The economy in Chicopee revolves mainly around a mixture of small local businesses, national retail chains, and manufacturing plants, including Calloway Golf, maker of golf balls. Regardless of the type of business they work for, employees sometimes get injured on the job. Workers’ compensation insurance is designed to cover the associated costs.
Independent insurance agents in Chicopee can help you find the best and most affordable workers’ compensation policy to cover your business. Contact an insurance agent near you to learn more.
Is Workers’ Compensation Insurance Required in Chicopee, MA?
Nearly all Chicopee employers need to carry workers' compensation insurance. The state of Massachusetts mandates that all employers with at least one full-time or part-time worker must cover their employees with workers’ comp.
Exceptions are made for:
- Domestic servants who work fewer than 16 hours a week.
- Sole proprietors, partners, and LLC members who cannot also be considered employees.
Out-of-state employers are required to carry a workers’ compensation policy through a Massachusetts-licensed insurer.
Failure to carry this required coverage in Massachusetts is illegal and can result in fines and jail time for the company owners. Additionally, your company can be hit with a Stop Work order as well as fines of $100 a day until coverage is purchased and all fines are paid in full.
How Much Does Workers’ Compensation Insurance Cost in Chicopee?
Workers’ compensation rates in Massachusetts are some of the lowest in the country. This is great news for Chicopee business owners who are looking for an affordable policy.
Your costs will be calculated based mainly on your company’s overall payroll and how likely your employees are to be hurt on the job according to the types of jobs they do. Therefore, rates can vary significantly from one business to another.
Massachusetts is an Independent Bureau, state meaning it regulates its own workers' compensation rates outside of the NCCI. Every occupation is assigned a classification code, and coverage rates for each of these class codes are managed by the Workers’ Compensation Rating and Inspection Bureau of Massachusetts (WCRIBMA).
Insurance companies use these designated base rates when calculating costs, but are permitted to offer discounts and credits at their discretion so they can remain competitive. That is why shopping around for the best rate can save you money.
Base Rate Examples
The more likely a worker is to be seriously injured on the job, the higher the rates for their workers’ compensation insurance will be.
Let’s take a look at the average rates paid per every $50,000 in employee payroll for three very different jobs in Chicopee, MA:
- Masonry construction worker: $4,465 a year
- Lawn service and maintenance workers: $510 a year
- Clerical workers: $15 a year
As you can see, it costs far more to cover a construction worker than it does to cover a worker in an office setting because the risk of serious injury is much higher.
The only way to find out how much a workers’ compensation policy will cost for your business is to contact a few competing insurance companies and request customized quotes. A local independent insurance agent can do this on your behalf.
What Are Experience Modifiers and How Do They Work?
Experience modifiers (or experience mods) can raise or lower your insurance rates based on your company’s injury record as compared to other companies that operate in the same fields. Your experience modification factor will be updated annually.
In Massachusetts, your business will qualify for an experience modification factor if your company has spent more than $11,000 in premiums over the last two years. If your company qualifies for an experience modifier, it must be used when calculating your rates.
An experience modifier is a number ranging from 0 to 2. If your company’s safety record is comparable to the average record for businesses in your industry sector, your factor will be 1. If your safety record is better, it will be less than one, and if worse, it will be greater than 1.
Therefore, if your company has a very solid safety rating and your modification factor is .80, your company will be assessed at 80% of the base rate for each job. So, the base rate for a masonry construction worker would drop from $4,465 to $3,572.
Conversely, if your company’s safety record isn’t very good and you’ve experienced a few serious employee injuries in the past couple of years, your rating will be higher than 1. If your rating is 1.2 and you employ a masonry construction worker, your base rate will go from $4,465 to $5,358.
That is why maintaining a good safety record is so important.
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What Does Chicopee Workers’ Compensation Insurance Cover?
In Massachusetts, workers’ compensation insurance is designed to cover the various costs associated with on-the-job injuries and occupational illnesses. You can expect your policy to cover the following:
- Medical treatment: Workers’ compensation will cover all costs for necessary medical treatment related to occupational illnesses and injuries. This includes any associated follow-up care, medications, physical therapy, and other treatment. Except for emergency care, all initial treatment must be handled through an authorized treating physician, who has been designated by the employer and insurer. After that, employees can use the doctor of their choice.
- Travel reimbursement: Workers’ comp insurance can reimburse employees for miles driven to and from medical appointments and the pharmacy. In Massachusetts, mileage reimbursement rates are currently set at 45 cents per mile.
- Temporary total disability: If an employee needs more than six days to recuperate from a work-related injury, they will be able to collect a weekly benefit of 60% of their average pay until they can return to work. Employees are not paid for the first six days of disability unless their recuperation takes longer than 21 days. Benefits can last up to 156 weeks.
- Temporary partial disability: If an employee’s injury enables them to return to work but in a limited capacity, workers’ compensation can make up 75% of the difference in pay if they are earning less than they were in their job previously. This benefit can last for up to 260 weeks.
- Permanent disability: If a work-related injury is so severe that the injured worker will be unable to ever return to their job, workers’ compensation insurance can provide them with a weekly benefit of two-thirds of their average wage until they no longer considered disabled.
- Death benefits: If a work-related injury or illness is fatal, workers’ compensation can ease the financial burden on surviving family members by covering burial expenses and providing the employee’s spouse and dependents with two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly pay until the spouse remarries. If a spouse remarries, dependent children will receive $60 a week as long as they qualify as dependents.
Weekly disability benefits cannot exceed Massachusetts’ average weekly pay, which is reviewed and updated annually. As of October 1, 2020, the weekly maximum payment is $1,487.78.
You can learn more about workers’ compensation insurance by speaking with an independent insurance agent in Chicopee.
What Isn't Covered by Workers’ Compensation in Chicopee?
Insurance companies sometimes deny workers' compensation claims. This might happen if the incident in question is not covered. Examples of things that insurance companies in Massachusetts will not cover include:
- Injuries that occurred outside of working hours, such as at a company picnic.
- Injuries and illnesses that are related to preexisting conditions.
- Injuries that are deemed to have been intentionally self-inflicted.
- Injuries sustained while committing a crime.
- Injuries that occurred while the employee was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Injuries incurred by someone who was not an official employee of the company at the time of the accident.
If you believe your workers’ compensation claim was unjustly denied, you can appeal the decision by petitioning the Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents.
Where Can Chicopee Business Owners Purchase Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
Most businesses in Chicopee purchase their workers’ compensation insurance through a commercial provider.
Some companies that have very high-risk margins may find it impossible to find an insurance company willing to cover them. In this case, they can purchase coverage through the Workers’ Compensation Rating and Inspection Bureau of Massachusetts (WCRIBMA). These policies will cost more but offer guaranteed coverage.
Alternatively, your company may opt to self-insure. In order to self-insure, you will need to apply for approval and demonstrate that your company has the financial means to do so.
How to Find the Best Workers’ Compensation Insurance in Chicopee, MA
If you are looking for the ideal workers’ compensation policy to cover your Chicopee business, look no further than a local independent agent. These agents can help you obtain and review customized quotes from a selection of insurance providers that specialize in covering businesses in your industry. That way, you can be sure you are getting your coverage at a competitive price.
Discover how easy it can be to find an affordable workers’ compensation policy for your business. Contact an insurance agent near you to set up an obligation-free consultation.