workers comp laws updates

clock September 1, 2021

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The Most Important New Updates to Workers Comp Laws

As a business, you want to create a safe work environment where your employees can get the job done both safely and effectively. But accidents sometimes happen. To protect both you and your workers, all businesses are required to carry worker’s compensation insurance. This insurance protects your business from a catastrophe bankrupting you. It also makes sure the worker gets coverage in the event of a workplace injury. It’s important to keep abreast of workers comp laws updates, so you know how they will impact your coverage. 

Read on to learn about workers comp new legal updates. 

What’s New In Workers Comp?

One of the most notable changes to Florida’s workers’ comp laws comes from the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI). This change is one that businesses are sure to appreciate over the next year. 

The NCCI is calling for a decrease of 6.6% for Florida workers’ compensation insurance rates. This decrease was approved by Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier.

The original rate decrease was suggested to be 5.7%. It was later increased to 6.6% and approved. Good news for those who already have workers comp insurance or will need it soon. This rate decrease is for existing policies as well as new ones.

Also, it disapproved of the inclusion of large-deductible coverage. It was explained that data showed that large-deductible coverage imposed too large a cost on carriers.

The NCCI noted that Covid-19 data was not part of the statistics that created these changes. More on the coronavirus and workers compensation shortly. 

What Explains the Rate Reduction

The 6.6% decrease is a notable cut in rates. What’s happening that allows for this kind of rate cut? The National Council of Compensation Insurance says there are several factors. 

Most notably, businesses are doing a better job at worker safety. When the work environments are safer, there are fewer work-related injuries. The reduced rates should continue to incentivize employers to work towards those safe work environments. 

Employers are also doing better with things like:

  • Technology
  • Improved risk management

Again, the lower rates related to workplace injuries contribute to those better rates. Again, it’s worth noting that any data related to the coronavirus is not included in this decision.

Workers Comp Guide for Business Owners and Insurers

In addition to the rate changes, there are a variety of other changes that have happened through legislation. Many are minor legislative changes that impact the insurer more than the insured. Other impacts the employers too.  Here are some of the changes that have come from the legislature for workers comp in the last year. 

If a worker is working as a pre-apprentice for training purposes. The state views them as employees of the state for workers comp purposes. 

There is one big ruling that will impact correctional facility workers. If a correctional facility worker suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from the job, it’s deemed eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. It was ruled that an injury can go beyond the scope of a  physical injury. 

Because of this, agencies placing those in that kind of job should be doing mental health screenings.

New legislation allows insurers to transfer money to a worker’s compensation recipient’s account. This transfer is allowed to be done via a licensed money transmitter.

Workers comp insurers should use a nurse registry to place licensed nurses for care services for an injured worker.

Another change involves insurers who cover leasing companies. The insurer is required to all employees of the client company. The insurer should do annual audits of employee leasing companies to make sure adequate coverage is in place.

Impact of Covid-19

The NCCI is in the process of gathering data and putting it through a thorough review related to Covid-19. They are not ready to say how the coronavirus will impact claims for workers’ compensation. It’s too soon to predict whether the claim numbers will be high, long-lasting, or severe. 

So, can workers claim workers’ compensation as it relates to Covid-19? The answer is a muddy maybe. 

Workers’ compensation allows for compensation to workers for what’s classified as an occupational disease. This would be one you pick up as a result of exposure because of your occupation. Without going further, one might conclude then that there could be workers’ compensation claims as a result of the coronavirus. 

Many states, though, exclude coverage for what’s classified as diseases of life. This would include things like the flu or the common cold. Some might argue that Covid might fall under this category.

Arguably though, health care and other front-line workers have a much higher associated risk of catching Covid on the job and might be eligible if their care is not covered through other insurance. 

It’s possible, the NCCI argues that pandemic impact may not be as notable as some might expect. While you might expect higher than normal numbers because of Covid, there is also likely to be a decrease in claim numbers because of the high number of workers working from home. 

If you are an employer who has a change of status related to its workers. This might mean a few things. Perhaps workers who once worked on business property are now working from home. It’s also possible that because of the impact of the pandemic workers are now doing jobs that are different. 

If you have workers who are classified differently, check with your workers’ compensation insurer about how they may impact your coverage.  

Get to Know These Workers Comp Laws Updates

As an employer, it’s important to know about workers comp laws updates. They can impact your coverage and you need to be aware. In this case, it’s probably nice to hear that it could mean a reduction in rates for you this year. 

Most businesses have felt the impact of Covid in some ways. Keep up to date with how your workers’ comp coverage covers your employees during the pandemic. 

Whether you already have workers’ comp coverage and want to update it, or you need new coverage, we can help. Contact us today to get more information on your Florida workers’ comp insurance coverage.

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