Louisiana Workers Compensation Insurance Rates are Declining in 2019

Louisiana Workers Compensation Rates have declined over the past decade and the declines are continuing in 2019 

Louisiana Workers Compensation Insurance Rates are declining in 2019 by an average of 5.6 percent. According to Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon, “Rates have had a cumulative drop of 19 percent over the last five years and 51 percent over the last 20 years.” This has had a dramatically positive impact on the business community throughout the state of Nevada over a time when the state has needed all the help it can get.

Oak Alley Plantation in rural Louisiana

What is Contributing to Declining Louisiana Workers Compensation

Louisiana Workers Compensation Rates 2019 are declining again. There are a number of reasons for the declining rates. At the top of the list of reasons for declining rates is competition in the market place, improved workplace safety, and better risk management practices being used throughout the business community. According the the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, Louisiana has one of the lowest non-fatal work-related injury rates in the United States. Speaking about the reasons for the decline in premium Donelon said “Louisiana businesses are benefiting from the competition in the workers’ compensation market. Through improved workplace safety and better risk management practices, rates have continued their downward trajectory and are more affordable for businesses statewide”.

French Quarter, New Orleans, Louisiana

Additional Savings Tips for Louisiana Businesses

When it comes to maximizing savings on Louisiana Workers Compensation Rates, there are a number of factors that contribute to what a business pays for workers comp premium. Being mindful of your operations and taking some time to make safety a priority can have a lasting effect when it comes to your business and the relationship with an insurance carrier. Here are three tips for saving the next time you purchase commercial insurance.

Focus on Safety

Safety, first and foremost, is the most important thing any business can emphasize in their operations. This is because focusing on safety is the right thing to do on a human level as well as on a business level. Your business cannot operate without employees. Keeping employees healthy and happy should be priority number one for any business owner. Not only are healthy employees happy, but they are more productive and commit less accidents. Less accidents means less damage to the businesses equipment and less missed time due to injured workers. This can have a long-lasting impact on what your business pays for commercial insurance and it does not have to take an exhaustive amount of time.

Create an Ergonomic Friendly Workspace  

Some of the biggest workers compensation claims stem from repetitive motion injuries. Problems like carpal tunnel can be very debilitating for your employees. When an employee suffers from a repetitive motion injury it can take an enormous amount of time to recover. Luckily man of these injuries are preventable. Working with your employees to create an ergonomically friendly work space can help prevent much bigger problems down the road. Creating an ergonomically friendly workplace is not easy and there is not a cookie cutter formula for how to make it happen. What will benefit one employee will not be ideal for another employee. Having open doors for communication and talking about ergonomics, safety, and comfort can help you start this conversation with your staff.

Understand your Experience Mod

The full term for experience mod is the experience modification rating. This rating is what a carrier uses to determine if they are going to offer a business insurance and what to charge each business for coverage. By speaking with your insurance agent about this rating, a business owner can get an idea of what they have the ability to control that will have a positive impact on this rating.  The main thing a business can do to keep this rating low is to limit the frequency and severity of insurance claims processed by your business. This does not mean you should keep everything secret from your insurance agent, but it does mean you should do everything possible to limit claims from happening. Operating a safe organization and limiting the frequency and severity of claims is the best way to keep this rating low.

How to Save in 2019 when Small Business Owners Shop Insurance

In 2019 There Are Several Ways to Save When You Shop Insurance

As most small business owners know, every dime matters when you own and operate a small business. Before making any major changes or making and major purchases, it is important to speak with every advisor possible to determine how these decision will impact your insurance premium. Savvy business owners weigh their options and move forward with the largest amount of information possible. This decision making process should be no different when it comes to purchasing shop insurance.  Here are five tried and true tips to help you save on commercial insurance and five tips you should try in 2019.

Shop Insurance

5 Tried and True Tips to Shop Insurance

Partner with an Independent Agent

It is always best to partner with an independent agent when it is time to Shop Insurance. The services done by an independent agent can be done by yourself or someone at your business, but depending upon the experience of yourself or your key employees, you are not going to be able to do it as efficiently as an independent agent can. This is especially true when it comes to the amount of time a business would have to spend acquiring quotes from multiple carriers and the knowledge an insider like an independent agent has within the insurance industry. An independent agent knows which carriers are hungry to quote a particular industry, which carriers are looking to quote a certain policy, and which carriers have better servicing when a claim occurs. This allows your key employees to spend more time running the business and allows the independent agent to shop insurance so you don’t have to.

Shop Around Your Policy

Once you have chosen an independent agent with whom you trust, it is important to have them shop your policy around to as many carriers as possible. This creates competition for your coverage and gives you options. It is not a good idea to switch carriers each year and it is not wise to make your decision on a carrier based solely on price. The margins insurance carriers make on policies are tight. If one carrier offers a price dramatically lower than all others there is more than likely a reason for it. An independent agent can help you determine which offer is the best, but it is important to first shop your policy around.

Understand your Experience Mod

The Experience Modification Rating of a business is the one factor businesses have control over that can impact what the pay for commercial insurance. Especially what the business pays for workers compensation insurance coverage. Underwriters at Insurance Carriers use the experience modification rating to determine if they are gong to offer a business coverage and what they are going to charge each business for premium. Keeping this rating low is important.

Safety Programs

Implementing an effective Safety Program is the primary way a business can keep their experience modification rating low. When effective a safety program can keep the number of insurance claims low and it can limit the severity of insurance claims when they do occur. A safety program does not have to be extremely time consuming. It can be as little as an hour meeting once a month or even a 15 minute huddle a few times a week.  No matter what type of program a business deems is best for their business, a safety program is the best way to lower the experience modification rating.

Return to Work Program

A Return to Work Program should be a part of any safety program. A return to work program helps inured employees get back to work faster and make them more likely to eventually return to full-time permanent work. Humans are creatures of habit and the longer an injured employee stays off the job, the longer they have to develop habits not associated with work. A return to work program can help your business retain these employees and limit the damage to your businesses experience modification rating.

5 Insurance Tips to Use in 2019

Consider Updating Equipment

If your business has certain types of equipment you depend upon; it may be wise to talk with your independent agent about all of the equipment your business owns and operates. Your independent agent should be able to help you determine which types of equipment are causing your premium to rise or fall. They may be able to help you determine when it is time to either limit the amount of equipment you own, upgrade the equipment you have or to sell outdated equipment.

Consider a Different Kind of Bundle

Bundling policies is always a good way to get additional discounts on insurance premium. If you are a small business owner; consider not only bundling all of your business and personal policies with one carrier, but try to leverage the policies of your employees as well. If you have a staff that needs health insurance coverage, it might be worth your while to get all of their policies added to your bundle.  When you ad in dental, vision, life, and supplemental income coverage; this can amount to a lot of premium. This is the type of situation an insurance agent loves. If an agent has the opportunity to sell multiple policies while dealing with only one person, they are much more likely to dig deep for all of the credits, debits, and discounts they have available.

Change your payment method

The payment method preferred will vary from carrier to carrier.  You may be able to reap substantial savings by paying your premium in full, paying quarterly, or by making a larger payment up front. Some carriers will give you a small discount for setting up payments through an electronic funds transfer. It is important to communicate to your agent, that you want them asking for any and all discounts offered. Insurance agents interact with customers from all walks of life. Not all of these customers value price as much as other customers. If you are a customer who does want to use every option possible to maximize savings, than communicate this preference to your agent.

Explore Every Type of Discount

There are a number of types of discounts insurance carriers offer.  Here is a list of discounts a business might be able to benefit from:

  • Claims Free
  • Safety Discounts
  • Bundling Discounts
  • Group Discounts
  • Loyalty Discounts
  • Paperless

Each insurance carrier is different. Some will allow you to ad on multiple discounts. Some will only allow you to take advantage of one or a select few. If you’re not sure about what discounts an insurance carrier provides, ask to speak with a representative who can explain the different policy combinations and available deals. Your independent agent should be able to find any and all discounts to meet your needs, but it is important to express to them this is a priority for you as a business owner.

Make your Workplace Ergonomically Friendly  

Ergonomically friendly working places are a long-term investment, but if executed properly they can help your business save immensely. Having an ergonomically friendly work station for each of your employees is a difficult situation. Each employee has their own unique needs. Some may be very tall while others may be very short. Some may be large while others may have a physical disability. Working with these employees to take care of their needs on the front end can eliminate a lot of costly insurance claims down the road by preventing repetitive use injuries. This will contribute to your staff being more productive and will lower what you pay for insurance because you will be filing less insurance claims.

5 Risks to Remember when Buying Business Insurance in Florida

Business Insurance Florida

There are many things that make Florida a great place to live. Sandy beaches, a growing economy, and Mild Winter Weather are at the top of the list why many people find their way to the Sunshine State. In addition, Florida is the third most populous state in the United States and it represents the fourth largest GDP of any state in the country. With all of these positives to the state of Florida comes an enormous amount of risk. Many of the risks the state of Florida faces are unique to the state and many are risks that many other regions of the country face. The fact the Florida faces many of these risks complicates the business community within the state. Here are four types of risk that are important to consider when deciding to buy Business Insurance Florida.

Hurricanes

Hurricane Season begins each year around the end of June or the beginning of July. It typically last well into September and early October. September is typically the strongest month. 2017 contained the most damage throughout the state of Florida when Category 4 Hurricane Irma struck the the Atlantic Coast. Because of the frequency and severity of hurricanes in the state of Florida, it is important for businesses to speak with their insurance agent about properly insuring their business against hurricanes.

Flooding

Flood Insurance is equally important to secure for businesses in Florida. An overwhelming majority of the state is located in an area with some level of risk for floods and most people or businesses are not adequately insured to protect against the damages from floods. Many policyholders near the coast think damages from flooding caused by a hurricane will be covered by their homeowners insurance or by hurricane insurance, but in most cases that is not true. This is why it is important to find an independent insurance agent with whom you have a lot of trust. An experienced independent agent can help you determine what exact risks you face, the level of those risks, if there are any gaps in coverage, and where you may be able to go without coverage. This advice can be invaluable when your area faces a natural disaster.

The Sharing Economy

Because of the impact of the tourism industry in the state of Florida, the sharing economy in the state is strong. Many people who are operating in the sharing economy either do not secure proper insurance or do not secure enough insurance.

Many people think their covered when they definitely are not. For people who work for the ride share companies of Lyft or Uber, their personal car insurance policies do not cover liability damages when they cause an accident while driving for a ridesharing business. Some car insurance policies will still pay for the damages to your car, but not the liability you face to third parties who are hurt by the accident a driver caused.

Florida also has many home owners who use homesharing platforms AirBNB or VRBO. The fact that the tourism industry is so strong within the state of Florida causes people to use these services more than in other parts of the country. Additional insurance is needed if a homeowner uses these services to make additional income off of their home.

Volatile Workers Compensation System

The Workers Compensation Market in Florida has been extremely volatile for a number of years. Rates in the market trended positive in 2018 when the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation announced 13.8 percent declines in the pure premium rate for businesses in 2019.  This decline will save the business community throughout the state more than $400 million dollars compared to 2018. These declines are in addition to declines in 2018 after steep increases in 2017.  The volatility in the market started in 2016 when the Supreme Court in the state ruled on two court cases, Castellanos v. Next Door Company and Westphal v. City of St. Petersburg.

The Castellanos Ruling invalidated a previous decision from a case in 2009 that limited an injured worker’s ability to recover a reasonable amount of money for attorney’s fees. After this ruling judges no longer had to stick to a fee schedule when awarding damages in workers compensation cases. Carriers anticipated this to drastically increase what they were required to pay in losses.

The Westphal Ruling dealt with the statutory limitation on temporary total disability benefits. This ruling increased the time period an injured worker can collect partial salary benefits from workers compensation claims.  The time period employees could collect these benefits increased from 104 weeks to 260 weeks. This additional 156 weeks causes carriers to prepare for these potential increases in payouts.

In the second half of 2017 saw the bankruptcy of Guarantee Insurance Company. Guarantee Insurance Company was the state provider for workers compensation in the state of Florida. “Guarantee had about 8,600 active policies in 31 states and the District of Columbia on Nov. 13, Moore said. Of those, 1,250 were in Florida”. This left more then a thousand businesses in the state of Florida scrambling to find coverage on short notice.

 

Kentucky Workers Compensation Rates are Declining by 10.8 % in 2019

The Business Community in Kentucky Will be benefiting from improved Workers Compensation Rates 2019

In Kentucky, the business community will pay significantly less for Workers Compensation Premium next year. The rates will actually be 10.8 percent less in 2019. The decline in premium will apply predominantly to the industries of manufacturing, office, clerical, and contracting. These means some industries will see less of a decrease and some industries or individual businesses may see no decline at all.  No matter what industry a business operates in, the business community overall will benefit from better Kentucky Workers Compensation Rates 2019.

Kentucky Bluegrass on a Horse Farm.

Why are Kentucky Workers Compensation Rates Declining in 2019

There are a number of reasons why Kentucky Workers Compensation Rates in 2019 will be declining by more than 10 percent.  Some reasons contributing to the decline in premium throughout Kentucky is stability in written premium, lower combined ratios throughout the state, and lower loss-time claim frequency. Additionally, the strongest factor contributing to declining workers comp premium rates is House Bill 2.  According to the Department of Insurance Commissioner Nancy Atkin, “much of the decrease in costs to the passage of House Bill 2, which made significant reforms to the workers’ compensation system for the first time in over twenty years”. Many of the statutes in the previous workers compensation system were ruled unconstitutional by the state supreme court. These rulings brought about instability throughout the workers compensation market in the state. House Bill 2 stabilized that market.

Bourbon Barrels holding Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Kentucky Workers Compensation System Over Haul

House Bill 2 passed in 2018.  This was the first attempt to make significant changes to the workers compensation system in the state of Kentucky in more than 20 years. Jeffrey Junkas, assistant vice president, state government relations for PCI said, “House Bill 2 is designed to help contain underlying costs and improve the state’s workers compensation system.  HB 2 makes changes impacting medical expenses and benefits. It also takes steps to address the opioid crisis with an evidence-based pharmaceutical formulary and medical treatment guidelines to ensure timely delivery of appropriate medical care to injured workers.”

In addition, the bill increases the maximum compensation rates for employee temporary total disability, permanent total disability, and permanent partial disability benefits. It improves access to vocational rehabilitation services, and makes improvements in the dispute resolution system. These changes will improve efficiency of the system and provide better services to both businesses and injured workers.

One big difference to the system that was brought on during the overhaul in 2018 was a 15-year benefit cap from the date of injury.  This cap would apply only to workers who meet certain conditions and are filing claims for permanent, partial disability because of on-the-job injuries. Many of these workers eventually return to the labor force and do not collect the full 15 years worth of benefits. Currently, they are entitled to medical benefits for the duration of the disability. This could be for the rest of their life in some situations. House Bill 2 does allow injured workers who meet these conditions to file for recertification. If they are approved the new system would allow them to continue receiving medical benefits.

Kentucky Fried Chicken

What Can Kentucky Business Owners do to Maximize Savings?

Depending upon the class code and the experience modification rating of an individual business the rating may be larger or smaller than the average decrease. There are a number of things a business can do to control what they pay for workers compensation insurance premium.

Safety Programs

Safety Programs are the single most effective way to limit what a business pays for commercial insurance. Separate from what it does for the businesses bottom-line, it is simply the right thing to do. Taking care of the health and well-being of your employees and customers should be at the heart of any businesses mission. Taking care of your staff will allow them to be more productive while also lowering the frequency and severity of insurance claims made by the business.

Light Duty Work

The best way to get employees back on the job and back to full-time work is to have light duty work prepared for those employees. Humans are creatures of habit and our work day routine is a big part of our most employees routine. The longer an injured worker stays off the job, the longer they have to create new habits away from the job. Having a plan for many types of light duty work in order to get injured workers back on the job and back in to their workday routine.

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.

Shop Around Your Policy

In order to maximize savings, it is important to shop around your policy periodically. It is not a good idea to switch carriers each year based upon a small decline in premium. Long term relationships still do mean something when you have to file a claim.  At the same time, it is important to make sure your carrier is competitive with the market.

Use an Independent Agent

Shopping around your insurance policy can be a time consuming endeavor. If your time is valuable, partnering with an independent insurance agent can be a way to get multiple quotes from multiple carriers all in one place. Partnering with an independent agent can allow you to get back to running your business while the insurance agent shops your policy so you don’t have to.  This can maximize savings while getting your business more comprehensive coverage.

Connecticut Workers Compensation Rates are Going Down in 2019

17% Decrease for Workers Comp Rates in Connecticut

Connecticut Workers Compensation Rates will be declining in 2019 by an average rate of 17 percent. Marking the fifth straight year rates have declined throughout the state of Connecticut. Over the past five years rates have declined by an average of 3, 4, 11, and 14 percent. Altogether, these decreases amount to the Connecticut Business Community paying 50 percent less than five years ago. According to Katharine L. Wade, the Connecticut Insurance Commissioner, “This steady drop – nearly 50 percent over the last five years – has helped business owners with one of their critical operating costs – workers’ compensation insurance.”

Rustic Barn in the Scenic Connecticut Countryside

What Contributed to Declining Connecticut Workers Comp Rates

A number of factors have contributed to the significant decline in Workers Comp Rates. In relation to the reasons for the decline Wade said, “The rates reflect an ongoing decrease in the number of workplace injuries and claims filed. We are also seeing, on average, lower medical costs per claim.” The decrease in workplace injuries is predominantly related to business owners throughout the state of Connecticut paying more attention to workplace safety. The state is also seeing lower medical costs per claim.

Additionally, a consistent decline in claim frequency since 2010 and per case indemnity costs continue a slow but consistent decline, from $31,611 in 2013 to $29,193 in 2016. An indemnity claim protects an employee against damages. The Workers Comp Policy offers medical coverage, lost-wage replacement, permanent disability benefits, vocational rehabilitation, and even death benefits for family members. Within the insurance industry, professionals categorize claims into two classes: indemnity and medical-only. An indemnity claim occurs when an employee becomes injured on the job and cannot return to work until the injury heals or the injury becomes permanent. A medical-only claim applies when the employee immediately returns to work after the injury.

USB Building in Stamford, Connecticut

What is Unique about the Workers Compensation System in Connecticut?

Connecticut was one of the first states to enact Workers Compensation Legislation in 1913 with the Workers’ Compensation Act (also known as Chapter 568 of the Connecticut General Statutes). The primary purpose of the Act has always been to provide wage replacement and medical treatment for employees who have been injured, disabled, or killed while on the job. While the state of Connecticut was an early adopter of the workers compensation system, this was a time period when many states began to adopt some form of workers compensation system throughout the first few decades of the twentieth century. With the onset of the industrial revolution, states realized that there was a need for a strong workforce. One way states went about guaranteeing there would always be a strong and healthy workforce in their state was to develop some form of a workers compensation system. Just five years ago in 2013, the state of Connecticut celebrated 100 years of such a system. 

The basic structure of the original law still survives despite four major revisions and numerous smaller modifications. Connecticut is a No Fault State meaning the workers compensaiton system provides benefits to employees no matter who was at fault for the injury or illness.  Within the state of Connecticut injured employees are provided medical treatment, wage replacement, vocational rehabilitation, jon retraining, dependents death benefits, and relapse benefits.

Picture of the state map of Connecticut with the word Connecticut written in cursive.

What can Business do to Maximize Declines in Connecticut Workers Compensation Rates?

Implement a Safety Program

A Safety Program is the single most effective way to limit the frequency and severity of insurance claims within a business. Limiting claims can have a long term positive impact to your business when it comes to purchasing commercial insurance. This is because it will have a positive impact on the businesses experience modification rating, which is one of the most impactful measurements underwriters use when they decide if they are going to offer your business coverage and how much to charge for that coverage.

Include a Return to Work Program

Incorporating a return to work program into your safety program is a great way to positively impact your experience modification rating for years to come. This is because the quicker an injured employee returns to work, the more likely they are to return to permanent work. This is how a business can limit the damage to the business when it does experience an injured worker.

Shop Around Your Policy

Shopping around your policy is something you should do periodically. If not every year, at least every few years in order to make sure your current insurance carrier is competitive with the current market. It is not a wise decision to switch each year based upon a modest decrease in premium, but it is wise to keep your rate competitive.

Partner with an Independent Agent

One of the best ways to shop around your insurance policies is to partner with an independent insurance agent. An independent agent can shop around your policy for you and they have the inside knowledge to know which carriers are hungry to quote your industry or the coverages you are looking for. This can save you time and money when purchasing commercial insurance.