Small Business Insurance Jargon

Small Business Insurance Jargon you need to know as a business owner

Buying commercial insurance is something a small business owner has to do once a year. It is not something most business owners think about on a daily basis. When interacting with employees within the industry, there may be an awful lot of small business insurance jargon that is not exactly common knowledge to the general population. Here are ten terms to familiarize yourself with before your next renewal.

Small Business Insurance Jargon

BOP

BOP Stands for Business Owner’s Package or Business Owner’s Policy. A BOP is a package of policies, sold in tandem for businesses in a certain industry or classification code. Because of historical claims records, insurance carriers know the common risks for certain businesses in certain industries and they have created packages of policies specific to that industry.

Experience Mod

The Experience Modification Rating is frequently referred to as the Mod or the Experience Mod. This rating is a formula that includes the businesses Employer’s FEIN by the rating bureau (NCCI or the State Bureau).  The rating compares your loss data to other employers within the same class code of your business. The rating is expressed as a credit or debit on your policy.

Actual Cash Value

The current value of an insured piece of property. This is simply the appraisal value of a piece of property and does not include additional expenses related to a property loss.

Replacement Value

The value of purchasing a new property to replace a lost or damaged property,but it pays for the replacement at today’s value. Depending upon the language in the policy, a replacement value policy may include additional expenses like tear down and removal of debris, bringing the property up to current codes, and construction costs on the new property.

First Party

First Party Insurance Policies are policies that deal with the damages to you and your business. They may include damages like replacing a vehicle after a crash, replacing specialized equipment damaged during a storm, or even hiring a PR Firm to restore the reputation of your business after a data breach.

Third Party

A Third Party Insurance Policy deals with the liability your business faces relating to outside third parties that are damaged by the actions of your business. This may include repairing a broken window caused by the employee of a landscaping company or medical costs for someone slipping on their way to the bathroom in a restaurant.

EPLI

EPLI stands for Employment Practices Liability Insurance. This is an insurance policy that can protect your business when it faces a lawsuit related to hiring and firing of employees. In 2016, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, collected more than $482 million for victims of discrimination in private, federal and state and local government workplaces. The reason there is a need for this policy is that a lawsuit does not have to be founded to take up an enormous amount of time for you and your business to prove your innocence. An EPLI Policy can help your business stay afloat when you face one of these claims.

E&O

E&O stands for Errors and Omissions Insurance. It is also called Medical Malpractice in the Medical Profession. This policy protects the insured (you the business owner) against liability for committing an error or omission in performance of professional duties. This may include work done by an engineer or architect on a particular construction project. It may also include the work done by a doctor during surgery. Generally, such policies are designed to cover financial losses rather than liability for bodily injury (BI) and property damage (PD).

Hired and Non-owned Auto

Hired and Non-owned Auto Insurance Coverage is designed for businesses who have employees who use their personal vehicles for business purposes or employees who use rented vehicles. The time that these employees are using the vehicle for business purposes is a time when your business is liable for the damages that are caused to third parties as a result of an accident that is the fault of your employee. It is commonly added as an addition to a commercial auto policy, but if your business does not own any vehicles it can be sold as a stand alone policy.

Inland Marine

An Inland Marine Insurance Policy is a specialized form or property insurance that is often referred to as equipment coverage. The primary distinction between inland marine and other property insurance is the fact that inland marine is designed specifically for property which is likely to be moved or in transit. Landscaping companies that have equipment on a trailer is an example of this risk. Inland Marine may be needed for companies with highly specialized property that requires a unique valuation. A land surveyor who uses specialized surveying equipment may need this policy.

 

Insurance Tips for your Lawn Care Business

According to the National Association of Landscape Professionals, the Lawn Care and Landscaping Industry amounts to $78 billion as of 2016.  This is an enormous part of our economy that employs nearly a million people. Because of the vast size of this industry there is a huge amount of risk being taken on by businesses both big and small.  Because of these risks there are an equally big market for the insurance industry to help these businesses to properly protect their businesses. Here are three tips for how to properly protect your lawn care business.

 

How does a lawn care business owner find the best insurance coverage for their Lawn Care Business?

There are many things that go in to finding the best insurance policies for your landscaping business and they depend on may aspects of your business.  Most of those aspects deal with factors that are unique to you and your business.  For example, one business owner may be comfortable with more risk than another. The help of an experienced independent agent can help you determine just how much risk your business faces and how best for you to protect your business from those risks.

Once you have found a good agent, it is equally important to take a little extra time to speak long and honestly about everything your business does and does not do.  There are numerous classification codes for the landscaping industry and classifying your business improperly can impact your rate on premium tremendously.

 

How can a business owner find the best price on insurance coverage?

Once a business owner has found a good insurance agent and has spoken with that agent about all the ins and outs of their business, it is important to ask for all credits and debits that your business qualifies for.  The best way to do this is to be direct.  If price is what you value than tell your agent that is what you value. Insurance agents interact with many different people from all walks of life.  Not all business owners value getting the absolute best price on coverage. If this is important to you than express that to your agent and they should be able to find the most suitable coverage.

 

What do I do when I have and claim and am forced to use the insurance policy?

It is normal for an entrepreneur to be confident.  Many of those same confident entrepreneurs have an affinity to assume bad things are not going to happen to their business. The only true way to prevent this is to take the proper steps within your power to prevent and be prepared for when disaster strikes.  A major part of that preparation is to have proper insurance in place.  Once you have the proper policies in place, it is important to take pictures of all the equipment and property you have covered.  This can prove the state of the equipment before the occurrence.

After securing the proper landscaping insurance policies and documenting the state of your covered assets, you need to have policies and procedures in place for how to report an occurrence when a disaster strikes you business.  You should have all managers on duty trained to be prepared for all bodily injury occurrences.  You should notify both your agent and the carrier when you have a claim.  Do not be upset if your agency informs you to contact your carrier.  It is the job of the carrier to process the claim, not the agency.  At the same time, it is important to keep your agency in the loop in case the carrier is not living up to their end of the bargain. Many medical facilities are not prepared to process the workers compensation system. Your carrier can help you find the proper facilities in your area to provide the best coverage to your inured employee or customer. This can drastically limit the severity of a claim and it can allow your injured worker to get the best care without the least amount of doctors’ visits possible.

Keeping the injured worker on your side is important to getting them to return to work and limiting the severity of the workers’ comp claim.  If this process runs smoothly it will make your employee happy and motivated to return to work and it will help your insurance carrier to limit the amount of the claim and prevent too much damage to your businesses experience modification rating.

 

 

Insurance Tips for Lawn Care and Landscaping

There are many aspects to owning a landscaping business. Many aspects that have nothing to do with the actual work itself. Whether a business owner is dealing with finding the right employees, determining the right price to charge their customers or managing the day to day operations; there are always additional responsibilities pulling the business owner in a different direction.  One aspect that frequently gets looked over is purchasing commercial insurance for your landscaping business.  Here are five tips for finding the best insurance, saving money when purchasing coverage and how best to use your policy when a disaster occurs.

Get the answers to your Lawn Care and Landscaping Insurance Questions at My Insurance Question.com

Partner with an independent agent

Independent insurance agents are unique in that they can quote you policies from many different carriers and not just one or a select few.  The appetites of the carriers change from year to year for certain coverages and especially for different industries.  Some years, your premium may go up simply because the carrier has experienced a lot of losses in your industry of the last year or couple of years. As a result they raise the prices for that classification code.  Another carrier may not have experienced the same losses and may be more hungry to quote your policy.  An independent insurance agent has the ability to force carriers to compete for your business.  In the end this helps you get better coverage at rock bottom prices.

Make sure you are in the right class code

The Lawn Care and Landscaping Industry is an industry that has numerous general liability classification codes. If you do not give enough information to your agent, they are forced to guess exactly how much risk your business takes on. It is in their best interest to always assume more risk. Assuming more risk protects the insurance agency, but may cost your business more in unnecessary premium. These mistakes usually get fixed in the end of term audit, but even when corrected you still have tied up cash in unnecessary premium throughout the year.

What coverages can I do without?

Once you have taken care of finding a good agency to partner with and you have taken the time to make sure you are classified properly, it is important to ask your agent what coverage’s does your business absolutely need and what coverage’s your business may be able to do without.  At this point it is important to remember the agent works for you.  If you are honest with the agent about how much risk you are willing to take, they should be able to give you the proper information to cover your business as you prefer.  It is important to remember that insurance agents not only interact with business owners when they are selling coverage, but also when the worst of the worst has occurred.  The agent may be offering you an extra coverage because they have interacted with a business owner in the past who had a claim occur at their business where they were not covered. Those are never easy conversations to have.  Depending upon the size and severity of the disaster having the right coverage may be the difference between your business closing the doors for a week and never opening again.

Ask for available credits and debits

The best way to find the best price on coverage is to tell your insurance agent what you value in the buying process.  Insurance agents talk with many different people from many different walks of life.  One customer may want to get through the insurance buying process as fast as possible so they can get back to running their business.  Another business owner may not mind if it takes a day and a half of their time in order to save an additional five percent.  Let the agent know early and often what you value.

What do you do when your business has a claim?

It is common for a business owner to think bad things will not happen to their business, but the most successful businesses are those who have a plan in place for when things go wrong.  Part of that plan should be having the proper insurance policy in place.  When an occurrence eventually takes place, there are several steps you as a business owner can take to speed up the process of getting your claim paid and get your business back up to normal operation.

When you do have to make an insurance claim it is important to inform both your carrier and your agency.  Do not be upset if your agency informs you to contact your carrier.  It is the job of the carrier to process the claim, not the agency.  At the same time, it is equally important to keep your agency in the loop.  In the unfortunate case the carrier is not living up to their end of the bargain, the agency can contact them on your behalf.  If you have injured workers, make sure they are going to medical facilities that are properly prepared to process the workers’ compensation system within your state.  Your carrier can help you find the proper facilities.  This can drastically limit the severity of a claim and it can allow your injured worker to get the best care quickly.  The better care they get can result in the getting back on the job quicker and with the least amount of doctors’ visits possible.  Keeping the injured worker on your side is important.  If this process runs smoothly it will make your employee happy and motivated to return to work.  It will also help your insurance carrier by limiting the amount of the claim.  THis will prevent too much damage from being done to your businesses experience modification rating.  The Experience Mod is one of the main ways carriers determine how much they will charge you for premium.

Do not be alarmed if a claim stays open for a period of time after your business has gotten over the claim.  Insurance agents do this in order to not have to open a second claim.  A second claim will also impact your experience modification rating.  The carrier does this because an injured worker may return to work and reinjure themselves.   Sometimes this can happen weeks or even months after the injured worker has returned to work.  If this causes your business to file a second claim it can have a damaging effect on your rating resulting in a higher rate on premium.

 

Workers Comp Audits

Here is how to best prepare for your businesses for a workers compensation audit.

Workers Compensation Audit

Each year all businesses must go through a workers compensation audit process. If you are like most small business owners, this is not one of your favorite parts of owning a business.  The process can be long and tedious, but the more prepared you are for this process, the more quick and more smooth the process will be.  Consulting with your independent insurance agent can help you prepare for the process and make sure the audit is done well the first time through the process.  Here are 7 ways to ensure this process goes as painless as possible.

Communicate with your agent.

Open communication with your insurance agent is essential to a successful workers’ compensation audit. This is a reason why it is important to consider an independent insurance agent.  An independent agent is not as closely associated to the insurance carrier.  They can help you prepare for the audit and negotiate on your behalf if anything does not go in your favor. Open communication throughout your relationship with your insurance agent is essential to a satisfied experience during your small businesses workers comp audit.

Have paperwork prepared in advance

Having all necessary paperwork prepared in advance of your audit will make the process move as smooth as it possibly can.  This includes any and all payroll and employee records.  Job descriptions need to be included for each employee and their annual weeks, days and hours worked.  The more detailed the better.

Find the best information about a Workers Compensation Audit here at MyInsuranceQuestion.com

Payment and cash disbursement records,

Throughout the year it is important to keep a record of all payments and cash disbursement.  Not having these available and organized is a good reason to have the auditor dig a little deeper during your businesses workers compensation audit. The more open, honest and organized you are throughout the entire audit process the more smooth the process will be.

Certificates of Insurance 

Make sure to keep a detailed record of all needed certificates of insurance for any and all sub-contractors or independent contractors your business used. The primary reason for providing these documents is that if you do not, these contractors will be listed as employees and it can substantially raise what you pay in premium.

Experience Modification Worksheet

The experience modification worksheet is a document that is published annually by the rating bureau in your state.  It covers the loss history for your business during the most recent three-year period, not including the most recent year.  The most recent year is not included due to overlap from some claims not being closed.  If you have had a large claims or a large amount of minor claims during any year it is important to have this worksheet available in order to show the true loss history of your business.

Make yourself available for the exit interview 

After a typical workers’ compensation audit there is an exit interview at some time.  It usually lasts several hours and is a way for the auditor to ensure they have all the necessary information to accurately audit your business. The more up-front you are with the auditor the more smooth the process will be.

Respond promptly to auditor follow-up questions  

There will more than likely be questions you do not have the answer to.  The more quick and thorough you respond to these questions the more likely the auditor is to work with you to quickly finish the audit process.  The time period after the audit normally takes two to three weeks.  There may be additional questions that need clarification and this may be a frustrating part of the process. The more accurate the audit is the better it is for your company.  Your agent can help you with any of these questions if you are having a trouble finding the exact information to satisfy the auditor.  It is also important to keep in mind that for security purposes, the auditor does not keep your payroll records.  You very likely will be asked to provide additional information or records that you have already provided.  No this going in to the audit and it can save you a lot of heart ache during the process.

An accurate workers compensation audit is in your best interest, moreso than a fast audit.  This process is frustrating even during a good audit.  It will take time away from your normal work, but it is within your best interest to ensure your audit is fair and accurate.  Keep a positive attitude and consult your independent insurance agent in order to ensure your audit process goes as smoothly as possible.

Work Comp Premium

How Your Workers Compensation Premium Is Calculated

 

No matter the size of your company, one of the most basic costs of doing business is insuring your employees against injury on the job.  This makes your workers compensation premium one of the most precious fixed costs any business owner can make.

How Workers’ Comp Premiums are calculated:

Workers compensation premium is calculated according to how employees are classified (with regards to the specific type of work they perform) and the rate assigned to each employee classification. The premium rate itself is expressed as dollars and cents per $100 dollars of payroll for each class code. In most states, the NCCI determines the classification rate and experience modification factor (MOD).

National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) Classification Codes are one factor that determines workers compensation premium.

Factors that Go into Setting Workers Compensation Premium:

  • Size of the employer’s payroll
  • Employee job classifications
  • Company’s claims experience

Premiums for work comp insurance are calculated by the formula below…

Payroll (per $100) X Classification Rate X Experience Modifier = Premium

How Your Payroll Affects Your Workers’ Comp Rate

The basis for an employer’s workers’ compensation premium is your payroll. For each $100 dollars of your payroll, there is a specific rate, which is determined by the classification codes of your employees. If you can keep detailed records for what employees are doing on multiple jobs or in different aspects of their job, you may be able to break out that portion of payroll and potentially save on premium.

Another huge thing to keep in mind is sub-contracted labor and 1099 employees. Many business owners make the mistake or think that if they have employees in this manner it does not affect their premium. If you are paying an employee as a 1099 instead of a W2 and they do not have their own work comp coverage then you are responsible for paying premium on those payroll dollars. There is not a week that goes by that I do not field this question or see this situation and I always have to educate business owners on it. The same thing applies to sub contracted labor. If you are not collecting certificates of insurance and verifying, they actually have coverage then you are responsible for the premium as well. Our goal is to help you understand everything possible that could end up costing you money at audit time. We do not want you to have a huge audit balance just as much as you do, so we do our best to let you know everything on the front side of getting a policy in place.

How Your Employer Classification Affects Your Insurance Rate

Businesses are separated into groups according to the type of work they do. The classification system identifies which type of work presents more risk to the employees performing these tasks.

How Your Experience Modification Factor Affects Your Premium

Your experience modifier – typically referred to as your Ex Mod – is a numeric representation of your company’s claim experience. Ex Mods are based on how your business compares to others in your industry with similarly classified employees. An average Ex Mod starts at 1.00. Employers with fewer and less severe accidents than average have a MOD of less than 1.00. This will generally take a few years of consecutive coverage to be effected one way or the other.

Have a Work Comp Audit soon?

Here are 7 tips for a Smooth Workers Compensation Audit

Find the best advice for a smooth workers compensation audit at myinsurancequestion.com

Each year all businesses must go through a workers compensation audit process. If you are like most small business owners, this is not one of your favorite parts of owning a business.  The process can be long a tidious, but the more prepared you are for this process, the more quick and more smooth the process will be. Consulting with your independent insurance agent can help you prepare for the process and make sure the audit is done well the first time through the process. Here are 7 ways to ensure this process goes as painless as possible.

Communicate with your agent.

Open communication with your insurance agent is essential to a smooth workers compensation audit. This is a reason why it is important to consider an independent insurance agent.  An independent agent is not as closely associated to the insurance carrier.  They can help you prepare for the audit and negotiate on your behalf if anything does not go in your favor. Open communication throughout your relationship with your insurance agent is essential to a satisfied experience during your small businesses workers comp audit.

Have paperwork prepared in advance

Having all necessary paperwork prepared in advance of your audit will make the process move as smooth as it possibly can.  This includes any and all payroll and employee records.  Job descriptions need to be included for each employee and their annual weeks, days and hours worked.  The more detailed the better.

Payment and cash disbursement records,

Throughout the year it is important to keep a record of all payments and cash disbursement.  Not having these available and organized is a good reason to have the auditor dig a little deeper. The more open, honest and organized you are throughout the entire audit process the more smooth the process will be.

Certificates of Insurance 

In order to ensure a smooth workers compensation audit, make sure to keep a detailed record of all needed certificates of insurance for any and all sub-contractors or independent contractors your business used. The primary reason for providing these documents is that if you do not, these contractors will be listed as employees and it can substantially raise what you pay in premium.

Experience Modification Worksheet

The experience modification worksheet is a document that is published annually by the rating bureau in your state.  It covers the loss history for your business during the most recent three-year period, not including the most recent year.  The most recent year is not included due to overlap from some claims not being closed.  If you have had a large claims or a large amount of minor claims during any year it is important to have this worksheet available in order to show the true loss history of your business.

Make yourself available for the exit interview 

After a typically smooth workers compensation audit there is an exit interview at some time.  It usually lasts several hours and is a way for the auditor to ensure they have all the necessary information to accurately audit your business. The more up-front you are with the auditor the more smooth the process will be.

Respond promptly to auditor follow-up questions  

There will more than likely be questions you do not have the answer to, the auditor will have for you during the audit.  The more quick and more thorough you respond to these questions the more the auditor will work with you to promptly and accurately finish the audit process.  The time period after the audit, before the auditor will finish the process, normally takes two to three weeks. There may be additional questions that need clarification.  This may be a frustrating part of the process, but the more accurate the audit is the better it is for your company.  Your agent can help you with any of these questions if you are having a trouble finding the exact information to satisfy the auditor.  It is also important to keep in mind that for security purposes, the auditor does not keep your payroll records.  You very likely will be asked to provide additional information or records that you have already provided.

An Accurate audit is in your best interest, moreso than a fast audit.  This process is frustrating even during a good audit.  It will take time away from your normal work, but it is within your best interest to ensure your audit is fair and accurate. Keep a positive attitude and consult your independent insurance agent in order to ensure your audit process goes as smoothly as possible.

14.5% Workers Comp Rate Hikes in Florida! What do I do now?

Get the best answers to your Florida Workers Compensation Insurance questions  at MyInsuranceQuestion.comYou do what you can to do your business every day and create opportunities for yourself, your employees and your customers. Rates of everything is rising, property cost, materials, shipping, employee wages. The state of Florida has now said its time for workers’ comp insurance to do the same. The rate increase is to be 14.5%! Articles can go into much more detail but ultimately medical costs, legal costs and claims expenses rise over time and Florida workers compensation rates are rising to catch up for the natural changes that have taken place and certain court rulings have made precedence that support the increased cost. There are fair arguments for and against this change but at this point we work with what we have, so as a business owner what can you do?

The state of Florida is a rate mandated state for Workers Compensation which means the starting rate is the same for everyone based on their classification code, so every carrier should be offering the same rate. There are some exceptions that can be helpful for you to keep in mind. Here are a few things that can help benefit you in combating this increase with a more competitive option:

 

There are some exceptions:  Some of our carriers have programs for particular industries that allow for discounted rates(5% below state set rates) one in particular caters to Retail stores, Restaurants and Professional Offices(Law firms, Accountants, Doctors offices, etc.)

Check with appropriate discount programs:  The Florida workers compensation system has discount options available if you meet the guidelines and have these policies in place for your business. They do have an application for each and require certain protocols in place but these can save 5% on your Florida workers compensation rate.

  • Drug Free Workplace Credit
  • Safety Credit

Divident Plans:  Some of our carriers offer dividend plans in Florida that reward businesses that control their claims. One in particular offers a 5% dividend for businesses paying 5-10k in premium and keeping a loss ratio under 5% and for accounts over 30k in annual premium they can qualify for a 20% dividend if they have a loss ratio under 20%. Like anything they do have some basic eligibility criteria but this is a huge way to reward safe business operations and lower your overhead against your competition.

Review loss control Measures: We do understand accidents do happen, however most accidents with better preparation can be prevented. A few areas to focus on:

Hiring Practices: Hiring the right employees that are experienced in the field and vested in your business are your lifeblood. Don’t put that in the hands of just anyone.

Safety Controls: Start with OSHA basics and if you have a unique business you might need more. Keeping your employees safe and preventing workers comp claims is the best way to save money on your workers comp.

Document everything: If you have safety meetings, a safety policy, drug free workplace, make sure this is all in writing and in your employee handbook. Make sure sign offs are in place so your employees are aware of these policies. This can be a great tool to prevent claims and keep a culture of safety that you take seriously in your business.

Manage your workers compensation claims:  As you develop an Experience MOD over time for your Florida workers compensation claims history, your premium can go up or down based on this experience. This means your premium is directly affected by claims you had 2-5 years ago. Settling those claims and learning from them can help you combat the rising workers comp costs. This process takes time but you will thank yourself in the next couple years as that MOD drops lower.

Buy in to avoid the increase:  If you have not placed your workers comp coverage for your business yet and are in the market, get this coverage before December 1, 2016. This is when the rate change takes place. You will still have to face the rates next year but at least this is one year you are paying 14.5% less on this policy.

Put some skin in the game:  Especially if you are paying premiums in excess of $20,000 annual, Deductible plans as well as coinsurance plans can allow you to put some skin in the game and take on a little risk of your own. Some start as small as $500-$1000 deductibles but go up and the savings increases with that. It might not make a lot of sense for the smaller premium amounts but this is a good tool to help save money without putting too much of your business at risk. Pick a deductible that saves you money and you feel comfortable with.

Alternate payment options:  Plans like Pay-As-You-GO can be helpful tools which allow you to pay your premium when you run your payroll. This won’t change the price but for companies that have a tough time with premiums in the slow season but still have a year round payroll, this can be a great solution.

In times like these were pricing can have such a direct impact on your business and its livelihood, Rate increases are inevitable, however taking these steps above if you are not already, could show savings of up to 25% below market for some clients but 5-10% is very obtainable for most clients. The increase in Florida is a tough one to swallow, however taking these actions could allow you to offset these increases. Speak with one of our Professional Insurance agents to learn how you can implement and benefit from some of these tools.

12 terms to familiarize yourself with before your next renewal.

Twelve tips for the next time you purchase Small Business Insurance.

Insured

The person, group, or organization whose life or property is covered by an insurance policy.

Insurer

Insurance company that issues a particular insurance policy to an insured. In case of a very large risk, several insurance companies may combine to issue one policy.

Named Insured

Any person, firm, or organization, or any of its members specifically designated by name as an insured(s) in an insurance policy.  .

Learn these terms to help your business at your next commercial insurance renewal.

Premium

The price or amount paid for insurance.

Claim

A formal request to an insurance company asking for a payment based on the terms of the insurance policy.

Carrier

A company that offers and underwrites insurance policies.

Insurance Carrier

Policy

A document detailing the terms and conditions of a contract of insurance.

Underwriter

The person who decides whether to provide insurance and under what terms.

Agent/Broker/Producer

A person licensed by a state and employed by an insurance company to sell insurance policies on the company’s behalf.

Find out if you really need Umbrella Insurance Coverage at www.myinsurancequestion.com

Umbrella Coverage

Umbrella coverage protects your business when your existing liability insurance policy limits can’t cover all the expenses of a claim.

Hired and Non-owned Auto

A coverage that is commonly added or endorsed onto a commercial auto insurance policy. This endorsement adds additional coverages for the insured in the event there becomes a liability issue for an automobile accident involving a vehicle they don’t directly insure (rentals or employee owned cars).

Experience Modification Rating

An employers’ Experience Modification Rating refers the factor calculated from actual loss experience. It is used to adjust the businesses premiums (higher or lower) based on the businesses loss experience relative to the average underlying manual premiums for workers compensation coverage. The Modifier (Mod) compares the insured experience to the average class experience.

 

Workers’ Compensation Rates Could be on the Rise in Florida

Workers’ compensation insurance rates in Florida could be on the rise. As reported in outlets such as the Miami Herald, the Orlando Sentinel and the Insurance Journal.  The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) filed for a 17.1 rate increase to take affect August 1st. The bulk of the recommended rate increase is due to an expectation that attorneys’ fees will increase the Florida workers comp landscape due to a recent Supreme Court Ruling.

Florida Workers Comp Insurance System

The increased rates are unfortunate in that Florida workers comp insurance is already a significant expense to business owners. Furthermore, increased legal fees should not be a necessary expense to add to the system. Increased education, safety devices, adoption of return to work programs and decreased prescribing of opiates are all trends within the industry which are helping to control workers’ comp rates. Thus, while this appears to be a blow to work comp rates in the state, there are some trends that are working to reduce rates as well (which is a challenge given the ever increasing cost of medical care in the United States).

Another factor which drives Florida workers comp rates higher is the existence of fraud and other scams. Florida is one of the highest states in the country for fraudulent work comp claims, especially in the Miami area. Additionally, as demonstrated in this article from the Insurance Journal, scams to artificially reduce workers’ comp premium are prevalent in Florida. Scams and fraud unfairly increase work comp rates for business owners that are trying to work within the system.

Florida is what is known as a rate mandated state for workers’ compensation insurance. Wisconsin and several other states are set up like this as well. This means workers’ comp rates are set by the state. Work comp rates vary by employee classification and experience modifications, but they are otherwise set by the state. This is in contrast with most states where insurance carriers file rates and there is different pricing between carriers. Florida’s workers’ compensation rates are just below average compared to other rates in the most recently published national study.

Given Florida is a rate mandated state, business owners may wonder what they can do to reduce workers’ compensation rates. In Florida, a small number of carriers, such as Employers, have file with the state of Florida to offer a 5% discount from the rates set by the state of Florida. On the other hand, there is a consent to rate, which can be offered by certain carriers in Florida for difficult to quote businesses. This means a carrier offers workers comp insurance, but they are allowed to charge up to 25% more than the rates set by the state of Florida if an insured signs off on this pricing. If rates can’t be improved, business owners may have better payment options available such as pay as you go insurance. Furthermore, better safety practices leading to lower claims (and thus a lower experience modification factor) are always a way business owners can decrease their work comp insurance costs. Most within the industry believe the Florida legislature will make sweeping changes to the workers compensation system at some point in 2017 or 2018.  So business owners can rest assured that in some way, help is on the way in Florida.