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.

California Workers Compensation Rates 2019

Prices are Declining for California Workers Compensation Rates in 2019 

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

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

What is contributing to Lower California Workers Compensation Rates 2019?

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

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

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.

 

Workers Compensation Insurance in California

What makes the Workers’ Compensation Insurance System in California unique?

California Workers' Compensation Insurance

 

California is currently the most expensive state in the country for employers workers compensation coverage. Rates throughout the state have continued to rise over the past 10 years. Much of the increased costs are caused by the rising costs of medical coverage and state laws.

State law, like in most states, requires all employers to provide workers compensation coverage to all employees of a particular company.  Failure to purchase workers comp coverage is a criminal offense in California. Employers may receive a fine of $10,000 or more and up to a year in a county jail.  It is also illegal for any employer to pay a medical bill directly to the provider. A claim form (DWC Form 1) must be filed with the insurance company for any injury requiring more than first aid care.

San Francisco, California

As you may know, California has the largest economy of any state in the United States.  This brings an extraordinary amount of businesses to the state who have an extraordinary need for commercial insurance.  Because the states mandates that employers carry workers comp coverage there is a lot of competition to quote the coverage of those businesses.  In most cases this increased competition would bring the cost of the coverage down, but not in the case of workers compensation insurance.  The main factors driving prices up in the state of California are the state regulations that many would say favor the worker over employers.

According to the Insurance Journal there are steps being taken to curb the increase in workers compensation costs throughout the state of California:

“Claim frequency, claim administration and high medical costs are typically among the drivers of high workers’ comp rates. However, the state in 2012 passed a massive workers’ comp reform law, which according to its supporters seems to be working.

California’s Workers’ Compensation Rating Bureau earlier this month submitted a pure premium rate filing to the California Department of Insurance proposing Jan. 1, 2017 advisory pure premium rates lower than the corresponding industry average.

The WCIRB submitted a rate filing that averaged $2.22 per $100 of payroll, citing in part legislative changes made this year that the bureau believes could help reduce costs. Senate Bill 1160 and Assembly Bill 1244 are both designed to remove medical providers convicted of fraud from the system and prevent them from filing liens.”

Additionally, a lot of business owners in California assume workers compensation is similar regardless of the carrier. Depending upon the industry you are in and the scope of the work you do within that industry, coverages can vary dramatically.  The cost of coverage for the same classification codes can vary significantly between carriers. This is because the appetites for certain industries and types of coverage change from year to year and carrier to carrier. For example, after Hurricane Katrina many insurance carriers were very conservative when offering homeowners or hurricane insurance throughout the coastal areas in the southeast.  This was because of the damaging amount of claims the carriers had to pay out as a result of this damaging storm.

At some independent insurance agencies, they take the work out of finding an insurance company with quality coverage and affordable rates. They do this by being able to quote you coverage from several carriers as opposed to just one or a select few.  In short, they shop the insurance so you don’t have to. Partnering with a good independent insurance agent with whom you trust and speaking candidly with them about your business can go a long way towards saving on workers compensation insurance in California.

Santa Monica, California

California Business Owners Trying to Avoid Workers Compensation Insurance

California has the most expensive workers’ compensation rates in the United States.  California Workers Compensation premiums can be so expensive that business owners try to find creative ways to avoid paying workers compensation insurance for their employee labor.  The common practice is turning employees into 1099 contractors with the thought that since they are no longer employees the business owner is no longer responsible for workers comp.  Business owners have to be very careful when doing this.  State Compensation Fund sends a document with all of their quotes defining a true Independent Contractor vs a 1099 that is technically an employee.  Some of the determining factors laid out by SCIF to determine if the 1099 is an employee or an Independent Contractor:

  • Does the business have the right to direct and control? If yes, 100% Employee.
  • If the trade requires a license, Independent Contractor must have their own license. Employees use the business owner’s license to complete the work.
  • Who provides the instruments/tools to perform the work?
  • Has the Independent Contractor chosen the burdens/benefits of self-employment?

Another commonly used band aid business owners try to implement to avoid paying california workers compensation insurance premiums for employees is to give the employees a percentage of ownership then exclude them from coverage by having them sign the appropriate exclusion form.  California business owners commonly give employees 1% ownership then exclude them from coverage to avoid paying workers compensation insurance.  The state of CA has passed a new law effective 01/01/2017 that now requires a minimum ownership percentage before a CA business owner can qualify to be excluded from workers’ compensation insurance.  Effective 01/01/2017 California business owners must own at least 15% of Corporate stock to qualify to be excluded.  If a business owner meets the 15% minimum, they must sign the appropriate workers’ compensation exclusion form and file it with the insurance company.

All existing Corporations with a workers’ compensation policy must sign a new exclusion form with their insurance company by 01/01/2017.  Otherwise the insurance carrier must INCLUDE the business owner from 01/01/2017 until a new exclusion form is signed and filed with the insurance provider.  It’s best to circle back to your insurance agent to gather the updated exclusion form.  If your insurance agent is not aware of this rule change or how to solve the problem, look for another agent such as myself.  Workers Compensation Insurance is typically your biggest insurance expense, you deserve an agent that understands this type of insurance.

7 questions to consider when renewing or purchasing a Workers Comp Quote.

When should I start looking into getting competitive Workers Comp Quotes?

For a new business this should be before you hire your first employee. Depending on the state you are operating in, the type of business you run and the amount of employees you plan to hire; it is required by law in most states to have workers compensation coverage in place before employees start working. If you are an existing business you should start shopping for new coverage approximately 90 days before your policy ends. This gives the agents and carriers you are quoting with enough time to accurately assess your business and find the best coverage at the best price possible for your business.

Why should I shop around for Workers Comp Quotes?

Unfortunately insurance carriers are not as forgiving to customers who have been a customer of theirs for several years. In an ideal world carriers would reward businesses for sticking with one carrier for several years. In reality only a few carriers operate this way and finding ones that do gets more difficult every year. This is because carriers appetites change from year to year for certain industries and particular coverages. Shopping around to make sure your premium is competitive, is something a business owner should do just about every year. That is not to say you should switch carriers every year for only a small difference in premium, but you should have the information at hand to at the very least negotiate better prices on premium with your carrier. Choosing an insurance agency who partners with multiple carriers and not just a select few can save you a lot of time finding multiple options.

Are there any costs involved with getting workers comp quotes?

No, simply getting a quote doe snot carry a charge except for the time it takes you to contact agencies and fill out the necessary paperwork to get a quote. Partnering with an independent agency instead of an agent who woks with one or a few carriers can speed up this process.

Are there any other payment options?

Yes, some agencies offer Pay as You Go Billing for both workers compensation and general liability coverage. This tends to be a good option for cash strapped and seasonal companies. With a typical Pay as You Go Policy you can get policy initiated for a small amount of money and then pay your premium monthly based upon the payroll each month. With a traditional workers’ compensation program, 25% of the total premium is due at the beginning of the term and then there are 9 monthly payments that are estimated from past years payroll. Pay as You Go prevents over or under paying because payments are based upon this years payroll and not an estimate. For most business this frees up cash for more immediate business needs.

What are your state rules and regulations for coverage?

Workers’ Compensation coverage is left up to being regulated by each individual states. In 48 out of 50 states it is required by state law for most businesses. There are exceptions to this requirement based upon how many employees you have and what industry you operate in. The Department of Labor has a list of websites for each state where you can get the most up to date information about the requirements for your state.

Does workers’ compensation cover my family members?

If you have a family business whether or not those family members are covered by a standard workers’ compensation policy is determined by your industry, how your business is classified and the role of your family member in the business. Checking with your insurance professional and state department of insurance is the best place to determine if your family members are covered by your policy and in what degree.

Does workers comp cover sole proprietors, partners and corporate officers?

Most standard workers’ compensation policies can include sole proprietors, partners and corporate officers, but it depends upon the state regulations whether those groups are automatically included in coverage. In many policies it is required to ad those officers or partners to the policy in order for them to be covered. Some are required by law to be covered and some are not. Again it is crucial to bring this to the attention of your insurance professional and check with the proper state governing agency.