What is Florida Workers Compensation and Employer Liability Insurance?
If your business has employees, then you have a loss exposure for the work-related injuries and illnesses of these employees. Prior to the enactment of workers compensation statutes, a worker could sue his employer for these injuries and illnesses. Today, instead of these lawsuits, each state has instituted Workers Compensation regulations. These statutes obligate employers to pay specific medical, lost wages, disability, rehabilitation and death benefits for job-related injuries, without regard to the fault of the employer. This no-fault protection eliminates the right of an employee to sue the employer and, in return, the employer is obligated to provide certain benefits to the injured employee. In order to qualify for this coverage, the employee’s injury or illness must be related to his work and must occur as a result of work-related activities. A Workers’ Compensation and Employers’ Liability Policy (WC&EL) provides this type of coverage.
Florida employers are required to provide a Workers Comp policy in a number of specific employment situations. Here are some of the most common:
• Construction Industry – an employer in the construction industry who employs one or more part or full-time employees.
• Non-Construction Industry – an employer in the non-construction industry who employs four or more part or full-time employees
• Agricultural Industry – an employer with six or more regular employees and/or twelve or more seasonal employees, each of whom works more than 30 days
What are some of the benefits provided by a Florida Workers Compensation and Employer Liability Policy?
Benefits paid by a WC&EL Policy are set by state regulators and include a number of categories.
• Medical Benefits which generally cover complete and unlimited medical expenses. Medical benefits include medical, hospital, surgical, and other related medical costs such as physical therapy and prosthetic devices.
• Disability Income compensates for lost wages resulting from work-related injuries. There are four types:
1. Temporary partial disability for a work-related injury that limits the ability of an employee to perform certain job-related duties for a temporary period of time. After this specified period of time, the worker is able to return to full-time work.
2. Temporary total disability for an injury that prevents the employee from performing all job-related duties for a temporary period of time. After this specified period of time, the worker is able to return to work.
3. Permanent partial disability for a work injury that will permanently affect the worker’s ability to return to work in the same capacity as before the injury. In this case, there is a permanent loss to the employee for the remainder of his/her life.
4. Permanent total disability for a work injury that prevent the worker from returning to any type of employment.
• Rehabilitation benefits, including vocational rehabilitation, which will enable an injured worker to return to work sooner or in a different capacity.
• Death benefits for dependents. This provides some level of monetary compensation to dependents and provides for burial expenses of the employee.
Section 2: Employers Liability coverage protects an employer from claims brought against his business by an employee. An employer may be held liable for employee injuries that are the result of negligence on the part of the employer. In these cases, the employee must show his injury occurred while performing his job duties, and that it would not have occurred “but for” the employer’s negligence. This policy also addresses other losses, such as third party claims and claims for loss of services.
Section 3: Other States Insurance automatically extends coverage to operations in any state listed in the Other State provision of the WC&EL Information Page. As an employer, you may need additional workers compensation and employer liability coverage for business operations in states not specifically identified in your policy.
What are some additional coverage options available in Florida?
There are two common endorsements that are available for a WC policy.
• Voluntary Compensation and Employer Liability Endorsement expands coverage to include employees who are not part of the workers compensation statute.
• United State Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act Endorsement extends coverage to long-shore and maritime workers who are not covered under a standard WC policy. Maritime workers and employees of interstate railroads are under the jurisdiction of federal law.
Does a Workers Compensation and Employer Liability Policy have deductibles?
The standard Workers Compensation and Employer Liability Policy does not have any type of deductible. However, there are “waiting periods” before certain disability benefits will be paid. These periods are set by each individual state. Additionally, there are plans that are available with very large deductibles, of $50,000 or more, that allow the insured to self-insure most of their WC claims.