The West Virginia workers’ compensation market has over 270 carriers offering workers’ compensation insurance to West Virginia employers. Since the workers’ compensation legislative changes went into effect in 2006, the aggregate loss costs have decreased over 75%.
How Does Workers’ Compensation Protect Your Business?
Avoid high out-of-pocket business expenses
Workers’ comp insurance puts limits on what employers are expected to pay.
Protection from lawsuits.
Before Workers’ comp insurance, employees could sue their employers for personal injuries on the job, often leading to high (and often bankrupting) expenses.
Compliance with state laws
Workers’ comp insurance helps companies avoid fines and penalties levied by the state for not having proper insurance.
What Does Workers’ Compensation Cover for Employees and Their Families?
Workers’ compensation insurance policies cover employees and their families for work-related injuries, illnesses, and even deaths. Most states require that employers maintain a minimum of $100,000 in coverage per occurrence though most insurers recommend $1 million per occurrence. Businesses with employees in multiple states must have coverage that meets each state’s regulatory standards.
Workers’ compensation provides coverage for five primary areas of loss:
- Partial income replacement: Provides income to an employee while out of work.
- Medical expenses: Covers the costs of medical procedures as well as physical and occupational therapy.
- Burial costs: Pays the burial expenses for an employee who died as a result of a work-related injury.
- Death benefit: Pays surviving families members based on the loss of income to the family from the deceased employee.
- Legal defense: Protects the employer for legal costs to defend against fraudulent claims.
Workers’ compensation insurance covers incidents from sudden injuries from accidents to long-term conditions developed from the line of work. Should an employee become disabled as a result of injuries on the job, workers’ compensation policies pay temporary or permanent disability payments. These policies do not cover workers who inflict injury intentionally upon themselves, break the law, or file a fraudulent claim.
What Expenses Are Not Covered by Workers’ Compensation?
- Wages for a replacement employee
- OSHA fees and penalties
- Improvements to workplace safety
- Third-party damage
- Cards or other gifts for injured employees
Proof of coverage, also known as a certificate of insurance, includes important details about your policy. Because the law requires workers’ compensation in WV, this document makes it easy to prove you have coverage.
Workers’ Compensation West Virginia Law & Exemptions
While workers’ compensation laws in West Virginia require almost every business to carry workers’ compensation, there are exceptions.4
- Domestic service employers
- Agricultural services with five or fewer full-time employees
- Casual employers who have employees that don’t work regular hours or have guaranteed hours
- Church employers
- Employers engaged in organized professional sports
- Volunteer rescue squads or volunteer police auxiliary units
- Employers with employees who receive benefits under the federal Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act
- Employers that applied for and received an exemption letter from the West Virginia insurance commissioner
If you use independent contractors, you don’t have to provide workers’ comp for them. But, you may have to prove they:
- Have their own business with a license or permit for their type of work
- Control when they are working
- Control how the work gets done
- Aren’t supervised by an employer
- Don’t exclusively work for the employer
- Provide their own equipment
WV Workers’ Compensation Rates
Your rates for workers’ compensation insurance in WV will depend on the risks your business and employees face, along with other factors, like your:
- Claims history
- Business experience
- Payroll amount
- Class codes
If you can’t get workers’ compensation coverage from a private insurance carrier, you may have to get it through the Residual Market, or “Assigned Risk Plan,” which usually has higher rates. In West Virginia, the National Council on Compensation Insurance is the administrator of the Assigned Risk Plan.
To apply for Assigned Risk coverage, your business must:
- Have at least two records showing private carriers declined you for workers’ comp insurance.
- Not have unpaid bills due to another workers’ compensation insurance company.
- Comply with reasonable health, safety, premium audit, or loss prevention requirements.
- Allow access to records for inspection.
Helpful Workers’ Compensation Links
- West Virginia Offices of the Insurance Commissioner, “Workers’ Compensation: The Employer Coverage Unit”
- State of West Virginia Offices of the Insurance Commissioner, “Notice Regarding Workers’ Compensation Decisions”
- West Virginia Offices of the Insurance Commissioner, “Workers’ Compensation Rules of the West Virginia Insurance Commissioner”
- West Virginia Offices of the Insurance Commissioner, “West Virginia Informational Letter”
- West Virginia Offices of the Insurance Commissioner, “Workers’ Compensation Policies, Coverage Issues and Related Topics”
- West Virginia Offices of the Insurance Commissioner, “Workers’ Compensation Assigned Risk Plan”
- West Virginia Legislature, “Article 4. Disability and Death Benefits”
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