As an employer in Clearwater, Florida, you are expected to provide your employees with a safe and healthy work environment. Of course, even when all the proper safety protocols are being followed, accidental injuries and occupational illnesses sometimes occur.
Workers’ compensation insurance is designed to protect you and your employees by covering the associated medical treatments and compensating workers for lost wages.
Some workers’ compensation insurance companies are better suited than others to cover businesses in certain industries. A local independent insurance agent can help you find the best and most affordable coverage for your business. Find an insurance agent in Clearwater to learn more.
Is Workers’ Compensation Insurance Required in Clearwater, FL?
Employers in Clearwater must maintain compliance with Florida state laws regarding workers’ compensation insurance. In this state, you are required to carry workers’ comp insurance if you meet any of the following criteria:
- You have a construction business with at least one employee.
- You have an agricultural business with at least six regular employees or twelve seasonal employees who work at least 30 days out of the year.
- You have any other type of business with at least four employees, including corporate officers and LLC members in the employee count.
It is not necessary to purchase coverage for sole proprietors, LLC members, or partners in non-construction businesses, but you can if you want to.
Failure to meet the state’s requirements for carrying coverage can result in fines equal to two times what you would have paid for coverage over the previous two years or $1,000, whichever is higher. Your company can also be given a Stop-Work Order which will remain in effect until you have purchased coverage and paid all assessed fines.
How Much Does Workers' Comp Insurance Cost in Clearwater, FL?
The cost of workers’ compensation coverage is based on your company’s overall payroll, your claims history, and the types of work your employees do.
Each specific type of job is assigned a classification code, and rates for each class code are regulated by the Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation according to how dangerous the jobs are.
Commercial insurers use these rates as a starting point and can raise or lower rates accordingly based on safety records, discounts, incentives, and experience modifiers.
Base rate examples
The following are samples of base rates paid per every $50,000 in employee payroll for some common jobs in Clearwater, FL:
- Landscaping services: $3,960/year
- Residential cleaning services: $2,720/year
- Sales professionals: $175/year
As you can see, these rates can vary significantly from one job to another. This is because the guy who is laying down mulch in your yard is more likely to be hurt on the job than the one who is trying to sell you the latest iPhone.
What Are Some Ways to Earn Discounts on Coverage in Clearwater?
As mentioned earlier, private insurers are not required to stick strictly to the base rates published by the state. Instead, they use these rates as a starting point and go from there. You may be able to save a significant amount of money by engaging in the following practices:
- Implement a workplace safety program: A program that meets Florida’s safety program requirements can make your company eligible to receive a discount of up to 2% off your workers’ compensation coverage. This discount must be renewed annually.
- Set up your company as a drug-free workplace: In Florida, companies that maintain a drug-free workplace, enforced by periodic drug testing at the employer’s expense, can qualify for a discount of up to 5% on their workers’ compensation coverage.
- Maintaining a solid safety history: Companies that qualify for experience modifiers can significantly lower their cost for coverage if their record of employee safety compares favorably with other businesses in similar fields. Conversely, if your employees are being injured at a greater than expected rate, your experience modifier can result in higher costs for coverage.
A local independent insurance agent can help you review costs from several insurance companies so that you can buy coverage from the one that offers you the best discounts.
Clearwater Workers’ Compensation Pays for Medical Treatments
All employers are required by law to post a workers’ compensation notice at every work site so that employees are aware of their rights and the procedures for getting compensation for injuries.
If a worker is injured, they can begin the workers’ compensation claims process by reporting their injury to a supervisor.
Workers’ compensation is designed to cover all costs associated with treatment for work-related injuries and occupational illnesses including ambulance rides, hospital stays, medical appointments, follow-up care, prescribed medications, devices like crutches or slings when needed, and physical therapy. Employees should pay nothing out of pocket.
Workers’ compensation insurance can also reimburse employees for their mileage to and from medical appointments. Reimbursement rates are set by each insurance company individually.
Clearwater Workers’ Compensation Insurance Provides Disability Coverage
Disability benefits are designed to cover a large portion of an employee’s lost wages if they must take more than seven consecutive days to recuperate. There are different types of disability:
- Total temporary disability: This is when an employee is temporarily unable to work at all while recuperating from an injury or occupational illness.
- Partial temporary disability: This is when an employee is approved for light duty or part-time work while recovering from an injury or occupational illness.
- Total permanent disability: This is when an employee’s injury is so severe that the injured employee is, and will remain, unable to work in any capacity.
- Partial permanent disability: This is when an employee is injured in such a way that they can still work but they must attain a different kind of job in order to do so.
For both temporary and permanent disability, workers’ compensation insurance can pay a bi-weekly benefit of two-thirds the employee’s average weekly wages.
This benefit cannot exceed the designated maximum payment, which as of January 1, 2021, is $1,011 per week. Maximum benefit amounts are updated annually according to the average weekly wages in the state.
Disability benefits can be paid until the employee is able to return to work. For total disability cases, the injured worker can receive compensation until they reach the age of 75.
Clearwater Workers’ Compensation Covers Fatal Work Injuries
Tragically, worker injuries are sometimes fatal. These accidental deaths are extremely hard on the employee’s loved ones. Workers’ compensation insurance seeks to ease the burden on surviving family members by providing them with some financial compensation.
If a work injury or occupation illness results in death, workers’ compensation can cover up to $7,500 for the employee’s burial costs. Additionally, it will offer the employee’s spouse education benefits and can provide the employee’s dependents with bi-weekly benefits of two-thirds of the deceased employee's average wage for up to a maximum of $150,000.
Learn more about workers’ compensation death benefits by talking with a local insurance agent.
Where Can Clearwater Business Owners Buy Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
In Florida, workers’ compensation insurance can be purchased through any of the many available commercial providers who are licensed to offer coverage in this state.
If your business is very high risk and you cannot find an insurance company that will cover you, you can obtain coverage through the Florida Workers Compensation Joint Underwriting Association (FWCJUA). Coverage through the FWCJUA will cost a lot more than through a private insurer but is available as a last resort option.
Alternatively, with approval, your business has the option to self-insure or to join a commercial self-insurance fund whose members pool their resources to cover their liabilities.
Most small businesses in Florida purchase coverage through a commercial provider.
Why Work with an Independent Insurance Agent in Clearwater, FL?
If you are an employer in Clearwater and you are looking for the best workers’ compensation insurance for your business, a local independent agent can help.
These agents can match you up with an insurance company that specializes in covering businesses like yours. Your agent can also ensure that you are getting your policy at a competitive price by helping you obtain and compare customized quotes.
Discover the many benefits of working with a local, independent insurance professional. Contact an insurance agent near you to get started.
TrustedChoice.com Article | Reviewed by Jeffrey Green
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