Florida/Texas—As we enter our third year of the pandemic, we are still learning lessons, which are important to document for our own benefit, but for to also provide greater assistance for future generations.
Most business owners are well aware of the benefits provided by a workers compensation policy. In Florida it is required by law for most employers, and in Texas although not required, it is highly recommended because this policy provides important protection against medical expenses and employee lawsuits related to workplace injuries.
Small businesses find workers compensation essential for three reasons:
- Most states require workers compensation coverage.
- It covers medical expenses and partial lost wages due to a work injury.
- Most policies also cover the cost of employee lawsuits related to a work injury.
In many states, workers compensation policies include employer’s liability insurance to protect your business if an injured worker files a lawsuit against you for not preventing a workplace accident.
If an employee sues for negligence, your insurance company would pay for:
- Attorney’s fees
- Court costs
- Settlements or judgments
Also, most workers compensation policies include death benefits. These help a deceased employee’s loved ones pay funeral and burial costs after a fatal workplace accident in addition to financial assistance for the deceased employee’s family.
Regarding COVID-19 cases, workers deemed “essential" including health care workers, mass transit operators and grocery store workers - are for obvious reasons at a high risk of exposure to the virus. Some states have extended workers compensation coverage to these, and other essential employees. A common approach is to amend state policy so COVID-19 infections in certain workers are presumed to be work-related. This, however, does not represent a guarantee that it would be covered in all states. Your state's laws could potentially help cover costs related to COVID-19. If you think you might be eligible for a claim, contact the claims department of your insurance company.
A concern of raising insurance costs for employers at a time when many businesses are facing serious financial challenges remains, and is being followed closely.
Workers' compensation insurance is required for all Florida businesses with four or more employees. Construction businesses must have coverage for every employee.
There are special considerations for some employees, including corporate officers:
- Sole proprietors and partners are automatically excluded from workers compensation law, but they can purchase coverage by filing for election of coverage.
- Construction businesses are required to carry workers compensation insurance for every employee, including contractors. They can exempt up to three corporate officers if each can demonstrate ownership of at least 10% of the company. In addition, contractors are responsible for ensuring that their subcontractor provides coverage for their workers.
- Agricultural businesses with six or more regular employees and/or 12 or more seasonal employees that work for more than 30 days are required to provide coverage.
At Garzor Insurance we care about your business. Our experienced professionals are dedicated to providing commercial insurance, including business general liability coverage in Florida as well as Texas, and now many other states across the U.S. If you have questions about truck insurance, or any other commercial insurance aspects, please do not hesitate to visit us online at Garzor Insurance, or you may want to call us directly at (321) 206-8035.
Yaralyn Diaz, CSR
Commercial Lines CSR