If you’ve ever worked with Workers’ Compensation Insurance, you’ve probably come across the term “indemnity.” So let’s take a look at both Workers’ Comp Insurance and indemnity entail.
What is Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
In Pennsylvania, Workers’ Compensation (WC) Insurance is “mandatory, employer-financed, no-fault insurance which ensures that employees disabled due to a work-related injury or disease will be compensated for lost wages and provides necessary medical treatment to return them to the workforce.”
If an employer fails to carry WC and an employee suffers a work-related injury, they will be required to reimburse the PA Department of Labor & Industry for money paid by the Uninsured Employers Guaranty Fund concerning the claim, plus interest, penalties, and fees. In addition, an uninsured employer may face civil and criminal risks.
A misdemeanor conviction could result in a $2,500 fine and up to one year of imprisonment for each day the employer is in violation. Felony convictions could result in a $15,000 fine and up to seven years in prison for each day the employer is in violation.
What Are Indemnity Benefits?
An indemnity benefit is the money an injured employee receives for lost wages while they are unable to work due to a work-related injury or illness. There are basically four different types of indemnity benefits.
- Temporary Total Disability (TTD) benefits are paid when an injured employee is temporarily unable to return to any job with the same employer – neither the work they performed before the injury nor any other position with that employer. This is the most common type of indemnity benefit. Typically, with a TTD benefit, injured employees are paid two-thirds of their pre-injury average weekly rate.
- Temporary Partial Disability (TPD) benefits are paid when an injured employee can return to work (as determined by the treating physician) for a limited time. For example, if an injured employee was working an eight-hour day before their injury, but following the injury, their physician stipulates that they can only work four hours per day, they would receive TPD benefits. The amount of the payments is typically the difference between the injured employee’s average weekly wage (AWW) and the amount they are able to currently earn, multiplied by two-thirds. TPD = (AWW – current wage) x 2/3.
- Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) is defined by the International Risk Management Institute (IRMI) as “a workers compensation disability level in which the injured employee is still able to work but not with the skill and efficiency demonstrated prior to the injury. As a result, the earning capability of the worker is affected.” These payments are typically based on the percentage of the disability.
- Permanent Total Disability (PTD) benefits are paid when the physician determines that the employee will never be able to return to work. The IRMI states, “Under most statutes, the employee will receive weekly wages for life.”
NOTE: When discussing indemnity, you may also hear the term “maximum medical improvement” or MMI. MMI is “a legal concept where no further significant recovery from or lasting improvement to a personal injury can be reasonably anticipated, regardless of subjective complaints from the employee. In essence, additional medical care and treatment may still be required to keep the employee in a stable condition, but no noticeable improvement will take place in that medical care.”
How to Lower Workers’ Compensation Insurance Costs?
Workers’ Compensation Insurance can be complicated, but the more you understand it, the more likely you can lower your WC costs.
The agents at American Insuring Group specialize in Workers’ Compensation Insurance and would be happy to work with you to explain the ins and outs of this – and all your commercial insurance needs – and help ensure that you have the right coverage at the lowest cost.
Contact us today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.