Purchasing Workers’ Comp Online
Buying Workers’ Comp Insurance online directly from the carrier can sometimes be faster and simpler but it can also be confusing. And while there is a lot of insurance information out there, understanding the options available in your business’s location and narrowing it down to the right provider isn’t always easy. So let’s learn a little more about workers’ Comp before you pursue an online purchase.
Workers’ Comp requirements vary from state to state. Few states, if any, have the exact same requirements. Before you make a decision on who will get your Workmans’ Comp Insurance business, it’s important to get a general idea of what you should be buying.
The state that you are doing business in largely determines your Workman’s’ Comp policy requirements. There are a number of factors that could play a role in determining the coverage you need and how much you will pay for Workers’ Comp. These may include:
- Types of employees you have working for you
- Types of work your employees do
- Payroll size
- Number of employees
Where To Get Workers’ Compensation Insurance
Business owners typically have two options for where they can buy Workers’ Comp Insurance. They can buy from private insurance companies or from state-funded Workers’ Comp programs.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance is an essential business insurance coverage. Some owners mistakenly believe that their General Liability Insurance policy helps cover Workers’ Comp claims. This is incorrect. General Liability Insurance helps covers bodily injury claims made against a business by a third-party and does not cover people who work for your company and are injured on the job. Workmans’ Comp Insurance provides coverage to employees who become injured or ill as a result of performing their work duties. Without this coverage, employees might have to pay medical costs out-of-pocket. This could result in them coming back and making a claim against the business they work for to cover their medical expenses and lost wages.
Most states require businesses with one or more employees to buy Workmans’ Comp Insurance. As mentioned above, there are typically two options for buying this insurance: private insurance companies and state-funded programs. North Dakota, Ohio, Washington and Wyoming are the only states that require businesses to buy only from state programs.
- Private Workers’ Compensation Insurance – Privately run Workers’ Comp Insurance companies are still regulated by the states and each state determines their Workers’ Comp requirements for businesses operating in their state. Because private insurers are competing with one another, they may offer better rates and customer service compared to some states’ offerings. Private insurance carriers set their own prices and can accept or reject customers.
- State Funded Workers’ Compensation Insurance – State-funded Workers’ Comp is an option for small businesses that cannot get coverage from private companies. These state funded programs are set up to help ensure that all employees can be covered by Workmans’ Comp Insurance – no matter the business they work for.
- Competitive State-Funded Workers’ Comp – This means that the state allows private Workers’ Comp companies to offer coverage to businesses even though there is a state-funded option. The state-funded option is often a last resort source of Workers’ Comp coverage for small businesses.
- Monopolistic State-Funded Workers’ Comp – This means that the state only allows businesses to buy Workmans’ Comp Insurance from a state-funded program. Only a handful of states require Workers’ Comp coverage be purchased strictly through state programs. The downside to this type of Workers’ Comp is that if the state does not pool funding efficiently it could lead to dipping into taxpayer funds to help meet claims obligations. This type of Workers’ Comp Coverage can also come with a lot of red tape, bureaucracy and customer service issues.
Purchasing Direct or Through an Agent/Broker
Another important option to consider when buying Workers’ Compensation Insurance is whether you will buy it directly from the carrier, or through an agent/broker. Not all insurance carriers sell Workers’ Comp directly to business owners. Some providers only offer it through agents.
Buying directly from the carrier can sometimes be faster and simpler. Most insurance companies have websites explaining the coverages you need. Get a quote today. This way you can buy insurance from the comfort of your own home while on your desktop, laptop or mobile phone. The upside is you can do it at your own pace and often, there is plenty of information available within the quoting experience to help answer your questions as they come up along the journey. The downside to this is if you prefer dealing with a person face to face. That’s where an agent or broker can be helpful. And an agent or broker can help you get a better understanding of what coverages are available and what you may need.
What Is the Difference Between an Agent and a Broker?
Both an insurance agent and an insurance broker sell insurance and can help you find the right types of insurance for your business. The difference between the two is that an agent typically works for one or a few insurance carrier selling just their policies. A captive agent represents just one carrier while an independent agent will represent multiple insurers.
While an agent works for the insurance carrier, a broker represents the buyer. A broker solicits insurance quotes from insurers on behalf of the insurance buyer. The broker selects the coverages and limits and submits applications to different insurance companies to help find the best coverage and price.
What Does It Mean to Be a Direct Policy Writer?
A direct policy writer, also known as a captive agent, sells insurance for only one insurance company. Captive agents do not work on commission. They are direct employees of the insurance company they represent and they are on the company’s payroll. When business owners buy insurance from a captive agent, they do not pay part of the agent’s commission.
Select the Right Workers’ Comp Insurance Coverage For Your Business
Buying Workers’ Compensation Insurance can sometimes feel daunting. Because of state regulations, there are many factors that you may have to take into consideration. Buying becomes even more complex if you will be doing business across state lines. That’s why it’s important to work with an insurance company that has experience working with businesses in your state.
When you choose The Hartford, you can rest assured your business is protecting your employees with industry-leading care. If a workplace accident sidelines an employee, they’ll have access to our patented claims experience, claims specialists and response teams who consistently receive top scores for customer satisfaction.
We also offer convenient billing solutions for business owners. We want to take the hassle out of paying for insurance so you can focus on running your business. Get a quote today to learn how The Hartford can help protect your business and employees.