17.2% Decrease for North Carolina Workers Compensation Rates 2019

North Carolina Workers Comp Rates will be declining in 2019

In 2019, businesses in the state of North Carolina will pay on average 17.2 percent less for workers compensation.  This decrease is in addition to a 8.5% decrease in 2016 and a 12.5% decrease in 2017. This is great news for North Carolina. In 2018, North Carolina ranked near the middle of the national average. A 2018 study ranks NC as the 23 highest in premium rates across the United States making their average rates 4% higher than the national average. A similar study done in 2016 ranked the state as 27th for average rates. North Carolina’s median rates are currently on par with the average rates in the U.S. This decrease should lower the states ranking and considering North Carolina is the 10th most populous state, this is great news for the business community.

North Carolina Flag within the outline of the state border.

Why are North Carolina Workers Compensation Insurance Rates Declining in 2019

North Carolina Workers Compensation Rates 2019 are decreasing primarily as a result of insurance carriers processing fewer claims and paying out less for workers’ compensation claims. Because of these declines in claims and payouts,  the carriers are able to pass on the savings to customers. Now not all industries are going to see the same amount of decrease. Some industries may fair better than others. According to the North Carolina Rating Bureau (NCRB), manufacturing industry groups will experience an average drop of 15.8 percent, contracting industry groups will see a decrease of 6.5 percent, and both office and clerical as well as goods and services will see an average of 19.3 percent decrease to both industries.

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Requirements for Workers Comp Coverage in North Carolina?

In the state of North Carolina employers with three or more regular, full, or part-time employees are required to secure workers comp coverage. This includes all corporations and non-profits. Sole Proprietors, Partners, and LLC Members are automatically excluded from coverage, but have the ability to elect coverage. Corporate officers are included on all policies, but can exclude themselves using the Accord 130 form.

Payroll Requirements for Business Owners in North Carolina

Sole Proprietors and Partners who include themselves on coverage must use an annual payroll of $46,900 for rating purposes as of 04/01/2019. Corporate Officers who do not exclude themselves from coverage must do so at a minimum payroll of $46,800 and a maximum annual payroll of $93,600 as of 01/01/2019.

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What is Unique about the Workers Comp System in North Carolina?

Experience Modification Rating

The Workers Compensation System in the state of North Carolina is unique because the state calculates the Experience Modification Rating of business on its own. The department that does this is the North Carolina Rate Bureau (NCRB). Most states partner with the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) to establish these ratings. North Carolina does report claims to NCCI for the purpose of determining interstate modifiers. This applies to employers who operate in North Carolina and other states throughout the country.

Waiver of Subrogation

Waivers of Subrogation are no longer required in North Carolina. They are not required because North Carolina Law establishes that a principal contractor is not responsible for subcontractors. This may cause contractors to face unique challenges throughout the state. Regardless, general contractors may be liable for injuries and coverage of uninsured subcontractors. In some instances, a general contactor may charge subcontractor for the cost of workers compensation while working on various jobsites.

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The North Carolina Business Community will be seeing improvements next year in the form of lower workers compensation rates. This good news resulted from insurance carriers processing fewer claims and paying out less for the claims that were processed. These improvements are attributed to technology improving the efficiency in improvements and the safety of the workforce. In light of these savings, business owners should consult with their insurance agent to make sure they are maximizing all possible savings when it comes to workers compensation as well as all other forms of commercial insurance. Partnering with an independent agent is the most efficient way to ensure comprehensive coverage at the lowest rate possible.

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How can Businesses Ensure Maximum Savings on North Carolina Workers Compensation Rates 2019

Partner with an Independent Agent

Partnering with an Independent Agent is one of the best ways a business can make sure to get maximum coverage at rock-bottom rates. This is a fact because an independent agent is not pressured to sell you the coverage of one insurance carrier. An independent agent can shop your policy out to multiple carriers. Multiple carriers competing for your business can get your business better coverage at better rates. Additionally, the independent agent knows which carriers are hungry to quote the policies you are looking for, in the particular state you are located, and in the industry your business operates. This inside knowledge can save you time and money when looking for coverage.

Control Your Experience Modification Rating

The experience modification rating of a business is crucial to limiting what the business pays for premium. The first thing an underwriter looks at when determining if they are going to offer coverage to a business and what to charge that business for coverage, is the classification code of the business and the experience modification rating of that business. Controlling this rating is one of the more impactful aspect a business has control over. Especially related to what the business pays for commercial insurance, especially workers compensation.

Prepare for Natural Disasters

In North Carolina, Natural Disasters are a risk to consider. This is the case no matter what part of the state you are located. Hurricanes and flooding are especially important to speak with your insurance agent about. The amount of risk you are comfortable with may not be the same as other business owners. If this is the case, it is important to express this to your agent. Tell them what you do, what the climate is like, and the level of risk you’re comfortable. With this knowledge, a good independent agent should be able to find several packages to suit your needs.

Develop an In-depth Safety Program

Safety Programs are one of the most cost effective ways for a business to save money. Not only can an effective safety program help a business save on commercial insurance, it can also help save money in many other ways. Lowering damage to equipment, less missed days by injured employees, and a happier workforce are at the top of the list of ways a business can benefit from an effective safety program.

Include a Return-to-Work Program

A Return-to-Work Program is something that can be implemented in tandem with a safety program and save your business immensely when you do experience an injured worker. Statistics show, the quicker an employee gets back to work, the more likely they are to return to work. This will save your business considerably by not damaging your experience modification rating, by not having to deal with a missing or injured employee, and by not having to retrain a new employee to do what the injured employee had experience with.

Exclude Owners

An Owner Exclusion in North Carolina is generally permitted for a business to exclude themselves from workers’ compensation insurance. This is true for every form of business. That includes sole-proprietors, partners, LLC owners, and corporations. Owners who decide to exclude coverage on themselves are not  covered in the event they are injured on the job. If the business is willing to take on the risk, excluding the owners from coverage can save each year on workers compensation premium.

Ask about Credits and Discounts

North Carolina law allows insurance carriers to apply scheduled credits up to 25% of the full premium on each individual workers compensation insurance policy. This is in addition to credits already given to the policy holder.Credits are typically given because of a good Experience Modification Rate. Credits are usually given for management experience, no prior claims, and profitability of an account. Employers should always take additional time to speak long and honestly with their insurance agent to inform them about every positive the business has to offer. It is equally important to request additional credits when shopping workers compensation quotes.

California Workers Compensation Rates 2019

Prices are Declining for California Workers Compensation Rates in 2019 

California Workers Compensation Rates 2019 are going to cost the business community less than in 2018. The average rate of $1.63 per $100 in payroll by Jan. 1 will be approximately 72 percent lower than when rates peaked in 2015. In 2015 the recommended rate was $2.81 per $100 in payroll.  According to California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, “Cost savings in the workers’ compensation system have helped insurers and employers deserve to share in the cost savings through lower premiums,” This is the lowest rates for workers compensation insurance have been in the state of California in five years.

Iconic Golden Gate Bridge, atracts businesses to San Francisco. Those businesses will be paying less for California Workers Compensation Rates 2019.

What is contributing to Lower California Workers Compensation Rates 2019?

California has some of the highest rates for workers compensation insurance in the country the California Workers Compensation Bureau WCIRB has pointed to a high frequency of permanent disability claims as a reason for higher costs. Also, California has a higher than average cost of handling claims and delivering benefits. This contributes to the state having higher rates for workers compensation premium. Businesses in the state of California spent $16.2 billion on workers’ compensation just last year.

In 2019, California Workers Compensation Rates are continuing to decrease for the fifth straight year primarily because of reforms made to fight the opioid epidemic, low inflation for medical and pharmaceutical costs, and increased fraud investigations. The amount paid out for opioids in 2018 was nearly a fifth of what it was in 2013. This drop was from $15,687 to $3,204 per 100 claims, according to WCIRB, the California Workers Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau. A large part of the reason for the decrease in what the workers compensation system paid out for opioid prescriptions is because California enacted a program called CURES (Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System). CURES is a database of Schedule II, III and IV controlled substance prescriptions dispensed in California serving the public health, regulatory oversight agencies, and law enforcement.The CURES Program requires dispensing pharmacies, clinics, or other dispensers of Schedule II through IV controlled substances to provide specified dispensing information to the Department of Justice on a weekly basis in a format approved and accepted by the DOJ. This has significantly decreased the amount of opioid abuse throughout the state and that has benefited the workers compensation system.

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What can Business Owners do to continue saving on California Workers Compensation Rates 2019

California Workers Compensation Rates 2019 are decreasing for the fifth straight year. This represents a decrease of 72 percent over this time period, but businesses in California still pay more for workers comp coverage than nearly all states throughout the country. Because of these high rates, it is important to maximize savings in any way possible. Here are five ways business owners can alter the way they do business in order to save on commercial insurance.

Make sure your business is classified properly

Far too many businesses are classified improperly for purposes of workers compensation insurance. This is attributed to a number of reasons, but many times it is because a business owner rushes through the quoting process when purchasing Workmans Comp Insurance California. An insurance agent can only act upon the information they are given by the business owner when they are shopping for the best coverage to fit a business owners needs. If the business owner does not explain many intricacies of their business, the business may be classified improperly and pay more or less for coverage throughout the year. This mistake usually gets cleared during the end of term audit, but it can cause a business to owe additional premium. Even if the business over pays and is issued a refund, it means the business has tied up valuable cash flow in unnecessary premium payments throughout the year. These unnecessary payments could have been used on other more important business expenses.

Implement a Safety Program

A Safety Program can help limit the cost of workers compensation insurance in California because it will limit both the frequency and severity of claims. When you business has less claims and the claims you do have are small, the insurance carrier is more likely to offer your business a favorable rate for premium.

Start the Safety Program the day employees are hired

Safety Programs should be a part of your company culture. This should not start after a month in which a few accidents occur. Safety should be part of the training program from the moment an employee starts on the job. The more the business (especially the key employees) talk about safety, the more likely that message is to fester throughout the organization.

Add a Return-to-Work Program to your Safety Policy

A Return to Work Program can significantly impact your experience modification rating in a positive way. When an employee is hurt and not able to work they are much more likely to develop new habits outside of their daily work routine. The longer they stay off the job, the more likely the injured employee is to become long term unemployed. This can have a drastic impact on the experience modification rating of the business. Businesses that are able to get an employee back on the job, even in a limited capacity, are more likely to have those employees return to permanent work.

Communicate with your Insurance Carrier and Healthcare Provider

Communication is key when it comes to navigating the workers compensation system. This is true for the business owner, the injured worker, the insurance agent as well as the underwriter who represents the insurance carrier. The business owner has a responsibility to help the injured worker navigate the workers compensation system and get the care they deserve while not able to work. It is important to keep your agent in the loop throughout this process even though it is the responsibility of the carrier to administer the program. Keeping the agent in the loop can help in the unfortunate event that the carrier is not living up to their end of the bargain. If the agent knows about this process throughout, they can help hold the carrier accountable.

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What are the Requirements for Workers Compensation Insurance Coverage in the State of California?

In California, all employers are required to purchase workers compensation coverage regardless of the number of employees. Sole Proprietors are not automatically included in coverage, but can elect to be included using the Acord 130 Application. Partners are automatically included on policies and they are not allowed to be exempt. Corporate Officers who happen to be the sole shareholder are excluded from coverage, but they have the ability to elect coverage if they so choose. All LLC Members who work within a business are included for coverage, but non-working LLC Members are excluded from coverage unless they elect to be covered using the Acord 130 form.

What are the Payroll Requirements for Business Owners in California?

According to California regulation, Sole Proprietors who elect to include themselves on workers comp coverage must use a minimum payroll amount of $52,000 and a maximum of $133,900 for rating purposes as of January First, 2019. Partners, Officers and LLC Members who do not excluded themselves from coverage must utilize a minimum payroll of $52,000 and a maximum of $133,900 for the purpose of rating workers comp premium.

 

Communication is key!!!

Communication is key to limiting the workers compensation cost when you have an injured employee.

Communication is key when you have an injured employee.

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past decade or two, you probably realize that healthcare in America is a bit complicated.  Add in an additional bureaucracy in the workers compensation system and the process can become down right frustrating for your injured worker to get the benefits they deserve.  Dealing with this while also dealing with an injury is not exactly what your employee wants to be dealing with while trying to recover from an injury at work.  Communicating with your employee throughout the entire workers compensation process is crucial to getting the worker the benefits the deserve, limiting the cost to your business and to getting the worker back on the job as soon as possible.

Communication should start as soon as the employee informs you there has been an injury.  Who ever is the manager on duty when this occurs should inform the injured employee that the business is on their side and wants to see them get the care and benefits they deserve.  Also the manager should let them know that the process to get your medical care paid for by the workers compensation system is a tad different than going to their local doctor.  It adds a layer of bureaucracy to the situation, but the more likely you are to let them know you are there to help and then follow through with that message, the more likely the injured employee is to trust your business and eventually return to full time employment.

Communicating with not only the injured worker, but with the carrier is crucial as well.  It is also important to keep your agent in the loop, but the carrier is the business that is equipped and responsible for helping you through this process. The main thing they can help you with is directing you to the proper facilities that are equipped to handle the workers compensation process.  Speaking with the carrier about this and relaying the message to the injured employee is crucial to the ultimate success of your business.

Humans are creatures of habit.  When people come to work they tend to create a habit related to that process.  The longer they stay away from work, the more likely they are to develop new habits.  When this occurs and the longer it occurs, the less likely the injured worker is to return to full time employment.  This is when a claim can turn in to an extremely large cost to your insurance carrier and will be a part of your businesses loss cost ratio.  The loss cost ratio is one of a few main factors carriers use to determine whether they are going to offer you coverage and how much to charge your business for premium.  limiting the severity of any claim is crucial to keeping this ratio low.

How to create a return to work program that is a win-win

A return to work program is part of a businesses over all risk management plan.

 

If done well a return to work program can benefit both the employer and employees.

Returning to work can be a hassle for employees to navigate.  Anything an employer can do to make the process easier for their employees will benefit the employee as well as the company in the long term.  That process should start before the injury occurs by putting an emphasis on safety in order to prevent the injury from occurring in the first place.  Unfortunately, if you are in business long enough an injury to one of your employees will inevitably occur.  When it does, helping your employee get the medical care they need and helping them get back on the job promptly can be crucial to the success of your business.  Here are 4 ways an effective return to work program can help your business succeed.

 

Put your return to work policy down in writing:  Why putting this program in writing is that the process of putting this policy in writing can help you determine what are the issues that employees actually face when they are dealing with injuries and how to best help them through this process.  You should have some key employees from all levels of your business be a part of this process. Maybe even include someone who recently had an injury at work. These in-sites may help you determine some risks your business faces that you may be able to prevent future injuries.

Develop a process for Communication throughout the process:  Once you have a return-to-work program in place you need to ensure all of your managers read and understand the policy clearly and concisely.  It may be effective to have one person be the point person for the program, but it is equally important to have them train all the other managers and upper level employees about the program.  This is important you do not want to be left in a bind if that person is on vacation when an injury occurs or if that employee leaves the organization altogether.  Make sure your employees understand how this program impacts the bottom line.  Helping them communicate this program down through the ranks via meetings, email and your intranet.

Start the plan immediately upon injury/illness:  The moment an injury occurs the return to work program needs to be implemented.  This should be outlined clearly in the program.  Documenting everything is crucial to protect the business and to ensure the employee gets the proper medical attention and wage reimbursement through your workers’ compensation insurance policy. The quicker you implement this program it will instill confidence in the injured employee that you care about their well-being and will contribute to them wanting to get back to work more quickly.

Close your claims quickly:  Once your employee is recovered and back on the job, it is important to close the workers’ compensation claim quickly.  Carriers will leave the claim open for a while after the employee returning to work. They do this to make sure the employee does not reinjure themselves upon returning to work and needing additional benefits.  Remember that the underwriter may leave this claim open and it can cause your loss cost ratio to be much higher than it actually is.  If you are renewing your policy this can negatively impact what you pay for premium.  For this reason it is important to periodically check in to make sure the claim is closed as soon as it possibly can.

 

3 tips for effectively managing risk in the Non-Profit Industry

People go in to the non profit industry for a wide array of reasons. For most people, that reason has something to do with serving their community. Many people in the non profit Industry do not anticipate having to manage risk, but how effectively their organization manages risk will contribute immensely to the success or failure of the organization. Some of the aspects of managing risk include:  developing safety programs, writing liability waiver forms, designing a return-to-work program for injured workers or purchasing workers’ compensation insurance.  In order to effectively manage risk, here are three tips every Non Profit Professional should consider when determining how to manage the risks your organization faces.

Find the best info about insurance for Non Profit businesses at My Insurance Question.com

 

 

Have an effective safety program in place.

Having an effective safety program in place is essential for all non-profit organizations. First and foremost, this is simply the right thing to do.  It is the right thing to do for your employees, for your volunteers and for your organization as a whole. The success of the safety program starts with the leaders of the organization. If the leaders of your organization make it clear that you value safety, the employees and volunteers will value safety as well.  What an effective safety program looks like will differ depending on the scope and mission of your organization. A safety program for local soup kitchen will be dramatically different than an NGO that distributes medicine across several different countries.  For that reason, it is important to invite a risk management professional to sit on your board of directors.  If you do not know someone in this field you can consult with your insurance agent.  They typically have generic programs in place for many different industries.

 

Deciding when and if your organization needs to purchase insurance?

For a small or recently founded organization, you may be able to do without insurance for a short period of time. This is not something to take lightly.  No matter how little money your organization has, not securing proper insurance can lead to your organizations failure if an accident does happen without proper coverage.  Eventually there will come a time when your organization will need coverage. The state you are located in will determine when you are required by law to purchase some coverages. Workers’ compensation insurance is usually the first coverage you will be required to purchase. This policy covers the risk of bodily injury to your employees.  General liability insurance covers bodily injury and property damage done to third parties. These third parties may be the people you serve or anyone who comes in contact with your organization. These two policies are typically the first policies a non profit will consider and they are the bare minimum coverage.  As your organization grows these two policies may not fully cover your business from all risks. You may not understand all of the risks you actually face and the types of insurance you need.  Consulting with an insurance professional whom you trust is important at this stage in your risk management process. Asking someone who works in insurance to volunteer with your organization or to sit on your board is a good idea.

 

Have a return-to-work program in place for injured employees.

Developing an effective return-to-work program is something that can be a work in progress. Ideally your safety program works and you do not have many injuries. Even if you only have the occasional minor injury, it is best practice for your organization to have a plan for getting an injured worker back to work as soon as possible.  The quicker they get back on the job the more likely they are to return to regular work and the mission of your organization.  Some common jobs for injured workers include basic office work like stuffing envelopes, answering the phone or writing thank you letters to donors. Getting people back on the job quickly is important because people who work in this industry frequently have a special relationship with the work they do. Many of them want to be a part of something greater than themselves. This is especially true with the millennial generation. When these people are injured and not able to work, part of their life is taken from them. The longer it is not a part of their life, the more likely they are to not come back to work at all. This is when the cost of a claim can become the greatest and is when you can expect to see an increase in your insurance premium. Having an effective return-to-work program can help these employees get back on the job, control the cost of your workers’ compensation claim and continue the mission of your organization.

3 ways to managing risk in the Non-Profit Industry

There are many reasons why people go in to the non-profit industry.  Some people want to fight poverty, some work closely with a church and others might be dedicated to fighting a disease.  One common theme among people who work in the non profit industry is that they want to be a part of something greater than themselves.  One thing many people in this industry do not anticipate is having to manage risk, but this can be one aspect of their job that can ultimately determine the success or failure of the organization.

Find the best answers to your Non Profit Insurance questions at MyInsuranceQuestion.com

Many people who go in to this sector do not anticipate having to manage risk or buy insurance. They probably do not anticipate their jobs causing them to have to worry about things like a return-to-work program, workers’ compensation benefits or general liability insurance. As a non-profit professional, how effectively you handle these aspects of your organization will contribute immensely to the success or failure of your organization. For that reason we have created three main tips for managing risk within your non-profit agency.

 

Have an effective safety program in place.

Having an effective non-profit safety program in place is essential for all non-profit organizations.  Most non-profits depend on people volunteering their precious time and money to the organization. The last thing you want to happen is for a volunteer to be injured while helping your organization. A safety program can prevent this from happening.

First and foremost, reporting and documenting injuries needs to be a part of your company culture. It should start with the first training all employees get during the on-boarding process. Employees need to be well aware of how to inform volunteers how to properly do their job in a safe manner.  This can go hand in hand with your business’s safety program and your business’s safe driving program.  Another thing to keep in mind is that how safe your organization takes safety starts with you and your key employees.  If you stress safety as the professional, your employees and volunteers will also value this safety program.

Non Profit Insurance Answers

When should a new or small non-profit decide to purchase insurance?

For a new non profit, insurance may not be necessary at first, but it is not something to be taken lightly. No matter what the financial situation is of an organization, the quickest way to fail as a non-profit is to not secure adequate insurance.  Your state laws will determine when you must purchase coverage. Workers’ comp and general liability are typically the first two policies you will find a need for.  Workers comp protects your employees and general liability protects your organization from damages to third parties.   Even if you are fairly sure you have proper coverage or do not need coverage at this time, consulting with an insurance professional with whom you trust is a very wise decision.  If you know someone who works in risk management or insurance, it might be a good idea to ask them to sit on your board of directors.

Have a return-to-work program in place for injured employees.

Operating an effective return-to-work program is another aspect that will contribute immensely to the success or failure of your organization.  Ideally you will never have a need for a return to work program because none of your employees will ever be injured on the job. But as you very well know, we do not live in an ideal world. For that reason it is crucial for you to prepare for the day when you do have an inured employee. If you are prepared, you will be able to get those employees back on the job quickly and control the cost to your organization.   Any work you have to get the injured employee involved in the organization will benefit the injured employee and your organization in the long run.  Getting people back on the job quickly is important because the quicker they are back on the job the more likely they are to not become an injured worker long-term or permanently.