If you own a business, worker’s compensation insurance may well be one of the most important policies you have. After all, accidents happen no matter how hard you try to avoid them. And in Florida you are required to carry workers’ compensation coverage if you are in an industry other than construction and have four or more full or part-time employees. We are often asked about workers’ compensation benefits and thought it would useful to present a general overview of workers’ compensation for the small business owner and address some frequently asked questions.
What is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ Compensation benefits are available to your employees who are injured or become ill as a result of a work-related accident. For instance, if one of your employees is injured on the job and is medically authorized to take time off from work, he or she will be reimbursed for lost wages (typically a percentage of regular wages) and for all of the medical expenses related to treatment and rehabilitation.
Receiving Workers’ Compensation Benefits
In order to receive workers’ compensation benefits, you will need to file a report. Your employee should be required to notify you immediately after the injury so that you can get the process started. The employee will receive compensation for the period of time authorized by their treating physician. Benefits are paid weekly after the state-specified waiting period has passed. Note that the employee receives a state-specific percentage of their weekly wage.
Lowering Workers’ Compensation Premiums
We are often asked if there are ways to lower your workers’ compensation premiums. As your independent insurance agent, we are happy to help you reduce claims and control costs by assisting you in establishing a written safety policy, implementing a return to work program, streamlining reporting procedures and identifying top loss sources.
We can supply you with safety materials such as industry-specific flyers, newsletter and a comprehensive safety manual to help you keep safety top of mind. We can also help you develop a plan to train your employees in safe practices and advise you in developing forms for new employees to sign stating that they understand the company’s safety policy and will comply with its rules.
It’s a fact that businesses see a $4 to $6 return on every dollar they invest in safety and health. Having safety meetings, providing safety information and having an effective return to work program in place will pay off in the long run. After all, the longer a claim stays open, the more it will cost you.
Let us help you implement a return to work program that will provide your employees with the care they need and also facilitate a quick recovery.