The economy in Gulfport revolves mainly around tourism due to its white sand beaches, casinos, and entertainment venues. Gulfport is home to many businesses representing a wide range of industries. Regardless of the type of business, employees sometimes get injured on the job. Workers’ compensation insurance is designed to cover the associated costs.
If you are among the many employers in Gulfport, an independent insurance agent 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 Gulfport, MS?
Many Gulfport businesses need to have worker’s compensation insurance. The state of Mississippi mandates that if you have at least five regular employees, you must carry this insurance.
There are a few exceptions. You are not required to purchase coverage for domestic servants, farm laborers, federal employees, independent contractors, or employees of certain nonprofit organizations, though you can if you want to. If in doubt about whether you need to buy a policy, you can consult a local independent insurance agent.
Workers’ compensation insurance can be purchased through a commercial provider. Alternatively, your company may opt to self-insure, though you will need to apply for approval and demonstrate that you have the financial means to do so.
Knowingly and willingly failing to carry workers’ compensation insurance is illegal and can result in your being penalized with fines of up to $1,000, jail time, or both. If you do not have coverage and one of your employees is injured, the officers of your company may be required to cover the injured worker’s medical costs and lost wages out of their own pockets. In other words, it’s not worth the risk.
How Much Does Workers’ Compensation Insurance Cost in Gulfport?
Workers’ compensation costs are calculated based on how likely your employees are to be hurt on the job, based on the types of jobs they do. Therefore, rates can vary significantly from one industry to another.
Every occupation is assigned a classification code, and coverage rates for each of these class codes are regulated by the MS Workers’ Compensation Commission (WCC) and the MS Insurance Department. Insurance companies use these designated base rates when calculating costs, but can offer discounts of up to 25%. That’s why it pays to compare rates before making a purchase.
Let’s take a look at the average rates paid per every $100,000 in employee payroll for three of the top industries in Gulfport, MS:
- Arts, entertainment & recreation: $2,290
- Health care: $1,180 a year
- Accommodation & food services: $2,000 a year
A worker at a casino may be injured while breaking up a fight. A nurse at Memorial Hospital may be afflicted by a debilitating back injury while lifting a patient. A line cook at a diner may suffer a serious burn. The more likely a worker is to be injured on the job, the higher the rates for workers’ compensation insurance will be.
Of course, the average rates are merely averages for businesses within large industry segments. The only way to know how much a workers’ compensation policy will cost for your business is to request customized quotes. A local independent insurance agent can help.
What Does Gulfport Workers’ Compensation Insurance Cover?
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. Employees should pay nothing out of pocket.
- Travel reimbursement: Workers’ comp insurance will reimburse employees for miles driven to and from medical appointments. Reimbursement rates are updated annually by the MS Workers’ Compensation Commission. As of January 1, 2020, the rate was 5.75 cents per mile.
- Temporary disability: If an employee needs to take more than five days off work to recuperate from a work-related injury, they will be able to collect a weekly benefit of two-thirds of their average weekly pay until they can return to work.
- 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 wages for up to 450 weeks.
- Survivor benefits: If a work-related injury or illness leads to a fatality, workers’ compensation can ease the financial burden on surviving family members by covering burial expenses up to $5,000, paying an immediate lump-sum payment of $1,000 to the employee’s spouse, and providing the employee’s spouse and dependents with compensation of two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly wages for up to 450 weeks.
Weekly disability benefits cannot exceed the maximum rate that is designated annually by the Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Commission. As of January 1, 2020, the weekly maximum payment was set at $505.43. There is also a cap on how much can be collected overall. The current lifetime disability maximum benefit is capped at $227,443.50.
You can learn more about workers’ compensation insurance by speaking with an independent insurance agent in Gulfport.
What If Your Workers’ Compensation Claim Is Denied?
Insurance companies sometimes deny workers' compensation claims. This might happen for a number of reasons, such as if the insurer suspects that the injury did not actually occur while the employee was on the job, that the injury was intentionally self-inflicted, or that the injured employee was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident.
If you believe that your workers’ compensation claim was unjustly denied, you can appeal the decision by filing a Petition to Controvert with the Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Commission. This must be done within two years to be considered.
The WCC will assign a judge to the case. Most appeals are settled out of court through mediation, but if the dispute cannot be resolved through informal negotiations, the case can move on to a formal hearing before a WCC judge who will make the final decision.
Find the Best Workers’ Compensation Insurance in Gulfport, MS
If you are looking for the ideal workers’ compensation policy to cover your Gulfport business, an independent insurance agent can help. 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 the ideal workers’ compensation policy for your business. Contact an insurance agent in or near Gulfport, MS to set up an obligation-free consultation.
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