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workers compensation history

A Walk Through History

The first signs of insurance coverage dates back to China in 3000 BC when merchants saw the need to protect their investments against loss. Insurance continued throughout the ages and became more diversified as different needs became apparent. For example, we credit the Romans with creating health insurance (via guilds) around 600 AD.  A form of workers compensation popped up in the 18th Century in England.  According to the Florida workers’ compensation website, this doctrine mandated that the employer was to be “held liable for damages to a third person caused by a servant’s (employee) act or omission” while employed. Germany soon followed suit in 1838 and passed legislation that would protect railroad employees and passengers.

It was the English Parliament that coined the phrase “Workingmen’s Compensation” in 1880. Soon after this form of insurance appeared in the United States where Wisconsin was the first state to put workers’ compensation laws into effect in 1911. That same year nine other states followed suit. Thirty-Six other states passed it into law in the following year.  1948 saw the final state, Mississippi, passing workers’ compensation into legislation.

workers compensation today

Workers Compensation Today

This form of insurance was an important advance in human rights back then and today is required in one form or another in most states. It’s one of the most valuable protections a company can have for its employees. Let’s face it – accidents will happen no matter how many precautions are taken. A workers’ compensation policy not only protects employees in cases of injury and even death, it protects the business also.

Workers’ compensation is one of the most important parts of an employee benefits package. Workers’ compensation coverage is funded by the employer via the purchase of an insurance policy or by setting up self-insurance accounts for employees. It ensures that employees will receive medical care and receive a portion of their pay while they are laid up, regardless of whose fault the accident was. And should the employee not survive the work-related accident, workers’ compensation insurance death benefits are paid to the employees’ dependent family.

Workers Compensation in Florida

In Florida, a workers’ compensation policy is required when:

  • A non-construction business has 4 or more full or part-time employees
  • A construction company has 1 or more employees
  • A farmer that has more than 5 regular employees and/or 12 or more seasonal workers for 30 days or more

Workers’ compensation policies are comprised of the following six parts:

  1. Defines the coverage in the policy
  2. Defines the employer’s liability coverage
  3. Defines coverage provided in other states when a case develops and crosses state lines during the policy year

4., 5., 6. All three of these cover specific duties of the insured, the rating procedure and the conditions that apply to the policy

Workers’ compensation is even more important today than when it was when it first appeared. Medical bills and loss of income can be devastating. Talk the pros at ARCW insurance to ensure that your workers’ compensation policy is sufficient.


This information is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as professional advice.  Should you have any questions or would like to discuss your risk exposure with your business’ Workers Compensation insurance, please contact the insurance pros at ARCW Insurance.  We are here to help.