Polk County employers reported 1,285 worker injuries in 2019. Of these, nearly half were for workers in the construction, manufacturing, and transportation industries. As an employer in Lakeland, you can protect your company and your employees from financial losses due to workplace injuries with a solid worker's compensation insurance policy.
A local independent insurance agent can help you find the best and most affordable worker's compensation policy to cover your business. Find an insurance agent in Lakeland to start comparing customized quotes.
Is Worker's Compensation Insurance Required in Lakeland, FL?
In the state of Florida, the following types of employers are required by law to carry worker's compensation insurance:
- Construction businesses with at least one employee.
- Agricultural businesses with at least six regular employees, or twelve seasonal employees who work at least 30 days out of the year.
- All other businesses with at least four employees, with corporate officers and LLC members included 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 your company being issued a Stop-Work Order and a fine equal to two times what you would have paid for coverage over the previous two years, or $1,000, whichever is higher. The Stop-Work Order will remain in effect until your company has purchased coverage and paid all assessed fines.
How Much Does Worker’s Comp Insurance Cost in Lakeland, FL?
Worker's compensation rates are based primarily on your company’s overall payroll, your claims history, and the types of jobs your employees do.
Each specific job is given a classification code, and base rates for each class code are assigned and regulated by the Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation according to how dangerous the jobs are.
Commercial insurers use these base rates as a starting point, but they can stay competitive by lowering costs at their discretion through discounts, incentives, and credits. That is why comparison shopping can pay off with money-saving opportunities for your business.
Base rate examples
The following are samples of base rates paid per every $50,000 in employee payroll for three very different jobs that can be found in Lakeland, FL:
- Package and parcel delivery person: $5,690 a year
- Air conditioner repair and service worker: $2,715 a year
- Retail store worker: $780 a year
As you can see, rates can vary significantly from one type of job to another. A delivery person for FedEx or Amazon can suffer a back injury while lifting boxes or could be hurt in a vehicle accident. These workers are far more likely to need expensive medical attention than a cashier at a local Publix grocery store, and rates for coverage reflect this.
Find out how much it will cost to insure your Lakeland business by consulting a local independent agent.
What Are Some Ways to Earn Discounts on Coverage in Lakeland?
As mentioned earlier, private insurers are permitted to use base rates as a starting point and offer discounts and incentives from there. You may be able to save a significant amount of money by engaging in the following practices:
- Provide safety training to employees: A workplace safety program that meets Florida’s guidelines can qualify businesses for a discount of up to 2% off their worker's compensation coverage. Eligibility for this discount must be renewed annually.
- Make your company a drug-free workplace: Florida businesses that enforce a drug-free workplace through periodic drug testing at the employer’s expense can qualify for a discount of up to 5% off their worker's compensation coverage.
- Maintain a solid history of employee safety: Companies that have spent at least $10,000 in worker's compensation insurance over the previous two years qualify for experience modifiers. An experience modification factor can significantly lower their cost for coverage if their record of employee safety compares favorably with other similar businesses. On the other hand, 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 top-rated insurance companies so that you can be sure you are buying your coverage from the provider that offers you the best discounts.
Lakeland Worker's Compensation Pays for Medical Treatment
Medical costs for work-related injuries and occupational illnesses can be quite expensive. In 2019, the average amount of worker's compensation insurance that companies paid for medical treatment per worker injury in Polk county was $16,984.
Employees are to pay nothing out-of-pocket for their medical treatment if they are injured while doing their jobs. Worker's compensation is designed to cover all associated costs, including ambulance rides, hospital stays, doctor appointments, follow-up care, prescription medications, devices like crutches or slings when needed, and physical therapy.
Worker's compensation insurance can also reimburse employees for their mileage to and from medical appointments. Terms for this coverage, as well as reimbursement rates, are set by each insurance company individually.
Lakeland Worker's Compensation Insurance Provides Disability Coverage
Disability benefits are designed to cover a large portion of an employee’s lost wages if they need to take more than seven consecutive days to recuperate from a work-related injury or an occupational illness. There are different types of disability:
- Total temporary disability (TTD): This applies when an employee is unable to work during the time it takes to recuperate from a work-related injury or occupational illness.
- Partial temporary disability (PTD): This applies when an employee is approved for light-duty or part-time work while recovering from a work-related injury or occupational illness.
- Total permanent disability (TPD): This applies when an employee’s injury is so severe that they are unable to ever work again in any capacity.
- Partial permanent disability (PPD): This applies when an employee’s injury leaves them unable to do the job they previously held, but able to hold employment in a different type of job.
For both temporary and permanent disability, worker's compensation insurance can pay a bi-weekly benefit of two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly wages. Disability benefits can be paid until the employee is able to return to work.
Partial temporary disability recipients will receive compensation in an amount of two-thirds of the difference in pay between what they had been earning and what they are earning on light duty.
For total disability cases, the injured worker can receive compensation until they reach the age of 75. These workers are entitled to annual cost-of-living increases until they reach the age of 62.
In the case of partial permanent disability, TTD payments will continue until the employee reaches their maximum level of improvement. At that time, they will be compensated with PPD payments in an amount and for a duration that is commensurate with the nature and severity of their injury.
Weekly disability benefits cannot exceed the state’s 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.
Lakeland Worker's Compensation Covers Fatal Work Injuries
If an employee dies as the result of a work-related accident or occupational illness, worker's compensation insurance can help to ease the burden on surviving family members by providing them with financial compensation.
Worker's compensation insurance can cover up to $7,500 of the employee’s burial costs. Additionally, it will offer educational benefits to the employee’s spouse and can provide dependents with bi-weekly benefits of two-thirds of the employee’s average wage for up to a maximum of $150,000.
Learn more about worker's compensation death benefits by talking with a local insurance agent.
Where Can Lakeland Business Owners Buy Worker's Compensation Insurance?
Lakeland business owners can purchase their worker's compensation insurance through any of the various commercial providers that are licensed to provide this coverage in the state of Florida.
If your business is very high-risk and you cannot find an insurance company that will cover you, you can obtain coverage through the state-administered fund. These policies will cost a lot more than they would through a private insurer, but are 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 where members pool their resources to cover their liabilities. To qualify, you must be able to demonstrate that your company has the financial strength to handle self-insuring.
Most small businesses in Florida purchase coverage through a commercial provider.
Why Work with an Independent Insurance Agent in Lakeland, FL?
If you are looking for the best worker's compensation policy for your Lakeland business, a local independent agent can help.
These experienced agents can match you up with an insurance company that specializes in covering businesses like yours. Your agent can also help you be sure that you are getting your policy at a competitive price by obtaining a variety of customized quotes on your behalf.
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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