Wisconsin Workers' Compensation Insurance

Your Guide to Workers' Comp Insurance in Wisconsin

All you need to know about finding the right workers' comp for you.

Wisconsin Workers Compensation Insurance

More than $410 million in workers' comp claims were paid out in the state of Wisconsin in recent years. Workplace incidents happen frequently, and they can result in injuries or even severe illnesses for employees. 

Fortunately, having workers' compensation insurance can help protect not only your team, but your business as well. For help navigating workers comp insurance coverage, find a local independent agent.

Workers' Compensation Coverages/Non-Coverages in Wisconsin

Workplace injuries and illnesses can be not only tragic, but extremely costly to treat, and employees need help with their medical bills. Workers' comp offers compensation to injured or ill employees due to workplace incidents, and also protects the business from employee lawsuits afterwards.

Here's a simple breakdown of what workers' compensation covers and does not cover in the state of Wisconsin.

Workers' comp covers the following:

  • Injuries caused by repetitive motion
  • Various mental injuries and illnesses
  • Occupational illnesses and diseases
  • Traumatic injuries

Here's a real-life example of coverage:

A construction worker in Wisconsin suffers a fall from a high surface. The employee must be taken to the hospital to be treated for severe injuries. Workers' comp policy could help compensation for medical treatments and hospital costs.

Workers' comp insurance excludes the following:

  • Intentional or malicious acts by employees
  • Employee illnesses or injuries that happen outside of work
  • Injury or illness to intoxicated employees
Workers' Compensation Coverage Covered Not Covered
Traumatic injuries
Covered by Worker's Compensation
Repetitive-type injuries
Covered by Worker's Compensation
Certain mental injuries
Covered by Worker's Compensation
Occupational diseases
Covered by Worker's Compensation
Employee illnesses or injuries sustained outside of work
Not covered by Worker's Compensation
Accidents that occur while an employee is intoxicated
Not covered by Worker's Compensation
Intentional employee injuries to themselves at the workplace
Not covered by Worker's Compensation

An independent insurance agent can provide more detail about what workers' comp covers and excludes in Wisconsin.

Why Do You Need Workers Compensation Insurance in Wisconsin?

Businesses that don't comply with state workers' comp requirements can end up being fined, face jail sentences, or even be shut down. Most states require this coverage by law.

Businesses need to have workers' comp in place right after hiring a new employee, before they ever start working. Without coverage in place before a workplace incident, your business could get sued by the injured/ill employee and their family.

What Consequences Could You Face if You Don’t Have Workers’ Compensation in Wisconsin?

If your business makes the mistake of viewing workers' comp as optional, it could end up facing huge consequences. Businesses can get hit with both financial and legal penalties, if they fail to secure the proper insurance.

In Wisconsin, businesses without workers' comp can be subject to penalties equaling twice the amount of the premiums they would've paid, or $750, whichever is higher. Businesses may also be fined $100 per day for seven days and can even be ordered by the state to close down and suspend operations.

Wisconsin Workers’ Compensation Laws and Regulations

Wisconsin requires any business that employs three or more workers, whether full or part-time, to have workers' comp coverage. Like most other states, Wisconsin’s workers’ compensation program is a no-fault system, so employees are guaranteed benefits regardless of who's at fault for a workplace incident. 

Employees forfeit the right to sue their employer for job-related injury or illness in exchange for workers' comp benefits. The employee's family is in turn also exempt from being allowed to press charges.

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How Much Does Workers’ Comp Insurance Cost in Wisconsin?

Wisconsin is an independent state and doesn’t use the National Council on Compensation Insurance classification system, so the Department of Workforce Development sets employee classification codes, base rates and experience modifiers.

Consider the following example: 

  • Wisconsin Classification Code: 5083 Plumbing
  • Base Rate: $5.71
  • Employer Payroll: Example: $100,000
  • Premium Calculation: $5.71 per $100 or 5.71% of payroll
  • Estimated Annual Premium: $5,710

The majority of companies will have more than one class of employees working for their business. This plumbing business might have customer service reps, salespeople, and admin staff, all with different class codes. The business's total premium would be a total of all the class codes and associated rates.

Recent Wisconsin Base Rate Examples

Here are just a few base rate examples for different class codes for Wisconsin in recent years. However, rates can vary by insurance company.

Here are some recent sample base rates (rate per $100 of employer payroll):

  • 0042 Landscaping  $11.35
  • 3632 Machine Shop  $4.36
  • 3821 Salvage Yard  $11.58
  • 5022 Masonry  $13.29
  • 5183 Plumbing  $5.71
  • 5190 Electrical  $4.96
  • 5221 Concrete Construction  $8.90
  • 5437 Carpentry/Trim  $12.71
  • 5474 Painting  $14.48
  • 5478 Flooring  $16.73

Workers' Comp Cost Per Employee in Wisconsin

Businesses with higher payrolls and more employees cost more to insure under workers' comp. Check out this closer look at how workers' comp costs vary by payroll range in each specific industry below.

Annual Workers' Comp Cost Per Employee

Industry Lower Cost Medium Cost Upper Cost
Construction $1,631 $3,125 $11,957
Finance and Insurance $537 $969 $3,549
Hotels / Motels $394 $885 $3,737
Manufacturing and Food Production $697 $1,325 $5,036
Professional and Technical Services $504 $998 $3,903
Real Estate $91 $181 $707
Restaurants and Taverns $160 $357 $1,500
Retail Trade $308 $590 $2,258
Transportation and Warehousing $1,201 $2,366 $9,221

If your business has a greater track-record of safety and fewer accidents, it's likely to pay less for workers' comp coverage. However, insurance companies have complex formulas and will reset your rates after an accident, most likely leading to a noticeable spike in your premiums.

Best Workers' Comp Companies in Wisconsin

Workers' comp is available from many different insurance companies in Wisconsin. Here are just a few of our top picks for quality workers' comp insurance carriers.

Top Workers' Compensation Insurance Companies Star Rating
Liberty Mutual
4.5/5 star rating
State Auto
4.5/5 star rating
5 star rating
West Bend
5 star rating
EMC Insurance Companies
5 star rating
ICW Group
4.5/5 star rating

An independent insurance agent can help you look into these workers' comp insurance companies and get matched to the carrier who best meets your needs at the most affordable rate.

Top 6 Most Common Workers' Comp Claims/Injuries

Top 6 Most Common Workers Comp Claims
  1. Lacerations: Deep cuts can happen to employees anywhere, but are especially common in restaurants.
  2. Sprains/strains: Sprains and strains can happen in any industry, especially those that require lots of twisting and turning motions.
  3. Contusions: Contusions and other skin marks can occur in any industry where collisions and dropped objects are possible.
  4. Burns: Burns can happen to employees anywhere, especially in bakery or restaurant settings.
  5. Eye injuries: Eye injuries are most common in work environments that use chemicals, such as manufacturing.
  6. Fractures: Fractures can also happen to any employee, but are more common in businesses that require complex movements.

Why Are Independent Insurance Agents Awesome?

It’s simple. Independent insurance agents simplify the process by shopping and comparing insurance quotes for you. Not only that, but they’ll also cut the jargon and clarify the fine print, so you know exactly what you’re getting.

There’s no business too small for our independent insurance agents. They have access to multiple insurance companies, ultimately finding you the best workers' comp coverage and competitive pricing while working for you.

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TrustedChoice.com Article | Reviewed by Paul Martin

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