What is workers compensation insurance?
No matter how many safety precautions are followed in the workplace, unexpected accidents happen and employees can become ill due to workplace conditions. Workers compensation insurance, sometimes referred to as workman's comp or workers comp, helps protect both employees and employers if someone is injured on the job or develops a work-related illness.
The Markel Specialty workers compensation policy provides benefits for:
- Lost wages and benefits
- Medical care and rehabilitation services
- Legal representation and compliance services
- Funeral expenses
Examples of workplace injuries that could be covered by workers comp insurance include injuries from lifting heavy objects, slipping and falling, or exposure to chemicals or fires. The injury or illness must have occurred due to a work-related event in order for workers compensation benefits to apply.
Who needs workers compensation insurance?
In almost every state, there are laws requiring certain types of businesses to carry workers compensation insurance. Since it can be expensive and time-consuming to determine whether an injured employee or the employer is “at fault” in a workplace accident, workers compensation laws provide a consistent and fair way to handle the costs and compensation of work-place injuries and occupational diseases.
Laws in most states require workers compensation once a business has reached a certain number of employees. Talk to a Markel Specialty insurance agent for advice on the laws in your state. If a business does not carry the required coverages, they could face fines or penalties for breaking state law.
Learn more about workers compensation insurance
How much does workers compensation cost?
The cost of workers compensation coverage varies based on a variety of factors, such as the state that the business is located in, average payroll, number of employees, and type of business. It is important for businesses to accurately represent payroll totals so that the right amount of coverage can be provided. Premium audits are regularly performed by insurance companies to make sure that the employer is not paying too much or too little for their coverage.
Markel Specialty offers PayGo payroll reporting as a billing option. This automated payment solution allows business owners to pay their workers compensation premiums based on actual payroll, not estimated. This helps to manage the risk of a potentially large audit premium.
Find a local agent near you to get a quote for Markel Specialty workers compensation insurance.
How does workers compensation insurance work?
Workers compensation is paid by the business owner or employer because it protects the business from being sued if an injury or illness occurs as a result of employment. Workers compensation insurance costs are not shared between the employer and employee, like some health insurance costs are.
There are two central parts to the workers compensation agreement:
- No matter who is at fault, the cost of the injury is always charged to the employer. This avoids the need for lengthy court proceedings.
- The workers comp benefits are the only benefits the employee can receive from the employer. In other words, the injured employee cannot sue the employer for more money.
A workers compensation policy provides the employer with two types of coverage:
- Workers compensation pays the compensation and other benefits required by each state’s workers compensation laws.
- Employers liability covers the employer for legally obligated sums, subject to policy limits.
Why does the employer need employers liability insurance? Because workers compensation does not cover all employment situations. There are also exempt employments, illegal employments, and non-compensable injuries. An employee who falls into one of these categories may sue the employer directly.
How are workers compensation claims handled?
Markel Specialty understands the needs and wants of small business owners. We train our claims professionals to recognize the unique obstacles that a workplace injury can bring to a small business so they can help educate our policyholders to make the claims process as smooth as possible.
Each claims examiner is specifically trained in their specific state's laws and procedures. This allows the examiner to create claim resolution strategies for each individual state. This expertise allows us to better serve our policyholders in each state.
Markel Specialty's workers compensation claims staff includes specialized units and features that help injured or ill workers recover quickly and return to work safely.
- Dedicated catastrophic claims unit - for severe and complex claims
- Special investigation unit - to protect against fraudulent claims
- Prescription management program - a fast and convenient way to pay for prescriptions, billed directly to Markel Specialty
- Medical bill cost management program - to reduce unfounded and unnecessary charges and maintain low medical costs
- Medical case management - to provide on-the-ground care for severe and complex injuries
What is not covered by workers comp insurance?
To receive workers compensation benefits, the injury or illness must have occurred due to a work-related event. If an employee is injured outside of their normal work duties, such as during their commute to work, these injuries would not be covered by the workers comp policy.
Other common exclusions include intentional injuries, injuries due to intoxication or substance abuse, or voluntary recreational activities at work. Be sure to read the entire policy and talk to an insurance agent to understand what is covered.
Do sole proprietors need workers compensation insurance?
Sole proprietors may not need to carry workers compensation insurance if they have no employees, depending on the state they are doing business in. But if a sole proprietor has people that do work for them, even if they don't pay them with a W-2 form, they may be considered an employee according to the law. Be sure to check the state regulations specifically for sole proprietors, because laws can vary by state.
What are the workers comp laws in my state?
State laws define which types of workers are covered by a workers compensation policy. Certain types of employees such as seasonal workers, contractors, and volunteers may not be covered in some states. Be sure to read the policy documents and talk a local insurance agent to understand the limitations of any policy.
How is workers compensation insurance different than liability insurance?
While workers compensation protects a business if they are liable for an injury or illness that an employee is faced with, other types of liability insurance protect the business if they are sued by other people – such as a client, a neighboring business, or a visitor to the workplace. Learn more about commercial general liability insurance and professional liability insurance to understand what coverages are available to small businesses.
Learn more about Markel Specialty's claim handling processes, or conveniently file a claim by phone, email or fax.
Learn about how you can report an injury, find a medical provider, or get pharmacy services.
Read about Markel Specialty's premium audit process, or contact an Audit Specialist.
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Talk to your local agent to find out how affordable Markel Specialty's protection can be for your business.