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.

Charlotte, NC Skyline

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.

Full North Carolina State Flag

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.

Outdoors, Park, Landscape

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.

Ocean Sunset along the Coast

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.

My Insurance Question: 10 Summer Safety Tips

10 Summer Safety Tips for your Business.  

Summer Safety begins and ends with dealing with the Summer Heat. Depending upon where your business is located and the industry you operate in, how you deal with the Summer Heat may be drastically different. Here are ten tips to help you protect your employees while dealing with the Summer Heat.

Construction Worker dealing with Summer Heat.

Have your A/C Unit checked

Most people think that heat related injuries only concern businesses that have employees who work out side, but when an A/C Unit goes out during the month of July it can have an extremely negative impact on your office and your employees. Having your A/C Unit checked in the Spring can prevent a bad situation from happening. The earlier in the year you get this done, the better.

Communicate with employees

Employees listen to their managers and key employees within your organization. If you communicate through those key employees what is important to the organization, the employees are much more likely to follow through with actions you want them to follow. Communication should be direct and ongoing. The more your employees hear something, the more likely they are to follow through.

Hydration

Drinking adequate amounts of water is important for all employees at all levels of your organization. That is true if they work primarily out in the elements or if they are an office employee. In the Summer this is especially true for employees who work out in the elements. Periodically providing cool drinks for your employees is always a good idea. Talking about hydration with your staff is also important to get them to take hydration seriously.

Sunscreen

Sunscreen is necessary during the Summer Months. It is important for you to provide sunscreen for your employees and to talk about using it. Encourage your managers and key employees to model the types of activities you want the rest of your staff to copy.

Proper Clothing

Depending upon the industry your business operates in and the climate of the area, adequate clothing may defer depending upon the weather your employees face. Preventing sunburn and other types of heat exposure is crucial to keeping your employees healthy and happy.

Adjust your operating hours

It is important for your acclimate your employees to the weather as the Summer heat begins.  Gradually increasing exposure to the environment is the best way to help your employees deal with heat exposure throughout the entire Summer. Depending upon how hot the weather actually is and the type of activities your employees partake in, it may be necessary for your business to adjust the operating hours during the Summer months.

Take Extra Breaks

Taking additional breaks is a great way to deal with an increase in the temperatures during the Summer. When the temperatures rise, it is not a time for your employees to attempt to show how tough they are. More often than not this will result in someone dealing with a heat related illness. Protect your employees by taking additional breaks.

Notice the signs of Heat Related Illness

According to the Center for Disease Control, ‘From 1999 to 2010, 8,081 heat-related deaths were reported in the United States’. That is more than 800 people each year who die from heat related illnesses.  Familiarizing yourself and your managers with the early signs of heat exhaustion can go a long way towards preventing your employees from becoming a victim of a heat related illness.

Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes and other insects come out in great numbers during the Summer Months. Helping your employees deal with them will keep those employees happy and healthy. If your employees stay at your facility, there are steps you can take throughout the property to limit exposure to insects. When employees are working at third party locations, it is important to periodically talk to the employees about how to prevent insect bites.

Prepare Your Vehicles

If you have employees who operate automobiles as part of their job, it is important to help those employees maintain the vehicle so that they will be able to withstand the extreme temperatures all Summer long. It may be necessary for your business to buy car windshield sunshade and to require all employees to use them if they are going to be away from the vehicle for a certain amount of time. Making sure the AC Unit in the car is in tip top shape is important to keep your employees cool and the cars operating throughout the year.

June is National Safety Month

What are you doing during National Safety Month to make sure your Business is as Safe as possible?

Every year National Safety Month is recognized during the month of June and according to the National Safety Council, ‘National Safety Month focuses on reducing leading causes of injury and death at work, on the road and in our homes and communities’. Safety should be at the top of the priority list for any successful business. Not focusing on safety is a very short-sided way to run a business. Businesses with an extra emphasis on safety tend to experience less frequent and less severe injuries to their employees. This leads to less lost time by injured employees, less insurance claims reported by the business, and lower insurance premiums as a result of the safe environment.

June is National Safety Month

Why is safety important?

Having a safety workplace can help your business in many ways. First and foremost it is the right thing to do for your organization, your customers, and your employees. If you operate a safe business it will save your business time and money by not having to deal with injured employees as frequently. It also will save your business when purchasing commercial insurance. Safe workplaces typically have a better experience modification rating than other businesses who do not emphasize safety.

How does a business design a safety program?

The design stage of a safety program will depend upon the location of your business and the industry you operate in. Obviously, if your business operates in Florida there is not much of a need for you to train employees how to operate in the snow. If you are located in Iowa, you may not need to prepare for hurricane season. The same can be said for the industry you operate in. A construction company will not need the same protocols in place as an accounting firm. Because of the uniqueness of each individual business, it is important to consult with your key employees, advisers, and even your insurance agent. All of these people can bring their own experiences to the design of any safety program and make it more complete.

June is National Safety Month and in honor of this celebration of safety this is an infograph about slips trips falls-

What should be included in all safety plans?

Heavy lifting

Any employee who has to lift heavy objects should be prepared to lift with their legs and not with their back. Many employees want to show a can-do attitude, but it is important to let all employees know that safety and their health are more important than impressing anyone with brute strength.

Slips, trips, and falls

Slips, trips, and falls are the most common insurance claim. Especially for retail and restaurant businesses that are open to the public. Even if your business is not open to the public, it is important to prevent employees and any third parties who come on to the property to be prepared for slips, trips, and falls.

Ergonomics of the workplace

Most businesses operate in the technological age. Because of this fact, many employees spend a majority of their time sitting at a desk and typing or staring at a computer. Repetition injuries like carpal tunnel can be severe and so can eyesight damage from long-term  damage from computer usage. Being mindful of the ergonomics of the chair a person is sitting in, the equipment surrounding their computer, and the light that is being emulated from the computers can do a lot to prevent long-term damage due to ergonomics within your staff.

Tips for implementing a safety program.

Once you have designed a safety program, it is equally important to effectively implement it. This must start from the top of your organization. The more involved the owner and key employees are in the implementation of a safety program, the more likely all employees will take it seriously. There should be a schedule for ongoing meetings and they should be documented. These meetings do not have to be extremely time-consuming. Typically 15-30 minutes a week is adequate. It is important to periodically request feedback from all employees and to have some sort of open door policy for employees who may not feel comfortable speaking up in front of their coworkers. No matter what implementation you find is right for your business, it is important to document it and to stick with it. Documentation will come in handy when or if you experience an injured employee. Your insurance agent will be able to use the safety program as a way to show the insurance carrier you are taking the proper steps to prevent this occurrence from becoming a regular part of your business.

 

Portrait of young engineer taking notes for National Safety Month.

Common Types of injuries

Fatigue

Fatigue is an enormous problem in today’s business climate. Especially for businesses that operate in an have employees doing physical work. Adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each day to reach peak performance, but nearly one-third report averaging less than six hours.

Driving

IF you have employees who drive to multiple locations throughout the work day as part of their normal duties, you need to train those employees how to drive when they are on the job. It is a good idea to pull their motor vehicle records on a yearly basis as well. Never assume a responsible employee is also a responsible driver.

Workplace Violence

Unfortunately, workplace violence is more common than most business owners think. Each year more than two million people report being a victim of workplace violence. For this reason, it is extremely important for you as a small business owner to come up with a plan to prevent and how to deal with any and all forms of workplace violence.

Slips, trips, and falls

Slips, trips, and falls are the most common form of insurance claim. Especially for businesses that are open to the public like a restaurant. Fortunately for these types of businesses, these claims are also typically not very severe, just frequent. No matter what type of industry your business operates in, it is worth your while to address slips, trips, and falls that may happen at your facility.

Drugs in the workplace

According to the Surgeon General, nearly 21 million Americans live with a substance use problem.  The same study showed three-quarters of these people are employed and as a result of their addiction, they miss 50% more time than employees without a substance abuse disorder. Construction, entertainment, recreation, and food service are four industries that have twice the national average of drug abuse in the workplace. If your business operates in one of these areas, drug abuse in the workplace is something you should address with your staff.

 

Tips for Home Health Care Agencies

Owning and operating a home health care agency can be complex. The clients you deal with can have a wide range of health issues you and your employees need to be familiar with. Some clients may be small and frail, but very mobile; while another client may be large and immobile. Some may have mental problems like dementia while other clients may have mobility issues like the aftermath of a stroke. With each of these clients comes a unique set of risks. These risks all determine what type of insurance you need and how much that insurance will cost. Here are three tips to help you the next time you shop for home health care workers comp.

Make sure you are classified accurately

For purposes of workers compensation insurance, governance of these programs is left up to the individual states. Most of the states partner with the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) to determine a classification code for each business and the rate of premium for each code. There are currently more than 700 different codes a business can be classified as. Each industry has multiple classification codes depending upon the scope and scale of the business. Depending upon the actions of your employees while on the job, the amount of premium is reflected through your businesses classification code.

Hire carefully

Unfortunately the home health care industry tends to have a high turnover rate. The two main reasons for this is the stress of the job and the amount of pay for most employees. In order to turn a profit, there is only so much a business owner can pay their employees in order to stay profitable. Because of this fact, it is difficult to keep the best employees around. This is a reason to hire carefully and for the long-term. Sometimes the candidate with the best resume is not as good for your business as the candidate who is the best fit for your business. Finding the best fit is different from business to business based upon the scope of the business and the market that business operates in. Taking additional time to hire the right person will almost always pay off in the long run.

Implement safety protocols

Safety programs are immensely important in the home health care industry. This industry has both a high volume of insurance claims and the claims can be high in severity. The reason for this is because many employees drive their own vehicle to a remote location and many drive to multiple locations throughout the day. The time that your employees drives from location to location makes the liability for accidents that occur the responsibility of the business. This is regardless of whether the employee is on the clock or not. It is important to consider implementing a driver safety program for your home healthcare business.

It is also important to implement safety programs  for the time your employees are in the homes with clients. Depending upon the limitations of each client, your employees should be prepared to keep themselves safe first and keep the client safe second. Let them know that they cannot help the client if they do not take care of themselves first. Because of the remote nature of this work, it is important to have weekly face to face meetings with all employees and to discuss safety protocols with them.

 

5 Ways to Save $$$ on commercial insurance

5 Ways to save on Commercial Insurance

Partner with an independent insurance agent. 

The first and foremost way to save money when you are purchasing commercial insurance for your small business is to partner with an independent insurance agent.  Independent agents have the ability to shop your policy around to a number of carriers who are actively quoting policies in your industry and classification code.  Carriers appetites for particular coverages and class codes can vary dramatically from carrier to carrier.  If you use an agency who partners with only one carrier or a select few, you are putting your business at the mercy of those few carriers. If you are in a high risk classification code it may result in you only have the choice of one carrier. Independent agents can prevent this policy by shopping your policy around so you don’t have to.

Consider bundling your coverages

Carriers offer the ability to bundle policies in the form of a Business Owners Package (BOP) or Commercial Package Policy (CPP).  The carriers do this as a way to save money for small businesses and the carrier benefits by securing more commercial insurance coverages from the small business owner.  This benefits the small business community in many ways. First, it saves on premium because carriers are more willing to give a credit or discount if they know they are collecting on several policies.  Also, and possibly more important, it prevents gaps in coverage.  If a business owner purchases several policies from a number of carriers their may be a grey area in between the two policies that causes the incident to not be covered by the policies.  Even if the occurrence is covered it usually takes a longer amount of time to get a pay out because the two carriers debate who is actually liable for the claim.

Set up a Safety Program

Safety Programs are a great way to limit your commercial insurance cost without a lot of time or effort from your business.  Safety Programs can help you get coverage if you are in a hi-risk industry that many carriers are hesitant to quote coverage.  It can also help you prevent a carrier from raising your rates due to a large or frequent claims in one term.  On top of saving money on insurance premium, safety programs help your workforce stay healthy and productive which is good for your productivity.

Request a policy review.

A policy review can be asked for at any time on all commercial insurance policies.  Periodically it is important to do this for a few reasons.  One the review may identify you are in the incorrect classification code that is costing you unnecessary premium.  This is especially important if you change something about the operations of your business.  A great example of this would be if you are a landscaping company that has decided to add snow removal services to your business.  Most insurance agents will exclude this part of the policy unless you specifically tell them you do snow removal.  A policy review can either prevent an uncovered loss or lower what you pay in premium throughout the year.

Ask for available credits and debits. 

Insurance agents interact with a lot of customers throughout a typical business day.  These customers are usually from diverse backgrounds and they each have their own priorities when shopping for commercial insurance.  Some just want to get the process over quickly so they can get back to running their business. Other business owners want to make sure they have their business insured to the fullest capabilities possible.  Other business owners do not mind if it takes them an entire business day if they can save 5-10% on premium.  Expressing your priorities to your agent is important to help them serve your needs.  Additional credits or debits may be available for your business, you may just have to ask.

 

 

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.

 

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.

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.

How Competitive Workers Compensation Rates Develop

Workers compensation rates are developed by claims and premium paid within each industry, per state over a period of multiple years.  In most sections of the U.S., each State sets a minimum and maximum rate for each industry code.  Within the minimum and maximum rates established by the state competitive insurance companies are able to file their rates for each industry depending on how competitive they want to be.  Depending on the characteristics of a particular business, insurance companies could be willing to discount or increase their rates.  Each state also sets a minimum and maximum amount of credit or debit an insurance company can use when quoting.  When researching rates, lower rates indicate an industry that is less likely to suffer a claim and higher rated industry codes indicate a higher risk of a claim.  The lower hazard industries have more options therefore more competition than the higher hazard industries.  More competition typically means those industry types are going to pay considerably less than a higher risk industry with only a few options willing to quote.

Identify the areas that cause the greatest concern for workplace injuries.  Business owners in all industries can increase their chances of paying the lowest workers compensation rates by implementing proper policy and procedures to prevent claims.  Which policy and procedures to implement will not be the same for all industries.  A restaurant would have different exposures that could cause a claim than a remodeling contractor.  When quoting your business, make sure you highlight the areas that your business has implemented that prevents claims.  Brag about the areas that make your business different than other businesses in the same industry.  In my opinion, most business owners and agents are focused on which insurance company has the lowest rate.  Instead, the business owner and agent needs to tell the story of that business and the components of that business that make it attractive to insure.  Just because an insurance company has one of the lowest rates for a particular industry doesn’t mean they are the most competitive option.  Insurance companies that are willing to apply credits/discounts based on business practices to prevent claims will typically be the most competitive options.  If your agent is not asking about your business practices, they are not properly selling to their underwriters to get the best possible pricing.  Below is a short list of ways a business owner can help reduce their workers’ compensation costs.  These are the things that insurance company underwriters want to know about in order to properly price their quote.

  • Business owner is active within the business. When a business owner is active and around employees, typically those employees follow the policies and procedures more carefully.
  • Proper training of how to handle situations that could cause workers comp claims. If you own a convenience store, how should employees handle a robbery?
  • Return to Work Program. History shows that the sooner a business owner can return the injured employee to work the less expensive the claim will be.  Even if you have to create a light-duty position temporarily.
  • Establish a safety program and enforce discipline for not following proper procedures.  This can positively impact your workers compensation rates.
  • Conduct safety meetings. Constantly reinforcing helps prevent injuries.
  • Employee Training for the job they are performing, equipment they are using.
  • Designate Key Employees to be responsible for holding employees to the standards of your business
  • Update your equipment when needed, make sure it has the proper guarding to prevent injuries.

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.