What is OSHA and how does it impact Workers Compensation?

OSHA stands for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. This government organization is part of the United States Department of Labor. It is the department within the government in charge of the safety and health of workers in the workplace. If you have employees in your business, you need to know about regulations. Any business with one or more employees must comply with OSHA regulations. Here is some information about the history and the three main aspects of the organization.

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OSHA was created in 1970 as part of the OSHA Act. This act created to ensure safe and healthful working conditions, as well as to to preserve human capital throughout the workforce of the United States. One primary aspect the training and education of OSHA focuses on is accident prevention. Prior to this act, there were no laws in place to specifically address safety and health in the workplace. Congress created this act in response to workplace accidents amounting to 14,000 worker deaths annually. Since its inception, OSHA has cut the work-fatality rate by more than half. There are three tactics the organization uses to improve workplace safety throughout the United States:  Education, Training and Enforcement.

Hse, Osha, Health, Safety, Cleaning

Education

One aspect of OSHA that far too many businesses do not realize is their focus on Education and Training. The OSHA Training Institute (OTI) Education Center Program was created in 1992 as a response to a growing number of requests for training from private sector personnel and Federal personnel from other agencies increased throughout the 1980’s. The two most popular courses currently include the #500 Trainer Course in Occupational Safety and Health Standards for the Construction Industry and #501 Trainer Course in Occupational Safety and Health Standards for General Industry. Additional courses include topics such as Hazardous Materials, Machine Guarding, Ergonomics, Confined Space, Excavation, Electrical Standards and Fall Arrest Systems.

Training

OSHA is most known for enforcement and instituting fines, but arguably the most important part of OSHA is Employee Training. As part of its duty to keep the workforce safe and productive, OSHA requires all businesses to create an emergency action plan and take steps to set up a training program to train all employees in all aspects of the OSHA plan. What must be included in this plan is how to deal with hazardous substances, blood-borne pathogens, emergency situations, and what to do if an inspector comes to your workplace.

Enforcement

In addition to education and training, OSHA is tasked with enforcement. This is what the organization is most known for. Officials can issue fines ranging into the tens of thousands of dollars for violations, and they can refer violators for criminal prosecution if they deem such action is warranted. Any business with employees must comply with regulations. If your small business had 10 or fewer employees during the last year, you don’t have to file an injury or illness reports, but you still must comply with all other regulations. It is the responsibility of the business owner to ensure their business and all employees are trained to be in compliance with OSHA Regulations.

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Alaska Workers Compensation Rates in 2019 are going down!

The Largest Decrease for Workers Comp Insurance Premium in 40 years for Alaska Business Owners

In 2019, Alaska Workers Compensation Insurance Rates are expected to fall the most they have in 40 years. The governor office announced this past October that workers’ compensation insurance premiums should decrease by an average of 17.5 percent statewide starting the first of January.  This decrease follows a 5.4 percent decrease in 2017 and workers’ compensation premiums are down roughly 25 percent since 2015. These reductions amount to an estimated $35 million in savings for the Alaska Business Community. According to Alaska Governor Bill Walker, “These proposed rate reductions are welcome news for Alaska businesses — lower workers’ compensation costs reduce the burden on the small businesses that strengthen our economy,” Walker said in a formal statement. “Thank you to the Alaska state Legislature and the Department of Labor and Workforce Development for their work on payment reform, contributing to significant rate reductions for 2019.”

Mount McKinley, Denali National Park, Alaska

What Caused Alaska Workers Compensation Insurance Rates to Decline?

There were a number of factors that contributed to the large decline in Alaska Workers Compensation Insurance Rates. Claim frequency and favorable medical costs continued to decline in 2018 which were two of the major factors contributing to declining rates. The claims frequency means that across the board there were less claims filed in 2018 compared to previous years. This is a favorable measurement for insurance carriers because this decreases the costs related to paying out insurance claims and processing those claims. Declining medical costs is largely because of streamlined processes throughout the medical facilities operating within the workers compensation system.

There was also legislation passed in 2018 that will contribute to lower rates in 2019 and for the foreseeable future. The legislation was House Bill 79 (HB79). the legislation clarified who is classified as an independent contractor and who needs to be covered by workers’ compensation insurance. This bill made it easier to obtain exemptions, to acquire reporting data, and to make payments.

Alaskan Cruise Ship

What can Business Owners do to Maximize Alaska Workers Compensation Insurance Rates?

There are many ways a business owner can save, in addition to the savings the Alaska Business Community is receiving from workers compensation premiums declining. Here are 5 things a business owner can act upon to maximize savings on Alaska Workers Compensation Insurance.

  • Make sure your Business is Classified Properly
  • Implement a Safety Program
  • Incorporate a Return-to-Work Program in the Safety Program
  • Consider Pay-as-You-Go Workers Compensation
  • Partner with an Independent Insurance Agent

Proper Classification Codes

In any given year, there are more than 700 different classification codes for businesses and employees to use when it comes to workers compensation insurance. Making sure your business is classified correct is a step that can save a lot of headaches during a mid term or end of term audit. Proper classification can prevent your business from over or under paying premium throughout the year. If you under pay throughout the year, it can cause your business to owe additional premium at the end of the term. Even if your business over pays through out the year and gets a credit on their policy, it means your business has had unnecessary cash flow tied up in workers comp premium payments. This is money that could be used on other necessary business needs.

Well-Documented Safety Program

A safety program can help a small business lower what they pay for commercial insurance by decreasing the frequency and severity of workers compensation insurance claims. The safety program does not have to be exhaustive. It can be as small as part of the new staff training program and a few 15 minute huddles each week. It is important to have these meetings documented. Your insurance agent can use this documentation to get you an additional discount when purchasing coverage. The documentation can also be used when a business experiences a year in which there are several claims or one large claim. Usually when this occurs your can expect your insurance premium to rise. If you have a documented safety program, your independent insurance agent can use it to show the claims are more of an outlier and not a sign of more claims to come.

A Return-to-Work Program

A return to work program is a great way to show your employees you care about them and help them get back to their daily routine quicker. When executed properly, a return to work program can help get your injured workers back on the job, even in a limited capacity, and back a part of their regular work routine. This is the best way to keep insurance claims under control and help keep your experience modification rating low.

Pay-as-You-Go Option

Some businesses may benefit from Pay as You Go Workers Compensation. Most traditional workers comp policies require 25 to 33 percent of the entire premium up front just to get coverage in place. With the Pay as You Go Option, most businesses can get coverage in place for as little as a few hundred dollars. This allows cash strapped businesses to get coverage in place, but use their needed cash flow for other more urgent business needs.

Partner with an Independent Agent

An independent agent is always the best way to find the most comprehensive insurance coverage at the lowest rate possible. Especially if the independent agent has several years of experience and relationships with multiple insurance carriers. They can use this knowledge and these relationships, to know which carriers are actively looking to quote your industry and and force carriers to compete for your business.

Connecticut Workers Compensation Rates are Going Down in 2019

17% Decrease for Workers Comp Rates in Connecticut

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

Rustic Barn in the Scenic Connecticut Countryside

What Contributed to Declining Connecticut Workers Comp Rates

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

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

USB Building in Stamford, Connecticut

What is Unique about the Workers Compensation System in Connecticut?

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

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

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

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

Implement a Safety Program

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

Include a Return to Work Program

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

Shop Around Your Policy

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

Partner with an Independent Agent

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

 

Florida Workers Comp Rates Remain in Flux for 2019

Florida Workers Comp Rates 2019 are headed in a positive direction.  

In 2019, Florida Workers Comp Rates are improving for the business community throughout the state.  The decline amounts to a deduction of 13.9% and will contribute to a savings for business in Florida of approximately $454 million. This is good news because the Florida Workers Compensation System has been in flux for a number of years.  This decrease is the third such decrease over the previous year and a half.  Previous to these three decreases, the workers compensation rates had increased by 14.5% in 2016.

Florida Workers Comp Insurance Rates 2019

What Caused Florida Workers Compensation Rates 2019 to Decrease?

Florida Workers Comp Rates 2019 are decreasing because of significant improvements in experienced losses by insurance carriers. This means the insurance carriers paid out less in claims. Some within the industry credit safer workplaces, enhanced efficiencies in the workplace, and an increase in the use of technologies for the decrease in costs.

What is Unique about the Florida Workers Compensation System?

The most unique aspect of the Florida Workers Compensation System is that Florida is a No Competition State. This means Florida is one of the few remaining states in the country where every insurance company offering coverage within the state are required to offer the same rates and discounts as all other carriers. State mandated rates mean employers do not have to shop around as much as more competitive states. Business primarily need to be concerned about finding an insurance carrier willing to offer coverage on the voluntary market with the most cash flow friendly payment options and the business needs to avoid the Florida State Fund.

Pond with a waterfall and palm trees in the background at a Miami, Florida Golf Course.

Why have the Workers Comp Florida Rates 2019 Been in Flux?

For the past few years, workers compensation rates within the state of Florida have been in flux for a number of reasons. Two State Supreme Court Decisions have contributed to the instability. Those cases were Castellanos v. Next Door Company and Westphal v. City of St. PetersburgCastellanos vs. Next Door Company made a previous 2009 ruling invalid, meaning judges no longer had to stick to the mandatory fee schedule and now can award additional compensation for attorney’s fees when offering judgments within the workers compensation system.  The Westphal Case, had a ruling that ruled the 104-week statutory limitation on temporary total disability benefits is unconstitutional. This ruling extended this period to a 260-week limitation. This 260-week limit is more in line with states throughout the country and significantly increased the amount carriers had to pay for permanently disabled injured workers.

Another factor that has caused the workers compensation system in the state of Florida to be out of whack is State Senate Bill 1402.  This bill accounted for 1.8% of the recent increase in premium by increasing the cost for updates within the Florida Workers’ Compensation HCPR Manual.

In addition to these issues, in 2017 the Florida Insurance Regulators took over Guarantee Insurance Company (The states assigned risk workers comp provider) because it had become insolvent.  This left 1250 businesses in the state of Florida scrambling to find a workers comp carrier.

Epcot Center, Disney World, Orlando, Florida

What could be in store for future rates?

Hurricane Michael Relief

In response to Hurricane Michael, Florida Governor Rick Scott issued an emergency order that make sure “additional protections” are in place for Florida policyholders – including freezing any rate hikes for 90 days.

The order requires that insurers:

  1. Provide an additional 90 days to policyholders to supply required information to their insurance company. Many Floridians were displaced during this dangerous storm, and providing additional time to submit information to insurance companies gives them needed flexibility.
  2. Rescind for 90 days all non-renewals or cancellations issued to policyholders in the days leading up to Hurricane Michael. This gives policyholders 90 days to either renew their insurance policy, or find a new policy; and
  3. Freeze any and all efforts to increase rates on policyholders for 90 days.

Independent Medical Review Program

Florida is looking in to implementing a 6-year-old independent medical review program for workers compensation claims. This program has been enacted by the state of California and has been a resounding success. Under this program disputes about the medical treatment of injured workers are resolved by physicians instead of by the courts. California has found this has enabled for a more efficient resolution of claims while reducing the need for lengthy and costly judicial processes.

New State Senate Promising to Revisit Florida’s Workers Comp Laws

The new President of the Senate in the state of Florida, Bill Galvano, is promising to revisit Florida’s workers’ compensation insurance laws. At a recent ceremony shortly after taking over as President of the Senate Galvano said, “I don’t want to be in a situation where they spike and then we are running to fix it at that point”. Statements like these from the leadership of the Florida legislature show the decision makers in the house are looking forward to attempt to provide a stable market for the business community and eliminate the volatility businesses have seen in recent years for Florida Workers Comp Rates.

Turtles and Alligator at Busch Gardens, Florida

Florida Workers Comp Requirements

There are several requirements for businesses operating within the state of Florida. First and foremost, non-construction companies with four or fewer employees are required to purchase employees. It does not matter if those employees are full or part-time. All construction related businesses are required to secure coverage no matter the number of employees within the business. Sole Proprietors and Partners are not required to cover themselves and are exempt from coverage. A corporation and LLC may exempt officers if each owner owns less then 10 percent of the stock in the business. Sole Proprietors and Partners are not required to cover themselves and they are automatically excluded. These people can elect to be covered using form DWC-251. Corporate Officers of non-construction businesses can exempt from coverage if they own stock and hold an office on the board of directors. LLC Members of non construction businesses are treated as employees, but may be exempt of they so choose.

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What can Florida Business Owner do to Maximize Savings?

Shop around your Policy

It is not a wise decision to switch carriers every year for a slight decrease in premium. This is because when a claim does occur a carrier will take in to consideration how long you have been a customers of theirs when they are deciding to raise your rate or deny your business coverage. At the same time, it is important to make sure your business is getting a competitive rate. The best way to do this is to partner with an independent agent who can shop around your policy for you.  This can save you time and usually result in lower premium payments on more comprehensive coverage.

Invest in Safety Protocols

Safety is the name of the game in any business. It is what is best for your employees as well as your customers. It is also important when it comes time to purchase commercial insurance. a safer business will have less claims and the claims it does have will be less severe. A small investment in a safety program can pay huge dividends when looking for the lowest Florida Workers Comp Rates.

Choose the Pay as You Go Option

Pay as You Go Workers Compensation Insurance is an excellent option for seasonal and cash strapped businesses. This option allows businesses to get coverage in place at a significantly lower rate than a traditional workers comp policy. Once a policy is in place, the premium is paid monthly based upon the actual payroll from the previous month.  This is a great option if your business operates in an industry that has a hard time forecasting payroll for a number of reasons. If your payroll is significantly lower one month the payment will reflect that and the same will occur in months when your workforce represents more man hours. Finally, a Pay as You Go Policy prevents most mid-term audits from occurring because the payments are more accurate from month to month and not based upon an estimate from previous years payroll.  This prevents an unwelcome surprise from occurring at the end of a term when a business under pays premium throughout the year and has an unexpected payment to end the year.

 

California Workers Compensation Rates 2019

Prices are Declining for California Workers Compensation Rates in 2019 

During the year 2019, California Workers Compensation Rates 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 comp 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 Work Comp Rates are continuing to decrease for the fifth straight year. These declines occurred primarily because of reforms made to fight the opioid epidemic, low inflation for medical and pharmaceutical costs, and increased fraud investigations. Because of these efforts throughout the entire workers compensation system, 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.

Iconic Hollywood, California

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.

Surfing the California Coast

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.

 

Logo for the Insurance Shop LLCMy Insurance Question is a blog published by the insurance experts at the Insurance Shop LLC.  If you are in the market for any form of commercial insurance give us a call at 1-800-800-4864 or start a quote here: Start a Quote with The Insurance Shop

 

What Insurance do Bars, Taverns and Restaurants need?

Bars, Taverns and Restaurants

Small Businesses in the Bars, Taverns and Restaurant Industry have many different risks that are unique to this industry. The difference between a dive bar and a four star restaurant are as different as a beauty salon and a gun club. There are different classification codes for different types of insurance coverage depending upon the operations of your business. This is because the risks of a coffee shop, is different from the risks of a cafe or a wine bar. Which classification code the business is classified in is a large part of what determines how much they pay for commercial insurance. This may determine whether the business wants to offer a certain type of food or service depending upon how much it will impact what the business pays for commercial insurance.

Overhead picture of a Restaurant.

Alcohol Consumption

Most states determine if a business is a restaurant (not a bar or tavern) if it makes a certain percentage of its revenue from food and not from alcohol sales. The typical amount to be determined a restaurant is less than 50%. If the business makes more than 50% of its revenue from alcohol sales it is a riskier business and is thus places in a riskier classification code. This causes the business to be charged a higher premium for commercial insurance. The next main factor that impacts a restaurants rate for commercial insurance is whether the restaurant offers alcohol or not at all. If the business does not offer alcohol at all, they obviously eliminate the risk of intoxicated customers. This lowers the most costly risk a bar tavern or restaurant faces.  Also, an additional factor in the amount of premium is if the business does offer alcohol, whether or not the business offers hard alcohol or just beer and wine. Hard alcohol causes intoxication at a faster rate, because of this the business is more likely to have problems related to alcohol consumption.

Picture of a bar or tavern.

Hours of Operation

Aside from alcohol consumption the next largest risk that faces Bars, Taverns and Restaurant is the hours of operation. There is much less risk in a diner open from 6:00 AM –  1:00 PM, compared to a bar that serves no food and stays open until 2:00 AM 7 days a week. The latter might carry a few more risks that might turn in to insurance claims. Because of this risk the business is going to pay more in premium for their commercial insurance. Limiting these risks before they turn in to insurance claims can save your business immensely over the long term.

Picture of a table with breakfast food and a laptop.

Types of Coverage for Bars, Taverns and Restaurant

Most insurance carriers have business owner’s packages designed specifically for Bars, Taverns and Restaurants. Here are some common coverages you will find included in those packages.

  • General Liability
  • Liquor Liability
  • Commercial Property
  • Business Personal Property
  • Workers Compensation
  • Business Income and Expense Coverage
  • Commercial Crime Coverage
  • Umbrella Coverage

General Liability Insurance covers a business for common slips and falls that happen on the property, Liquor Liability is required by law in most states and the amount of coverage is usually determined by the amount and type of alcohol a restaurant serves. Commercial Property Insurance covers damages to the building and most fixtures attached to the building. Workers’ Compensation is required by law in nearly every state and is coverage to prevent lawsuits for injuries that occur to your employees as part of normal business operations. Business Income and Expense Coverage is an addition to a Commercial Property Policy and will cover your business for loss of revenue due to being closed after damage to your premises. Commercial Crime Coverage will cover your business for crimes committed by your employees while acting on behalf of the company.  Umbrella Coverage is designed to extend the limits of existing policies when those limits have been met. It is important to note that Umbrella Policies only kick in on top of other existing policies. If the cause of the damage is not a covered peril than the Umbrella Policy will not be activated.

 

Below is a list of all the classification codes that might be included as a Restaurant, Bar or Tavern.

Business ISO General Liability:

  • Code: 16920- Restaurant- alcohol sales >75%- Table service, dance floor
  • Code: 16921- Restaurant- alcohol sales >75%- No table service, but dance floor
  • Code: 16930- Restaurant- alcohol sales >75%- Table service, no dance floor
  • Code: 16931- Restaurant- alcohol sales >75%- No table service, no dance floor
  • Code: 16940- Restaurant- alcohol sales >75%- Bar service only, with dance floor
  • Code: 16941- Restaurant- alcohol sales >75%- Bar service only, no dance floor

NCCI Class Codes:

  • 9082 – Traditional Restaurant.
  • 9083 – Fast Food Restaurant
  • 9058 – Restaurants owned or operated in a hotel.
  • 9084 – Restaurant who receives more than 50% of their revenue from the sale of alcohol.

 

 

What is a Ghost Policy?

Have you heard the term Ghost Policy?

It is typically referred to in regards to workers compensation insurance.  A Ghost Insurance Policy is a term used to describe a specific type of workers’ compensation insurance policy. This type of policy is issued to individual business owners that have no direct coverage value. It can be a great policy for small contractors and subcontractors who have no employees or subcontractors.

Ghost Policy

What is a Ghost Policy?

A Ghost Policy is a minimum earned premium policy. A policy of this nature commonly costs between $750 and $1000 annually. This is depending on the state the policy is issued and several factors related to the industry the business operates.  One major difference from a traditional workers comp policy is that a Ghost Insurance Policy has no payroll calculated into the premium.  It also excludes all owners from the policy.  This is where the term “Ghost”comes from.  Now the premium will vary by carrier and includes the state expense constant, There are minimum premium amounts required to administer a policy.

Why might someone want a Ghost Policy?

While many business owners might think it is a waste of money to purchase this type of a policy, but it may be a preferable alternative to going without coverage for a number of reasons.  A Ghost Policy enables a business owner to have a certificate of insurance issued.  Many contracts require a certificate of insurance in order to secure financing and to do business legally in many states.  In addition, a Ghost Insurance Policy can cost a fraction compared to a policy including the owner. Also, in most cases, a Ghost Policy provides employer liability protection in the event an employee is hired or a payment is made to an uninsured subcontractor. Uninsured Subcontractors are especially important to protect your self and your business from, even if you only interact with subcontractors infrequently. Trusting that a subcontractor is self insured is a good way to get your business in to a situation no business owner wants to be in.

Ghost policies don’t provide coverage, so why would I want one?

The biggest reason small contractor or subcontractors benefits from a Ghost Insurance Policy is to meet state legal requirements or to provide a certificate of insurance to another client or general contractor. Many other businesses, customers, and other contractors require an independent contractor to provide a certificate of insurance in order to enter into a contract with them. The fact that the business does not hire employees is inconsequential to them. They want to have a certificate of insurance in place to make sure they are not held liable for damages or bodily injury that occur within the contract. Many independent contractors do not employ any other people.  These contractors want to prevent high workers compensation premiums just to cover themselves with traditional comp coverage. Unfortunately, in some states these contractors are required to show some proof of insurance coverage. In most instances, a Ghost Policy will help them meet these requirements the most cost effective way.

Residential Cleaning

How a Residential Cleaning Company Can Benefit From Pay as You Go Workers Comp

A Woman Working at a Residential Cleaning Company. Workers’ Compensation Insurance is required by law for businesses in most states. So is General Liability in most industries. For that reason, these two policies are the bare minimum coverage a business needs to be in business. Now for a cash-strapped, seasonal, or start-up business; coming up with the initial payment to get coverage in place can be difficult. Because of this issue, many carriers have come up with alternative payment options for these necessary coverages. The most popular alternative payment option is Pay as You Go Workers’ Compensation. One industry in particular that benefits from this option is the residential cleaning industry. Here are four ways residential cleaning companies benefit from choosing the Pay as You Go Option for Workers Comp Coverage.

  • Pay-as-You-Go has lower up-front costs.
  • Pay-as-You-Go frees up cash for more pressing business needs.
  • Pay-as-You-Go allows businesses to pay premium monthly.
  • Pay-as-You-Go prevents most audits

Residential Cleaning Companies depend upon their employees to keep their customers happy.

Lower Up Front Costs

When a cleaning company decides to go with a traditional workers compensation policy, they are required to make a large lump sum payment just to get coverage in place. They later have to make nine monthly payments at the end of the term. These payments are based upon an estimate of payroll from last year. If your business has plenty of cash on hand and your employee hours are regular from year to year this may not be much of a problem. Most residential cleaning companies do not have regular payroll or mounds of cash on hand. If this sounds like your business than the Pay as You Go Option is a great way to get coverage in place without tying up too much cash.

Frees Up Cash

Now if you are a business that is not rolling in cash, you may need to consider the Pay as You Go Option.  This type of alternative payment method for workers comp coverage allows you to not only lower your up front costs, but it allows you to free up cash throughout the year by paying your premium in real-time each month based upon the accurate payroll from the previous month. This is instead of paying premium based upon an estimate of payroll from last year or the three previous years. This estimate can cause you to severely over or under-pay on premium.

Allows Monthly Payments

Allowing payments of premium each month can help your business in many ways. One of the best ways it helps is by keeping your payments accurate from paying them in real-time. When workers comp premiums are paid on an estimate basis, it can cause you to severely under or over-pay throughout the year. This gets cleared up whenever an audit takes place and an audit takes place at the end of each term, but if you under pay throughout the year it can cause your business to have a surprise payment at the end of the term. Even if you are one of the lucky businesses who over-pays and gets a refund at the end of the term, you still have had additional cash tied up in premium payments throughout the year. This is cash that could have been spent on more pressing needs.

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Prevent Audits

An additional benefit your residential cleaning business can gain from choosing the Pay as You Go Option is to prevent audits mid-term. Because the payroll is calculated monthly by a payroll company it is accurate. This eliminates the need for a mid term audit because the payroll company is auditing the premium payment each month. The Pay as You Go Option also makes the end of term audit much more smooth because the payments have been done based on actual payroll each month. Your staff will spend less time gathering data to compare your actual payroll with the estimated payroll and premium payments based on that estimate. If you have ever underpaid premium and owed a significant amount at the end of the term, you appreciate the accuracy this program provides.

Relief is on the way for Missouri Businesses

On Friday December, 15th; The Missouri Department of Insurance announced it is recommending a 3% decrease in workers compensation insurance loss costs for 2018.  This decrease comes on top of a 4% decrease that took effect in August of this year.

State of Missouri Flag celebrating a decrease in workers compensation insurance premium for 2018.

According to a release from the department of insurance, the decrease is driven by declining lost-time claim frequencies combined with stable average claim costs.  According to a statement from Department of Insurance Director Chlora Lindley-Myers, “Missouri’s lost-time claim frequency has fallen since 2010, and average claim costs have stayed steady for the past several years,”  This means the average claim cost is lower than in years past and the frequency of claims has gone down in recent years.  Additionally, this will be the fourth consecutive year of declining comp rates in the state, according to a department statement.

Relief is on the way for Missouri businesses in the form of a decrease on workers compensation insurance premium in 2018.

Under Missouri law, insurance carriers are not required to follow the recommendations of the state or that of The national Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI).  Insurers may set their own rates based on NCCI’s recommendations, the department’s recommendations or their own analysis. In order to remain competitive, most insurers offering coverage in the state will change rates accordingly for most class codes.  Now this does not necessarily apply to businesses across all class codes. Some businesses may see larger decreases depending upon the appetite of the carrier to quote that particular coverage and industry. If your business operates in a high risk industry, the decrease may not apply or may be a smaller amount.

 

Accounting Firms

Businesses in the accounting industry have unique risks that only they face. For this reason, you need to partner with an insurance agent who is comfortable working with businesses in this industry. Slips, trips, and falls do not cause a large problem to this industry because the employees do not move around a lot and there is limited interaction with the public.  Repetitive injury like carpal tunnel and back problems can arise from long periods of time sitting at a desk.

Accounting

Bigger risk arise from the fact that you are interacting with individuals and businesses private sensitive financial documents. These risks are typically low in frequency, but can most definitely be severe if the wrong information falls into the wrong hands. Additional risks arise from the fact that accounting businesses are providing professional advice and services. Because of the enormous amount of risk in all of these areas of the business, it is important to get an all encompassing insurance package. Consulting with an experienced independent insurance agent is always the best way to know for sure you are getting the most comprehensive coverage at rock bottom prices.  Here are TKTK Insurance policies all accounting services firms should strongly consider.

 

Coverages Recommended for Accounting Professionals:

✓ General Liability Insurance
✓ Professional Liability Insurance (E&O)
✓ Hired and Non-Owned Auto
✓ Workers Compensation Insurance
✓ Employee Dishonesty Bond

General Liability Insurance

In most states, this coverage is required by law to be in business. For this reason, most business owners start with this coverage and workers compensation insurance.  The risk of a General Liability claim is minimal since most operations are not conducted on the businesses property and most of the client contact is electronic or by mail. When clients do visit the office, they should be kept separate from the main office area in an attempt to prevent them from hearing conversations regarding other clients’ confidential information. Off-premises exposures arise when employees are engaged in sales visits, training sessions, and physical audits at the customer’s premises. There should be policies and training as to off-site conduct by employees.

Professional Liability Coverage

 

The risk factors accounting services businesses face in relation to Professional Liability Coverage include the services the business provides, the firm’s credentials, the employees experience as well as the ratio of professional to clerical employees. Failure to conduct thorough background checks to verify credentials and education can pose a significant risk. In some circumstances it can cause a claim not to be covered. The risk of E&O claims increase if clerical workers are allowed to do tasks that only the professionals should handle and if error checking procedures are inadequate. Most carriers have plans in place for you to follow if you do not already have such plans in place.

Hired and Non-Owned Auto Insurance

Risks associated with automobiles are generally limited to hired and non-owned auto insurance. This is because most accounting businesses do not have a need to buy vehicles specifically for business purposes. However, many employees probably do use their personal vehicles for business purposes to visit clients facilities. In these situations, there should be clear procedures in place regarding personal use by employees and their family members. The age, training, experience, and records of each driver, as well as age, condition, and maintenance of the vehicles, are all important items to consider if your business needs a commercial auto policy.

Workers Compensation Coverage

Workers compensation is a form of liability insurance required for employers in 48 out of 50 states. This type of insurance compensates injured workers for lost wages and medical costs while giving business owners the peace of mind to know they will not be sued for accidents that occur as part of normal operating procedures. Accounting firms don’t typically have a hard time finding affordable workers compensation coverage because of the light physical duty of the industry.  Repetitive injuries like carpal tunnel are the most severe type of risk employees face.  Offering adequate chairs and even desk that allow employees to stand for part of the day are a worthy investment.

Employee Dishonesty Bond

There are two main types of criminal insurance related to employee dishonesty. The two types of coverage that a business can purchase to prevent losses related to the criminal activity committed by your employees are Commercial Crime Insurance and a Fidelity Bond.  A Fidelity Bond is a form of insurance that covers losses resulting from employee dishonesty. This can help cover any lost money or securities that result from an employee’s dishonest acts. A Fidelity Bond is meant to act as a security against potential fraudulent employees or disgruntled employees.  A Commercial Crime Insurance Policy is typically designed to meet the needs of organizations other than financial institutions (such as banks). A commercial crime policy typically provides several different types of crime coverage like: employee dishonesty, forgery, computer fraud, funds transfer fraud, kidnap, etc. Both of these policies will cover losses due to the actions of your employees. If you are not sure which type is best for you it is always best to consult with an experienced independent insurance agent to make sure you are properly covered.

 

Class Codes ASSOCIATED WITH THE ACCOUNTING INDUSTRY

Business Liability Category: Service Businesses

SIC Business Insurance Codes:

  • 8721: Accounting, Auditing and Bookkeeping Services
  • 7291: Tax Return Preparation Services

NAICS Liability Classifications:

  • 541211: Offices of Certified Public Accountants
  • 541213: Tax Preparation Services
  • 541214: Payroll Services
  • 541219: Other Accounting Services

Business ISO General Liability:

  • 41677: Accounting/Consulting

Common Workers Compensation Class Codes:

  • 8803: Accountant, Auditor; traveling
  • 8810: Clerical; office only