Workers Compensation Insurance

You do everything you can to keep your employees safe on the job. Still, an accident can happen when you least expect it. Just one injury can sideline an employee for months, leading to serious financial hardship. And since fault does not matter when it comes to workplace injuries, you may be responsible for an employee injured on the job Fortunately there is a way to protect your business from a lawsuit and your employees from loss of income. A brief explanation is below, but your Apex Insurance agents can provide a full explanation of the importance and coverage within this product. Apex Insurance Agency provides Florida business owners with the most competitive rates for Workers Compensation Insurance anywhere

Workers compensation insurance covers the cost of medical care and rehabilitation for workers injured on the job. It also compensates them for lost wages and provides death benefits for their dependents if they are killed in work-related accidents, including terrorist attacks. The workers compensation system is the “exclusive remedy” for on-the-job injuries suffered by employees. As part of the social contract embedded in each state’s law, in all states except Texas, where employers may opt out of the state’s workers compensation system, the employee gives up the right to sue the employer for injuries caused by the employer’s negligence and in return receives workers compensation benefits regardless of who or what caused the accident, as long as it happened in the workplace as a result of and in the course of workplace activities.

Workers compensation systems vary from state to state. State statutes and court decisions control many aspects, including the handling of claims, the evaluation of impairment and settlement of disputes, the amount of benefits injured workers receive and the strategies used to control costs. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, from 2013 to 2014 maximum income benefits for total disability increased an average of 1.87 percent. The average maximum weekly benefit for 2014 is $867.91, with Iowa heading the list at $1,543.
Workers compensation costs are one of the many factors that influence businesses to expand or relocate in a state, generating jobs. When premiums rise sharply, legislators often call for reforms. The last round of widespread reform legislation started in the late 1980s. In general, the reforms enabled employers and insurers to better control medical care costs through coordination and oversight of the treatment plan and return-to-work process and to improve workplace safety. Some states are now approaching a crisis once again as new problems arise.

Among the cost drivers that require attention are the increasing costs of prescription drugs, in particular the long-term use and abuse of narcotic painkillers, according to industry studies.

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS

  • National: According to NCCI’s State of the Line analysis, in 2013 workers compensation premiums for private carriers and state funds increased to $41.9 billion, the highest level since 2007. Premiums for private carriers alone grew to $37 billion from $35.1billion, a jump of 5.4 percent from 2012 as employment figures moved up toward pre-financial crisis levels. Because its premiums are directly linked to employment and wages, workers compensation insurance was the line most significantly affected by the economic slowdown.
  • Premiums for the residual market grew from $0.8 billion to $1.1 billion, and its market share rose from 7 percent to 8 percent as the market tightened. The increase was driven primarily by larger companies.
  • The combined ratio, the percentage of each premium dollar spent on claims and expenses, was 101 for private insurers, the lowest since 2009 and a significant improvement over the 108 figure for 2012. The combined ratio for the 16 state funds administered by the NCCI was 115, compared with 124 for the previous year. A combined ratio of 100 or higher means that the industry is paying out more in claims than it is collecting in premiums.
  • Lost-time claim frequency (the number of claims that include loss of income due to time off work as opposed to solely medical care claims) dropped 2 percent, continuing a trend that has been going on for many years. (Overall, claim frequency dropped 58.3 percent from 1991 to 2012.) The cost of claims increased slightly.
  • Obesity has an impact on the cost of claims, according to a study by the NCCI. The duration of lost income claims was five times greater for the most severely obese workers than for workers who were not obese but filed comparable claims. The data came from insurers operating in 40 states. The study’s findings are similar to those of a 2007 Duke University Medical School report on its own employees. Contact us for more information on all of your business workers comp needs. 561-272-9683 or complete the online form for a quote.