6 Tips to Reduce Your Workers Comp Premium

Here are Six Ways To Save on Workers Comp Premium

There are many aspects of a business that determine what a business pays for workers comp premium. Some of the factors, are not controllable. Take for instance the state you operate in or the industry you operate in. Other factors are a direct reflection of the actions of the business. An example of this is the amount of insurance claims a business has in a particular year. Here are six steps a business can take to limit what they pay for workers compensation insurance premium.

Workers Comp Premium may be high for a Small Business Coffee Shop.

Partner With an Independent Insurance Agent

Partnering with an independent insurance agent is the best way to get the most comprehensive coverage at rock bottom rates. This is because an independent agent has access to multiple carriers and they know which carriers are hungry to quote certain coverages or industries. This knowledge can help them quote your policy with the carriers who are actively seeking out your type of business. This saves time and gets your business access to the best workers comp premium rates possible.

Shop around your policy

A good way to shop around your policy is by partnering with an independent insurance agent and let them do the shopping for you. It is not a good idea to switch carriers every year for a slight drop in workers comp premium. It is important to make sure your carrier is competitive with the current marketplace. The only way to find out is to shop around periodically.

Implement a Well-Documented Safety Program

A Well-Documented Safety Program is a great way to reduce the frequency and severity of the insurance claims your business files. It means your employees will get hurt less frequently and be more productive. A safety program does not have to be extensive in order to be effective. It does need to be regular and it needs buy in from the entire organization. The best way to get buy in is for the leadership of the business to prioritize safety and communicate that to staff frequently. Documentation of all meetings is important because it can help your agent negotiate lower rates at renewal and prevent steep increases after a year in which the business experiences several or one large claim.

Include a Return-to-Work Program

A Return-to-Work Program is a great way to show your employees you care about them, you value their contributions, and want them to remain a part of your organization. A return-to-work program should be well thought out and it should be put down in writing. It is important to have some key employees from all levels of your business be a part of the process of developing a return-to-work program. The program must include limited capacity work to get employees back on the job quickly. Employees who get back on the job quickly are more likely to return to full-time permanent work.

Report all Incidents Quickly

If you stay in business long enough, injured employees are going to happen. When incidents do happen, it is important to document everything that happened as quickly as possible. Incident reports are important for internal processing, but the Acord 130 Form is what needs to be filed with your insurance carrier within 24 hours of an incident.

Communicate Throughout the Claim Process

Injured employees have a lot to deal with. Making the process as smooth as possible is the responsibility of the business. Communication is key to getting your injured employee teh benefits they deserve and to get them back on the job quickly. Communicating with your insurance agent, insurance carrier, medical facility, and injured employee is crucial to a smooth process.

 

Posted in General | Leave a comment

How do I plan for an Injured Employee?

When an employee is injured, it is extremely important for the leaders of a business to respond as fast as possible. This response includes dealing with the medical issues of the injured employee as well as filing the proper workers’ compensation paperwork. Taking care of both the human and the business side of an incident involving an injured employee will go a long way towards the success of a business. Here are four ways to respond when your business experiences an injured employee.

Read and Follow OSHA’s recommendations

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets the standards employers are expected to follow regarding workplace safety. Employers should also know what to do when safety measures fail and an employee is injured at work because the more prepared a business is, the less likely an injury at work will prove costly. With this in mind, there are four main steps that can help business owners plan ahead.

Slips, Trips, and Falls are the most common reason for an injured employee.

Plan ahead and Prepare

The first step in protecting employees is being preparation. Workplace accidents happen, but they happen less frequently and are less severe when the organization is prepared. A quick response to any incident can not only reduce the severity of the injury, but also the cost of the injury. Developing a response plan should be a part of your business leaders monthly and yearly routine. These plans, if executed properly, can minimize common hazards and prevent injuries before they occur.  This process should include:

  • Creating response plans
  • Training employees and supervisors on those response plans
  • Stocking first-aid supplies and making sure they are easily accessible
  • Maintaining emergency contacts in a file where all employees have access
  • Assigning a safety officer or a safety committee to assess potential risks

Respond immediately after injury

When an injury occurs to one of your employees, the first thing anyone involved in your  agency should do is take care of the immediate needs of the injured employee. It is the right thing to do from a human aspect, but also it is the right thing to do from a business stand point. Taking care of the injured employee requires you to first get the injured employee to a safe place, assess the severity of the injury and how best to proceed, help the injured feel better, and gather the necessary information about how the injury occurred (When, Where, How, etc). Having your own internal reporting process is important because after this information is gathered, the manager can use this information to file a first report of injury form with your insurance carrier. Shortly after an injury occurs, the difference between preparedness and panic can be huge. Preparation is the best way to make sure your employees keep a cool head after a worker is injured on the job. This will minimize the severity of the injury and protect the business from additional liability.

Paperwork and Communication are Crucial

When a business experiences an injured employee, the manager on duty should first and foremost take care of the injured employee, but at the same time they need to document as much as possible. This will aide the injured employee in getting timely medical coverage through the workers compensation system. It is also in the best interest of the employer to maintain open communication with both the insurance carrier, the doctor, and the injured employee. This will expedite the claims process and allow the employee to get the benefits they deserve fast. A return to work program should be in place for getting injured employees back on the job, even in a limited capacity, faster and it will make the injured employee more likely to return to full time permanent work.

Prepare for a Lawsuit 

sometimes, when an employee is hurt on the job they decide to sue the employer. Even when an injured employee sues, it is wise to continue to keep the lines of communication open and help the employee get the workers compensation benefits they deserve. It will not look good in the eyes of a judge or a jury if the business shuts off communication in the face of a lawsuit.

The lawsuit does not have to be founded and damages do not have to be awarded for it to amount to an enormous cost for a business. It is wise to share all relevant information, including documentation, with attorneys and claims adjusters throughout the legal process. This is because the longer a litigated claim lasts, the more expensive it tends to become. It is also wise to remember that settling a claim early can prevent a much costlier, drawn-out lawsuit. Your insurance carrier should be able to give you advice throughout this process. Do not let pride get in the way. Most of the time it is best to settle and get back to business no mater what the facts of the lawsuit entail.

Posted in Small Business | Leave a comment

Kansas Workers Compensation Rates are Declining in 2019

5th Consecutive year of Decreasing Pure Premium Rates for Kansas Workers Compensation 

Kansas Workers Compensation Insurance Rates in 2019 will be declining by 6.4 percent in the voluntary market and declining by 10.8 percent for assigned risk workers comp rates. This marks the 5th consecutive year business owners in the state of Kansas have enjoyed decreasing rates for workers comp premium. From 2015-2019 the cumulative rates will have dropped almost 45 percent in the voluntary base rate and nearly 50 percent in the assigned risk rate. These decreases will benefit approximately 70,000 Kansas businesses.

Cornfield along the Kansas Plains

Why are Kansas Workers Compensation Rates Declining in 2019?

There are a number of reasons for a decrease in Kansas Workers Compensation rates for 2019. According to Trey Gillespie, vice president of workers compensation with the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America. ‘Most states have experienced an ongoing decline in claims frequency while indemnity, severity and medical severity have been relatively stable’.  According to the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) 67 percent of workers’ compensation benefit distribution goes to pay medical claims, and 33 percent goes to indemnity claims. In layman’s terms, what all of this means is that businesses report fewer claims to their insurance carriers and the claims that they do report are less severe. The result of this trend is that insurance carriers do not have to pay out as much to service the policies. Because of these favorable trends the carriers are able to pass on some of these savings to the business community throughout the state.

Skyline of Kansas City, Kansas

What can Business Owners do for Ultimate Savings?

Use an Independent Agent

Partnering with an independent agent is always a great way to ensure maximum savings on the most comprehensive coverage available. An independent agent is a good partner because they can shop your policy around to multiple carriers in an attempt to get better coverage at lower rates by forcing the carriers to compete for your coverage. An independent agent will allow you to focus on running your business while your agent shops around your insurance policy.

Classify Properly

In order to maximize savings when it comes to all forms of commercial insurance, it is important to first make sure all employees are classified properly. Many businesses have employees who partake in drastically different areas of the business. Some of those businesses have employees who work in office or clerical work, other employees who are salesman who spend a lot of time out at third party locations, and still other employees who work doing physical labor. All of these employees need to be placed in the proper classification code and their payroll needs to be strictly measured.

Control Your Experience Modification Rating

The experience modification rating of a business is crucial to limiting what you pay for workers compensation.  The first thing an underwriter looks at when determining if to offer your business coverage and what to charge you for that coverage, is the classification code of your business and the experience modification rating of that is business.

Invest in Safety Protocols

Safety is the name of the game in any business. It is what is best for your employees as well as your customers. It is also important when it comes time to purchase commercial insurance. a safer business will have less claims and the claims it does have will be less severe. A small investment in a safety program can pay huge dividends when looking for the lowest Florida Workers Comp Rates.

Add a Return to Work Program to your Safety Policy

A Return to Work Program can significantly impact your experience modification rating in a positive way. When an employee is hurt and not able to work they are much more likely to develop new habits outside of their daily work routine. The longer they stay off the job, the more likely the injured employee is to become long term unemployed. This can have a drastic impact on the experience modification rating of the business. Businesses that are able to get an employee back on the job, even in a limited capacity, are more likely to have those employees return to permanent work.

Posted in General | Leave a comment

The Uniqueness of the Utah Workers Compensation System

Workers Compensation System in Utah is Strong 

The Utah Workers Compensation System is very unique. The system of provides for the ‘Exclusive Remedy’ to both businesses and employees within the state and it does it in a much better way than most states. The results of the unique system are Utah Businesses pay some of the lowest rates for workers comp insurance of any state across the country. Workers Compensation Rates in Utah for 2019 have only four states who pay less for workers comp coverage than the state of Utah. Those states are Arkansas, Indiana, North Dakota, and West Virginia. Each of these states except Indiana have a noticeably smaller GDP than Utah. Utah has some things working in its favor that help the market develop in a positive way for the business community in Utah. Here is a detailed description of the uniqueness of Utahs’ Workers Compensation System, what the Utah Workers Compensation System does well, and some additional ways Utah Business Owners can Maximize Savings.

Delicate Arch, Arches National Park, Moab, Utah

How is the Utah Workers Compensation System Unique?

In the state of Utah all employers are required to carry Workers’ Compensation Coverage. If your business is a sole proprietorship or a partnership and you have no employees other than the sole proprietor or partner than you are not required to carry coverage. If these types of businesses interact with general contractors than either the business or the general contractor will need to provide a certificate of insurance that the contractor is covered in order to be in compliance with the state Department of Insurance.

Utah partners with the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) to establish classification codes and to determine pure premium rates. Most states who partner with NCCI enjoy more competitive rates on workers comp coverage. Utah is one of those states. The state provider within the state of Utah is extremely strong and this competition from the state provider forces all other carriers who offer coverage within the state to compete for business within the state.

Mountain Scene outside of Salt Lake City, Utah

What does the Utah Workers Compensation System do well?

Public Private Partnership

NCCI and WCF partner within the state of Utah to create one of the strongest workers compensation systems in the country. NCCI creates classification codes and recommended pure premium rates. WCF is the state provider within the state and they commonly dominate between 55 and 60 percent of the market.

Utah has a Strong State Fund

The state fund provider in the state of Utah is called the Workers Compensation Fund (WCF). Depending upon the year, WCF controls between 55 and 60 percent of the market for Workers Compensation Utah. The next largest market share by another insurance carrier is typically just over 3 percent of the market. This domination of the marketplace allows WCF to control the cost of workers compensation throughout the state. Any carrier who wants to offer coverage in the state of Utah has to compete for business with WCF. This competition forces all carriers offering coverage within the state to keep their price for premium low in order to compete for business. The result is the business community has some of the lowest rates for work comp coverage of any state in the country.

House Bill 288

In 2018, House Bill 288 (HB288) passed the state legislature. HB288 makes it unlawful for employer to interfere with an employee’s ability to seek workers’ compensation benefits, or to retaliate against employee for seeking benefits. This bill establish fines of up to $5,000 for each individual violation.

Senate Bill 75

Senate Bill 75 (SB75) allows the Division of Industrial Accidents to waive the statutory penalty for failure to purchase workers’ compensation insurance.  SB75 states that the violation must be the employer’s first violation and the period of noncompliance must be less than 180 days. If this is the case, the employer must secure coverage and prove no injury was  reported to the Division during the period of noncompliance. This allows businesses one chance to go without coverage and still get a waiver. This is not the case for business that are serial non-compliers. Also, when a reduction is granted, the penalty will be reduced by the amount equal to the premium the employer would have paid for workers’ compensation insurance” based on the supplied payroll records.

Salt Lake City, Utah

What can businesses do to maximize savings

Safety Programs

Safety Programs are the single biggest move any business can make to positively impact how much the business pays for workers compensation insurance premium. Safety Programs, if well documented and well executed can limit the frequency and severity of accidents that happen to employees while at work. When a business files less claims and the claims that it does file are less severe, the insurance carrier is more likely to dig deep for additional credits and discounts when quoting coverage.

Drug and Alcohol Policies

In addition to a well thought out safety program, it is equally important to have a Drug and Alcohol Policy policy in place to keep all employees healthy and happy. Depending upon the type of work your business does and the training level of your employees, drug testing may need to be done either as a requirement for a job offer or as a regular part of your business plan. Partnering with an experienced risk management professional can help your leadership team develop a policy that is effective for your business.

Working With Inured Employees

If a business stays in business long enough it is going to experience an injured employee. How you work with the employee through the return to work process will go a long way towards the success of your business. Helping them get to the correct facility to get the best care and informing them of the process to get wage replacement benefits is important to keeping the injured worker and other employees happy. Remember, the other employees are watching how you treat an injured employee and they more than likely are wondering how they will be treated if something happens to them. Communicating with everyone involved in the process is important to help your employee get the medical care they deserve and get them back on the job as quickly as possible.

Return to work

A return to work program should be a part of any effective safety program. When executed correctly, a return to work program can help get employees back to work quicker and keep insurance claim from getting out of control. This is important because humans are creatures of habit. The longer an injured employee stays off the job, the longer they have to develop new habits outside of their normal work routine. The longer they stay off the job, the more likely they are to never return to normal permanent work. This is when a workers compensation claim can get out of hand and have lasting impact on the business experience modification rating.

Posted in General | Leave a comment

Delaware Workers Compensation Insurance Rates are on the Decline in 2019

2019 is the Second Straight Year of Declining Rates for Delaware Workers Compensation Insurance 

In 2019 Workers Compensation Insurance Rates for the state of Delaware will be declining by 7.3% for the residual market and nearly 10% for the voluntary market. This is the second straight year rates have declined in Delaware and the rates took effect December 1, 2018. According to Trinidad Navarro, the Delaware Insurance Commissioner,  “I am delighted to approve yet another decrease in workers’ compensation rates in Delaware and even happier to see a double-digit average decrease in the voluntary market.  For many Delaware businesses, large and small, this year’s decrease means significant savings and is an incentive for smaller businesses to relocate to Delaware.”

Atlantic Coast Lighthouse in Delaware

Why is there a Decline in Delaware Workers Comp Rates 2019?

Delaware Workers Compensation Insurance Rates 2019 are declining for a number of reasons. One major reason is the Delaware Workplace Safety Program. This program has helped more than 1,500 businesses save over $9.8 million on workers’ comp premiums. Workplace Safety Inspections have largely contributed to these steep declines in premium. Focusing on safety programs is the best way to limit the frequency and severity of insurance claims for businesses of all sizes.

Centreville, Delaware

What Can Business Owners do to Maximize Delaware Workers Compensation Insurance Rates 2019?

Delaware Workers Compensation Insurance Rates 2019 are declining for the second year in a row. There are additional ways a business owner can make sure they are maximizing every way to save on commercial insurance. Here are four tips for saving when purchasing coverage.

Understand the Businesses Experience Modification Rating

The Experience Modification Rating of a business is the main factor businesses can control that impacts what the business pays for workers compensation insurance. Insurance carriers have underwriters who determine whether to offer coverage to a business and what to charge for that coverage. These underwriters use the experience mod as the most impactful measurement when making a decision.  Keeping this rating low is important. Implementing safety programs that include an effective return to work program can decrease the frequency and severity of claims.

Classify Employees Properly

Workers Comp Codes are extremely important when it comes to maximizing savings on commercial insurance. First a business owner must make sure all employees are classified properly.  Most businesses have employees who are in different roles that require different sets of responsibilities. Office employees should be classified differently than travelling sales people and different from blue collar workers. Keeping accurate payroll numbers and making sure each employee is classified properly will go a long way towards cleaning up your relationship with your insurance carrier.

Shop Around Each Policy

An additional way to maximize savings, a business owner should shop around their policy periodically. It is not a good idea to switch carriers each year based upon a modest decline in premium, but it is important to check periodically to make sure your carrier is competitive with the marketplace.  Long term relationships still mean something. Especially  when the business has to file a large claim or the business has a year in which there are several small claims. Long term relationships will help when negotiating to prevent an increase in premium when you are renewing after a bad claims year.

Partner with an Independent Agent

Shopping your policy around to multiple can be a time consuming process. Unless you or someone on your staff is well-versed in the insurance quoting process, it may be much more cost effective to allow an independent agent to shop your insurance package so you don’t have to. An independent agent has the inside knowledge to know which carriers are hungry to quote your industry and the policies that you need. Without this knowledge, it could take an enormous amount of time to get the best deal on the most comprehensive coverage for your business.  Partnering with an independent agent can allow you to get back to running your business while the insurance agent shops out your policy.  This can maximize savings while getting your business more comprehensive coverage.

 

Posted in rates | Leave a comment

Nevada Workers Compensation Rates are on the Decline in 2019

7.3% Decrease on Nevada Workers Compensation Rates 2019

Next year, the business community in the state of Nevada will enjoy paying 7.3 percent less for Nevada Workers Compensation Rates 2019. These decreases will not be across the board. Some industries will see more of a decrease and some industries may not see a decrease at all.  This is because there are many factors that go in to what a business pays for workers compensation coverage, but on average are part of what determines what a business pays for coverage.  Across the board, the business community in the state of Nevada is going to pay 7.3 percent less for workers compensation coverage.

Why are Nevada Workers Compensation Rates Declining in 2019?

There are a number of reasons for the moderate decline in workers compensation rates in Nevada. According to the Nevada Division of Insurance, “claim frequency continues to decline countrywide due to improvements in automation and workplace safety”. The decline in claims frequency has allowed insurance carriers to pay out less for insurance claims. Because of these declines, the insurance carriers are able to pass some of these savings on to their customers. This is great news for the business environment in Nevada.

What can Nevada Businesses do to Maximize Savings?

Pay as You Go Workers Compensation Insurance 

A Pay as You Go Workers Compensation Insurance Policy can help businesses free up cash by lowering what it costs to get coverage in place. The program also increases accuracy in premium payments because the payments are made in real time based upon the previous months payroll. If access to cash is an issue for your business, the Pay as You Go Option may be right for your business.

Safety Programs

Safety Programs are the most effective way to lower what you pay for workers compensation insurance. It is a long term commitment, so the savings will not occur immediately. Creating a safe environment for your customers and staff will decrease the number of insurance claims and lower the amount of missed time your business has due to injured workers. This will make the business more productive and encourage your insurance carrier to give you a better rate on premium because you are less likely to file claims.

Return-to-Work Program

If you stay in business long enough, an injured worker is going to occur. It is not a matter of if, but when. Having an established return to work program will help you limit the amount of time an injured worker is off the job. The quicker they return to the job, the more likely they are to return to full time permanent work. This helps limit the severity of workers compensation insurance claims.

Create an Ergonomically Friendly Workplace  

It is very worthwhile to create work spaces that can fit each employees individual needs. This may cost more on the front end to provide and ergonomically safe environment, but it can save your business immensely in the form of lowered productivity because of injured workers. Businesses that create a safer environment have employees that are less prone to physical stress or injury, and those businesses file less workers compensation insurance claims.

Monitor Employee Morale

Employee morale is a leading factor that leads to increased accidents and insurance claims. Safe employees are healthy employees and healthy employees are happy employees. If you and your key employees keep an eye on employee morale it can be an effective way to increase productivity and limit the frequency and severity of insurance claims.

Posted in rates | Leave a comment

18 Best Ways to Save on Commercial Insurance in 2019

Shop Your Policy

While it is not wise to switch carriers every year based on a modest decline in premium, shopping around your policy every few years can help you save on insurance premium. If nothing else, shopping around your policy can confirm or deny that your current insurance carrier is competitive in the current market. Looking at other carriers is one of the first things a business owner should do to ensure they are getting the best price when looking for ways to save in 2019.

Partner with an Independent Agent

The best way to save is to get quotes from numerous carriers all in one place is to partner with an independent agent. An independent agent typically has relationships set up with ten to thirty insurance carriers. With these relationships they are able to shop your policy around to get better coverage at lower rates. They also have the knowledge to know which carriers are hungry to quote your industry or the particular coverage you are looking to secure. This can significantly decrease the time it takes to get your business the best offer.

Understand your Experience Modification Rating

The experience modification rating of a business is one of the single most impactful things a business can control involving what the business pays for all types of insurance. Operating a safe organization and limiting the frequency and severity of claims is the best way to keep this rating low.

Make Sure You Have The Proper Job Classifications

Another one of the best ways to save in 2019 is to take additional time to write complete and accurate job descriptions for each employee. It is equally important to put controls in place so the employees do not step out of their assigned responsibilities. For example, a receptionist who is injured doing heavy lifting could impact your business when a claim is filed. If you use independent contractors, it is important to know if the laws in your particular state consider contractors as employees or not.  This can make a significant difference in the amount you pay for workers compensation insurance premium.

Bundle Your Policies

Bundling all insurance policies together is a great idea for two reason. First and foremost, it makes sure there are no gaps in your coverage. Purchasing coverage from multiple carriers can be an extremely expensive mistake for a business. Each carrier has their own specific limitations to each insurance policy. A gap is where the business owner thinks the claim is covered, but there are exclusions within both policies that might cover the claim, but each has a gap. The other benefit to bundling policies is by getting additional credits and discounts from the underwriter. If a carrier knows they are going to get the business of multiple policies, they are much more likely to dig deep and give you extra credits and debits.

Lower Your Limits

Depending upon the specifics of your business, it may be worthwhile to lower the limits of some of your insurance policies. As your equipment ages, there may not be as much of a need to secure the highest limits. Partnering with an independent agent is important in this regard because they can help you determine where you can safely lower your limits and where you should be careful.

Take on a higher deductible.

Taking on a higher deductible can be one of the most effective ways to save in 2019. Higher deductibles can certainly lower the businesses rate of premium. If you do decide to take on a higher deductible, it is important to monitor your businesses cash flow to make sure you can cover the deductible or pay for the loss with cash on hand.

Pay your Premium in full.

If your business has the cash on hand to pay for premium in full for the entire year, it is usually a way to get a discount from your carrier.  Spreading out the payments through the year may seem more doable, if you have the ability it is almost always less to pay the premium all in one payment.

Safety Programs

Operating a well documented safety program is one of the most effective ways to save in 2019. A Workplace Safety Program can lower the frequency and severity of insurance claims. If this happens it will improve the experience modification rating of the business. This can have long-lasting positive impact on the rate of insurance premium a business pays.

Support A Substance-Free Workplace

As part of any safety program should be a well-documented Drug Policy for all employees. Employees who use drugs and alcohol on the job tend to cause more injuries to themselves and others. Statistics also show they cost the business twice as much for workers compensation claims.   Pre-employment drug testing is important and ongoing random tests may be necessary depending upon the nature of your business.  A drug policy should not start and end with testing of employees. There should also be some way to help employees dealing with substance abuse issues. partnering with Alcoholics Anonymous or other similar organizations to help any and all employees with a problem get the help and guidance they need is essential to lasting success.

Make your Workplace Ergonomically Friendly  

One way to help your employees have a safe and comfortable work environment is to focus on the ergonomics of your office. It may be necessary to customize each individual work space to meet the needs of each individual employee. An employee who is six foot six inches tall will have different needs than someone who is five foot seven inches tall. Meeting the needs of each employee where they are is important to creating an ergonomically friendly environment. This may seem like a large cost up front, but it will be part of the most cost effective ways to save in 2019 for the long run. Limiting injuries that can cause workers compensation claims and cause employees to be out of work for extended periods of time can be done with an ergonomically friendly workplace.

Monitor Employee Morale

Monitoring employee morale is an effective way to keep employees happy and stop disgruntled employees from becoming many disgruntled employees. An unhappy worker can become careless in their work if that festers throughout the organization, it can create an unsafe work environment. . Taking steps to proactive about employee morale can help you deal with employee morale before it becomes a much bigger problem that is much more difficult to control at a later time.

Investigate Near Misses

It is important to create an environment where employees talk to you and your key employees about what has happened throughout the day. If there is a near miss situation it is the perfect teachable moment to show all staff what can happen when dealing with certain situations. It also can be a time when the leadership of an organization can learn and improve upon the businesses operations. Learning from near misses is always one of the best ways to save in 2019

Don’t Ignore Employees out on Workers Comp

When an employee is injured and not able to work. It is important to provide this employee with as much assistance as possible. Stay in communication with those employees in a way to show them you care. This is a way to get the employee back on the job sooner and back to full-time normal work quicker than other employees.

Return-to-Work Program

It is important to develop light duty ways for employees to get back on the job when they are hurt and not able to work. The quicker you get an injured employee back on the more likely they are to eventually return to full time permanent work.  These programs are better when you plan for them before you have an injured worker.  One of the best ways to save in 2019 is to set up a Return To Work Program that can get injured employees back on the job and back in to their work day routine quicker than a business without a plan.

Pay as You Go Workers Compensation Insurance 

A Pay as You Go Workers Compensation Insurance Policy is a great option for seasonal or cash strapped businesses.  This option allows a business to get coverage in place for a much smaller amount. It also reduces the likelihood of under or overpaying premium throughout the year because premium payments are made each month based upon the real time payroll from the previous month.

Establish a Safety Committee

Establishing a safety committee is a perfect way to get your staff involved in making your business more safe and is one of the best ways to save in 2019. Getting a person from each department is a good place to start. Creating a timeline for regular meetings and what should be done in between meetings. Also, it is important to have documented ways to put in to place everything that comes out of those meetings.

 

 

 

Posted in General | Leave a comment

Kentucky Workers Compensation Rates are Declining in 2019

10.8% Decreases are in store for the Business Community in Kentucky 

In 2019, the business community in Kentucky will pay significantly less for Workers Compensation Premium.  Rates in 2019 will be 10.8 percent less than 2018. This is the 13th consecutive year of decreases in what businesses pay for Kentucky Workers Compensation Rates. The average reduction applies predominantly to the industries of manufacturing, office and clerical, contracting, as well as goods and services. Not all industries and businesses will see as significant of an decrease. Some businesses may see no increase at all depending upon their class code and their experience modification rating.  Coal classes increased 11.7 percent for surface mining and 16.7 percent for underground mining. Some industries will see better decreases in premium based largely on the appetite of the carriers operating within the state. No matter what, overall the business community will benefit from better Kentucky Workers Compensation Rates 2019.

Kentucky is the unofficial home of Horse Racing.

Why are Kentucky Workers Compensation Rates Declining in 2019

Rates are declining in Kentucky because of a number of reasons including; stability in written premium, lower combined ratios throughout the state, and lower loss-time claim frequency. Additionally, some legislative reforms have contributed to the decrease in Kentucky Workers Compensation Rates 2019. House Bill 2 (HB2) was a substantial factor in declining rates. HB2 cuts off workers’ compensation benefits when the employee becomes eligible for Social Security benefits, or two years after the injury or last exposure. Additionally HB2 attempts to, re-examine the cut-off provision in an effort to be all-inclusive. Instead of benefits terminating based on Social Security eligibility, now all income benefits will terminate when the employee reaches seventy (70) years of age, or four (4) years after the injury or last exposure, whichever last occurs. Insurance carriers anticipate this bill will result in lowering the amount they pay out for part-time and permanent disability benefits.

Belle of Louisville

Kentucky Workers Compensation System Over Haul

The legislature within the state of Kentucky have decided in the second half of 2018 to move forward with an over haul of the states workers compensation system.  This overhaul will be the biggest changes the system in Kentucky has seen in nearly two decades.  The changes revolve predominantly around HB2. HB2 is designed to help contain underlying costs and improving the system as a whole.  The changes will impact medical expenses and benefits within the Kentucky Workers Compensation System. This Overhaul also takes additional steps to address the opioid epidemic with pharmaceutical medical treatment guidelines. These guidelines are attempting to deliver appropriate care to injured workers while reducing waste related to the opioid epidemic.

As a benefit to injured employees, HB2 attempts to increase maximum compensation rates for temporary and permanent and permanent partial disability benefits. The overhaul also attempts to improve access to vocational rehabilitation services as well as improve the dispute resolution system. Also, HB2 attempts to place a 15 year benefit cap from the date of injury to apply to some workers filing claims because of on the job claims. Many of the workers eligible for this cap eventually return to the workforce. This should save the Kentucky Workers Compensation System extensively moving forward.

Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Barrels

What can Kentucky Business Owners do to Maximize Savings?

Create and Distribute Safety Guides

Safety guidelines can be prepared to address the specific risks your business faces. No matter what industry you operate in it is crucially important to prepare safety procedures for your employees to follow while on the job. Creating these guidelines does not have to be extensively time-consuming, but they should be thorough.

Implement the Safety Guidelines

Once the safety guide is produced, it is important to talk about it with all staff periodically and regularly. An emphasis on safety should start the day an employee is hired and should continue throughout their employment.

Maintain and Replace Old Equipment

It is important to adequately maintain all equipment employees use and to replace it in an appropriate amount of time. All equipment that your employees use need to be regularly maintained to prevent deterioration and malfunction.

Help your Staff Keep a Tidy Work Environment

Many injuries result from a cluttered work space. Clutter can lead to slips, trips, or falls; which are the most common injuries that result in workers compensation claims.

Use Appropriate Safety Gear 

Requiring your employees to always wear appropriate safety gear is crucial to keeping your staff safe and the frequency of insurance claims low. Safe equipment applies to office employees as well as blue collar employees. Hard hats, gloves, and eye wear are important for some industries. Other industries have employees nee ergonomic office equipment to help office employees with posture and prevent nagging injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome.

Posted in rates | Leave a comment

Alaska Workers Compensation Rates 2019

Continued Decline for Alaska Workers Compensation Rates in 2019

Alaska Workers Compensation Rates 2019 are going to fall more than at any time in nearly 40 years. Announced by Governor Bill Walker during the first half of October, workers compensation rates will be declining by 17.5 percent on average.  This decrease is in addition to a decline of 5.4 percent in 2018.  Since 2015, rates have fallen by approximately 25 percent.  According to the Alaska Labor Commissioner Heidi Drygas, “This would be the biggest year-to-year decrease in workers’ compensation rates in 40 years. The department worked tirelessly to reform the workers’ compensation system to increase efficiency and lower medical costs, both major factors in premiums.”

Alaska Workers Compensation Rates 2019

Alaska Workers Compensation Rates 2019

Alaska Workers Compensation Rates 2019 are improving as a result of a number of factors. Primarily they are declining because of declining claim frequency and favorable medical costs. In a statement from Governor Bill Walker while speaking in front of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development Walker said, “Thank you to the Alaska State Legislature and the Department of Labor and Workforce Development for their work on payment reform, contributing to significant rate reductions for 2019.”

Dog Sledding in Alaska

What can business owners do to Maximize Alaska Workers Compensation Rates 2019?

There are multiple ways a business owners in Alaska can maximize savings on commercial insurance. Especially when it comes to workers compensation. Here is a list of 5 factors a business leader should consider when purchasing workers compensation and other lines of commercial insurance.

Ensure Proper Classification for Workers Comp 

Many businesses have employees who are incorrectly classified for purposes of workers compensation. This can change drastically what a business pays for workers comp coverage. These problems typically get cleared up during a post term audit, but at that time the business has to either pay additional premium or they get a credit from over paying. Even if the business gets a credit, it means the business has had cash unnecessarily tied up in insurance premiums throughout the year.

Install an Effective Safety Program

Safety Programs are the single most influential way a business can control what they pay for all lines of commercial insurance. If installed correctly, a safety program can lower the experience modification rating of the business. This is the single greatest factor an underwriter looks at when deciding to offer coverage to your business and how much to charge for that premium.

Make sure a Return-to-Work Program is included the Safety Program

Included in your safety program should be a return-to-work program that effectively gets injured employees back on the job, even in a limited capacity. The quicker an employee gets back on the job, the more likely they are to return to permanent work. This can help limit the damage to the businesses experience modification rating.

Choose the Pay-as-You-Go Option

Pay as You Go Workers Compensation Insurance is a fairly new program designed to help some businesses get coverage in place quickly and pay insurance premium each month based on the real time payroll from the previous month. With a traditional workers comp policy, premium is paid based upon an estimate of the premium years payroll over 1-3 years. If you operate in an industry that has drastically different payroll from year to year, the pay as you go option may be a great option for your business.

Use an Independent Agent to Purchase Coverage

Independent agents have the ability to quote your coverage out to a number of insurance carriers as opposed to one carrier or a select few. Independent agents also have the insight to know which carriers are actively looking to quote your industry or the coverage you are looking to acquire. This can save your business time and money when looking to quote coverage. It also can get you a more comprehensive insurance package and prevent gaps in coverage.

Posted in rates | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

What is the NCCI Scopes Manual?

The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) was founded in 1923 and located in Boca Raton, Florida. NCCI partners with more than 30 states to provide recommendations about what the insurance carriers within the state should charge for workers compensation insurance premium. The mission of NCCI is to foster a healthy workers compensation system in the states with whom they partner.  They do so by gathering data, analyzing industry trends, and providing objective insurance rate and loss cost recommendations. One beneficial service NCCI provides for the states it partners with is to provide the Scopes Manual for individual Workers Comp Codes.

 

What is the NCCI Scopes Manual?

The NCCI Sopes Manual is designed as an aid to insurance carriers and agents to better understand and more effectively assign workers compensation insurance classifications to businesses in all industries. The Scopes Manual details every employee classification code by providing a definition and a list of employees who fall under each specific code.  The manual also includes definitions as well as codes that are state specific.

Each code is given a four digit number that represents all operations that are included in each particular classification.  What is especially beneficial to underwriters who work at insurance carriers is that the NCCI Scopes Manual offers detailed information about how every sort of work should be classified. This allows underwriters to more confidently analyze the risk of each individual business.

The NCCI Scopes Manual is a copyrighted material.  The only way to obtain a copy of this manual is to buy it directly from NCCI. There are some states who do not partner with NCCI and they create their own manuals. Typically these states provide those manuals at no charge to the business, but they rarely provide as much detailed information.  This does not benefit some business who have employees in many classification codes or that operate in a unique industry.

How Do Insurance Companies use the Scopes Manual?

Carriers

Each insurance carrier has their own formula for how the determine if they are going to offer coverage to a business and if they do offer coverage, how much to charge that business for premium. Errors in placing businesses in the proper classification code are the single most common reason for a business owner to become disgruntled with their insurance agency or carrier.  Being classified improperly ups the likelihood of a mid term audit and can cost a business additional premium at the end of the term if they were placed in a less risky code.

Agencies

Insurance Agencies are true middle men in-between an insurance carrier who provides a product and a business who needs that product. They act on behalf of the business and with the partnership of the insurance carrier. Business owners look to their agency to be their insurance expert and to give them somewhat unbiased advice. The insurance agent is expected to prevent mistakes from happening when purchasing insurance coverage. One of the main mistakes businesses make when purchasing workers compensation insurance is to classify their business improperly. In some ways this is the responsibility of the agent, but the agent can only act upon the information given to them by the business owner or whoever the representative within the business interacts with them. This is why it is extremely important to speak long and honestly with their agent when purchasing insurance and throughout the year when anything about their business changes.

Businesses

Businesses can use the NCCI Scopes Manual to make sure their agent and carrier are classifying them properly and if they are not partnering with an agent and are shopping around for their policy alone. This can be an effective way to save money on premium by purchasing direct from the carrier, but you are taking an additional risk by possibly not buying enough coverage, not classifying your business properly, and by leaving gaps in coverage you may not have the insight to predict.

If you are looking for the Scopes Manual, Workers Compensation Shop provides the classification codes here in Alphabetical and Numerical Organization:

NCCI Scopes Alphabetical List of Class Codes

NCCI Scopes Numerical List of Class Codes

If you are ready to start the quoting process for your own business Click Here to start a quote and one of our agents will contact you soon.

Posted in Class Codes | Leave a comment