National Average Cost of Workers' Compensation Insurance

Healthcare $1,825 Per $100,000 payroll

Retail Trade $2,850 Per $100,000 payroll

Construction $7,430 Per $100,000 payroll

Workers' Compensation Insurance Laws in Wisconsin

Most employers in the state are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Out-of-state employers must also cover their in-state workers with a policy from an insurance provider authorized to write workers’ comp policies in Wisconsin.

Injured employees are permitted to seek treatment from a physician of their choice. If they do not have confidence in their treating physician, they may obtain care from a different doctor but must immediately report the change to their employer.

When an employer is made aware of a work-related injury or illness, they must report it to their workers’ compensation insurance company within seven days.

When an employer is made aware of a work-related fatality, they must report it to the Wisconsin Workers’ Compensation Division within 24 hours.

Self-insurance companies and workers’ compensation insurance companies are required to report all injuries that result in more than three days of lost work time to the Wisconsin Workers’ Compensation Division.

Employers who intentionally fail to report worker injuries and illnesses can face a penalty for bad faith of up to $30,000 or two times the compensation due. Employers can also face fines of 10% of the amount due to the employee if they delay reporting the injury or illness.

Employers may not fire, demote, harass, or retaliate against employees who file workers’ compensation claims or participate as witnesses in workers’ compensation proceedings.

Failure to carry required workers' compensation insurance can result in monetary penalties, including fines of two times the premiums the employer failed to pay, or $750, whichever is greater. Additionally, the employer can be held personally liable for expenses incurred by an injured employee while the employer was uninsured.

Common Workers' Compensation Claims in Wisconsin

Wisconsin was recently named among the most dangerous states to work in. Employees in Wisconsin report more than 75,000 workplace injuries in a typical year.

Five most reported worker injuries in Wisconsin:

  1. Back injuries
  2. Cuts and bruises
  3. Fractures
  4. Chronic pain conditions like tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome
  5. Sprains and strains

Insurance companies in Wisconsin pay out more than $400 million a year in workers’ compensation insurance claims.

Ten Occupations with the Highest Rate of Worker Injuries in Wisconsin:

  1. Couriers and messengers
  2. Sawmill and wood preservation workers
  3. Air transportation workers
  4. Nursing and residential care facility workers
  5. Wood product manufacturing
  6. Motor vehicle body and trailer manufacturing
  7. Water, sewage, and other systems workers
  8. Correctional facility workers
  9. Cement and concrete product manufacturing
  10. Warehousing and storage occupations

FAQ: Workers' Compensation Insurance in Wisconsin

Workers' compensation insurance (sometimes referred to as "workers' comp") is a no-fault commercial insurance policy designed to protect both employers and employees from financial losses related to workplace injuries.

It can provide coverage for medical expenses, lost wages, rehabilitation services, and other related expenses if an employee is injured or diagnosed with an occupational illness. In doing so, it can significantly reduce the employer’s chances of facing a liability lawsuit related to the injury.

In this state, every different type of job is assigned a base rate for coverage. The Wisconsin Workers’ Compensation Rating Bureau sets and regulates these rates.

Insurance companies must use these base rates when calculating workers' compensation insurance rates, but they are permitted to adjust them up to 25% through policy debits, credits, and incentives.

Let's look at the base rates for a few different kinds of jobs in Wisconsin. These rates are per every $100 in employer payroll:

  • Landscapers:  $8.89
  • Plumbing contractors:  $3.97
  • Roofers:  $21.69
  • Retail store workers:  $1.86
  • Clerical/office employees:  $0.19
  • Restaurant workers and caterers:  $1.92

Your quoted costs for workers’ compensation insurance will be based on the number of employees you have, how much they are paid, the types of jobs they do, your company's safety record, and your workers’ compensation claims history. 

In Wisconsin, all employers with three or more employees must carry workers’ compensation insurance. Employers with at least one employee to whom they pay at least $500 in a calendar quarter must also carry coverage. Sole proprietors, LLC members, and partners do not count toward a business’s total employee count, but corporate officers do.

There are a few exceptions. You do not need to purchase coverage for:

  • Sole proprietors, partners, and LLC members.
  • Certain farm laborers, including family members of the farm owner.
  • Domestic servants.
  • Qualified and certified members of certain religious sects.
  • Volunteers for non-profit organizations.
  • Employees of Native American tribal enterprises, including casinos, unless the tribe opts to waive its sovereign immunity and require this coverage.
  • Certain real estate brokers, agents, and salespeople.

You can purchase your coverage from your choice of commercial insurance providers. Alternatively, businesses with a solid financial footing may opt to self-insure with approval.

Workers' compensation insurance shields your business against financial losses and potential lawsuits by ensuring that workers who are injured on the job receive the compensation they deserve.

Workers compensation insurance covers employees who suffer from:

  • Physical harm: This includes things like cuts, fractures, sprains, burns, bruises, and loss of hearing.
  • Mental harm: This includes things like post-traumatic stress disorder, head injuries, nervous disorders, and emotional stress.
  • Occupational illness: This includes illnesses that result from exposure to toxic substances at the workplace, such as dermatitis, infections, pneumonia, respiratory diseases, and lead poisoning.

Workers' compensation insurance in Wisconsin provides injured employees with:

  • Medical benefits: Workers’ compensation insurance provides full coverage for all reasonable and necessary medical expenses, including doctor appointments, emergency room care, hospital stays, physical therapy, chiropractic care, prescription medications, and medical supplies.
  • Compensation for lost wages: If an employee’s treating physician states that they must take more than three days off work to recuperate from a work-related illness or injury, workers’ compensation insurance can provide them with disability benefits based on their average weekly pay before the incident.
  • Vocation rehabilitation and retraining: Workers’ compensation can provide employees with job retraining and placement assistance if their work injury necessitates that they seek a different type of employment.
  • Death benefits: If a work-related illness or injury is fatal, workers’ compensation can help cover funeral and burial costs and provide death benefits of up to four times the deceased employee’s annual pay to their spouse and dependents or other family members.

Employees should be aware that, in Wisconsin, physical therapists, massage therapists, and pain clinics are covered only if the treating physician orders the treatment.

Sometimes, workers’ compensation claims are denied. Some of the most common reasons for denial include:

  • The employee failed to notify their employer of the injury within two years.
  • The injury did not occur while the employee was on the job, except in cases where the employee is traveling for work-related purposes, is on a lunch break on the work premises, or is hurt while entering the building or in the company parking lot.
  • The injury occurred when the employee was engaged in horseplay or a physical fight started by the injured employee.
  • The accident occurred while the injured employee was under the influence of illegal drugs or alcohol.
  • The injury was intentionally self-inflicted.

Employees may file an appeal if they feel that their claim was unjustly denied.

Frequently, workers’ compensation insurance companies will provide their policyholders with a certificate of coverage when they purchase or renew their policy. This certificate lets prospective clients see that your business is covered by showing your insurer’s name, your policy number, and your policy’s effective date.

In Wisconsin, if someone wants to verify that you are covered by workers’ compensation insurance, they can do this with an online lookup. All covered businesses in this state are included in an online database that anyone can access.

Independent insurance agents make it easy to find the best and most affordable workers’ compensation insurance. These agents can help you compare policies and customized quotes from a selection of insurance companies specializing in covering businesses like yours.

No business is too small to benefit from working with an independent agent. Arrange an obligation-free consultation with an independent insurance agent near you to discover the many advantages of having a local insurance expert on your side.

In most cases, workers’ compensation benefits are not considered taxable income at the state or federal level.

What Are the Best Workers' Compensation Insurance Companies in Wisconsin?