Most states – including Pennsylvania – require nearly all employers to carry Workers' Compensation (WC) Insurance, but shopping for WC insurance can be frustrating. American Insuring Group is here to help simplify the process and ensure you have the right coverage at the lowest cost.
What is Workers' Compensation Insurance?
Before we get into the nuts and bolts of purchasing WC Insurance, let's discuss what it is and how your premium is calculated. We will focus on PA WC, but many other states are similar (see first tip below).
The PA Department of Labor & Industry states, "The workers' compensation system protects employees and employers. Employees receive medical treatment and are compensated for lost wages associated with work-related injuries and disease, and employers provide for the cost of such coverage while being protected from direct lawsuits by employees."
In Pennsylvania, whether you have one employee or one hundred employees, full or part-time employees, or your employees are family, you are probably required to have Workers' Compensation Insurance. There are few exemptions, such as railroad workers, federal employees, domestic servants, etc. Failure to provide WC for your employees can lead to significant fines, lawsuits, and even criminal prosecution.
Your Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation premium is based on the following formula:
WC Premium = Classification Code Rate X Experience Modifier X payroll/$100
Here are seven tips for purchasing WC Insurance to ensure you have the right coverage at the lowest cost.
Know What Your State Requires
Your state will determine whether or not you are required to carry Workers' Compensation Insurance, the WC regulations you need to follow, and how you can purchase the insurance. Click here for a state-by-state comparison and links to the entities responsible for Workers' Compensation. And remember, even if you are not required to purchase WC insurance, it may be worth having.
Provide Your Existing Policy
If you already have WC coverage, keep your policy handy. Providing information – such as your employees' class codes, your experience modifier, and loss run reports – from that policy can help expedite the process.
Choose the Right Classification Codes
As shown in the formula above, the classification code will affect your WC premium. Classification codes are based on the likelihood of an employee being injured on the job. For example, the classification code for an accountant or someone with administrative responsibilities will represent less risk than a classification code for a driver or contractor. Typically, the more risk of injury, the higher your WC costs.
You don't want to misclassify an accountant as a driver because you'll pay more than necessary for your WC coverage. On the other hand, you don't want to misclassify a driver as an accountant because if caught during the annual audit or a claim, you may be required to pay the outstanding amount owed and/or severe penalties.
Monitor Your Payroll
When purchasing WC coverage, your annual payroll will be estimated based on your current circumstances, which of course, can change. When your insurance carrier conducts its annual audit, you may receive a credit or a bill based on the actual payroll. Monitoring and reporting your payroll throughout the year can help improve your business cash flow.
Ask About Discounts and Credits
Yes, your WC premium is based on the formula above, and most of the components of that formula are out of your control. However, you may be entitled to discounts and/or credits for lowering risk with workplace safety or formal training programs.
Your insurer will conduct an audit each year, and so should you. It's an opportunity to check for errors and provide any updates. Reviewing your loss run report – a report issued by your current insurance provider that shows your company's claim activity for the policy period - may also help lower your WC insurance costs.
Work With a Workers Comp Expert!
Working with an independent agent with experience in Workers Compensation insurance at American Insuring Group is a great way to lower your WC costs. We will compare costs and options among competing worker's compensation insurance carriers to be sure you get the right insurance at the best price.
Call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.