure that are covered by a bond. The bonds that can be purchased to protect a business from losses related to the criminal activity committed employees. Those two ways to protect your business from this exposure is through a Commercial Crime Insurance Policy or a Fidelity Bond.  A Fidelity Bond is a form of insurance that covers losses resulting from employee dishonesty, fraud.  A Fidelity Bond is meant to act as a security against potential fraudulent employees as well as disgruntled employees.  A Commercial Crime Insurance Policy is typically designed to meet the needs of organizations other than financial institutions (such as banks). A commercial crime policy typically provides several different types of crime coverage like: employee dishonesty, forgery, computer fraud, funds transfer fraud, kidnap, etc. Both of these policies will cover losses due to the actions of your employees. If you are not sure which type is best for you it is always best to consult with an experienced independent insurance agent to make sure you are properly covered.

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Common Classification Codes Associated with Accounting Firms:

NCCI Workers Compensation Codes:

  • 8803- Accountant, Auditor; traveling
  • 8810- Clerical; office only

SIC Business Insurance Codes:

  • 8721: Accounting, Auditing and Bookkeeping Services
  • 7291: Tax Return Preparation Services

NAICS Liability Classifications:

  • 541211: Offices of Certified Public Accountants
  • 541213: Tax Preparation Services
  • 541214: Payroll Services
  • 541219: Other Accounting Services

Business ISO General Liability:

  • 41677: Accounting/Consulting

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