BUSINESS / WORKING COMPENSATION INSURANCE
Insurance is a means of protection from financial loss. It is a form of risk management, primarily used to hedge against the risk of a contingent or uncertain loss.
An entity that provides insurance is known as an insurer, an insurance company, an insurance carrier, or an underwriter. A person or entity who buys insurance is known as a policyholder, while a person or entity covered under the policy is called an insured. Policyholder and insured are often used as but are not necessarily synonyms, as coverage can sometimes extend to additional insureds who did not buy the insurance. The insurance transaction involves the policyholder assuming a guaranteed, known and relatively small loss in the form of payment to the insurer in exchange for the insurer's promise to compensate the insured in the event of a covered loss. The loss may or may not be financial, but it must be reducible to financial terms, and usually involves something in which the insured has an insurable interest established by ownership, possession, or pre-existing relationship.
The insured receives a contract, called the insurance policy, which details the conditions and circumstances under which the insurer will compensate the insured, or their designated beneficiary or assignee. The amount of money charged by the insurer to the policyholder for the coverage set forth in the insurance policy is called the premium. If the insured experiences a loss that is potentially covered by the insurance policy, the insured submits a claim to the insurer for processing by a claims adjuster. A mandatory out-of-pocket expense required by an insurance policy before an insurer will pay a claim is called a deductible (or if required by a health insurance policy, a copayment). The insurer may hedge its own risk by taking out reinsurance, whereby another insurance company agrees to carry some of the risks, especially if the primary insurer deems the risk too large for it to carry.
How does workers’ compensation insurance work?
Each state has its own unique set of workers’ compensation laws that employers must follow. These regulations help ensure that employers provide coverage for the cost of work-related injuries or occupational diseases, regardless of employee negligence.
An employee can only receive benefits if their injury or illness relates to their job duties or employment. Workers’ comp insurance could cover injuries caused by lifting heavy equipment, slipping on a wet or oily surface, or sustaining injury due to fires or explosions.
If an employee isn’t acting within the scope of their employment and becomes injured, such as playing football with friends on a day off, workers’ compensation insurance won’t cover them.
Who needs workers’ compensation insurance?
Workers’ compensation insurance is required by law in almost every state. Some worker exemptions exist, so you’ll want to check with your state to find out if coverage is mandatory for your business.
Choosing to forgo workers’ comp coverage puts your business at high financial risk. Not only can you face a lawsuit for workplace injuries, but you’ll likely be fined for breaking the law.
Keep in mind, workers’ comp insurance protects not only your employees but your small business too. For example, if your insurance is compliant with state law, an employee who receives benefits can’t sue you for their injuries or lost wages.
They can, however, sue you for things that aren’t covered under the workers’ comp portion of your policy. Employer’s liability insurance is also included in your policy to pay for court costs and legal fees if you’re involved in such a lawsuit.
How much does workers’ compensation insurance cost?
In 2020, the national average monthly cost for workers’ compensation insurance through the Progressive Advantage® Business Program was $86. Remember, this is only an average. Your rate will depend on specific qualities of your business including your state, payroll and claims history.
Discover how these and other factors influence your workers’ compensation cost. You may also start a quote online, or contact us directly to speak with an in-house agent who can help you find coverage.