Florida takes its commitment to protect employees very seriously. With an estimated 2.8 million small businesses and 3.6 million workers, that requires significant workers’ compensation laws.
Yes, it is. Florida requires that any business that employs four (4) or more employees carry workers’ compensation insurance. Note that in the case of a construction company, all employees, including subcontractors, must be covered by workers’ compensation, even if there are fewer than four.
With that said, FL does have some exceptions when it comes to workers’ compensation coverage. For instance, sole proprietors and partners are excluded but can purchase coverage if they wish to be included in a policy.
For construction companies, up to three executives can be exempt from coverage if they demonstrate at least 10% ownership in the company. Construction companies are responsible for ensuring that subcontractors provide workers’ compensation for their contractors.
Finally, agricultural businesses are not required to carry workers’ compensation unless they have six (6) or more regular employees and/or 12 or more seasonal workers that work 30 days or more.
Must you carry workers’ comp insurance in FL if you’re self-employed? The answer is “it depends”. If you are in the construction industry, then yes, you do. If you are in a different industry, then no, although it is still a wise decision to purchase coverage.
The only exceptions to Florida’s workers’ comp requirements are sole proprietors, partners, independent contractors, and self-employed professionals outside the construction industry. Large companies may be able to self-insure, rather than working with an insurance company.
Saving money on workers’ compensation is possible, but Florida business owners must take some specific steps. These include the following:
Be vigilant about claims to reduce your Experience Modification Rate (Ex-Mod). Remember that your Ex-Mod is compared to similar businesses.
While workers’ comp rates vary from state to state, as well as from industry to industry and even business to business, the process is similar overall.
When you purchase a policy, you’ll provide an estimated payroll amount for the year. This will form the basis of your premium. At the end of your term (most often 12 months), the insurance company will audit your payroll and determine the exact amount. If your actual payroll is lower than projected, you receive a refund. If it’s more than projected, you’ll owe more money.
In terms of employee coverage, workers’ compensation usually pays for medical expenses, lost wages, and legal expenses if the employee files a lawsuit related to the accident or injury.
Each state’s laws differ slightly, including Florida’s. Employees are usually eligible for coverage
Ongoing medical bills related to the injury/accident
Temporary disability payments
Permanent disability payments
Getting workers’ comp insurance in Florida is usually relatively simple. A business owner can purchase insurance from any insurance agent operating within the state.
Note that not all agents in Florida offer workers’ comp, though, and it’s important to compare potential policies before deciding. Kickstand Insurance offers workers’ comp throughout Florida.
Employers that fail to purchase workers’ comp insurance in Florida face significant penalties. The most common outcome is that the state will issue a stop-work order, which requires the company to halt all operations until it complies with the law.
The business will also be fined and required to pay twice the amount it would have paid in annual premiums during the preceding two-year period. Criminal charges are also possible depending on the situation.
Florida requires that insurance companies provide substantial death benefits in the case that an employee dies as the result of a work-related accident within a year of the accident date, or within five years while receiving continuous disability payments.
Depending on the situation, the employee’s family could receive up to $7,500 for funeral expenses, up to $150,000 in compensation (up to 66.67% of the employee’s weekly earnings), and education benefits for the surviving spouse (if applicable).
An employee who has been injured on the job may attempt to negotiate a larger workers’ comp settlement. This process is handled by the insurance company, its lawyers, and the employee and their lawyer.
However, the employer should remain engaged during this process. The insurance company will ask the employee and their lawyer to provide a calculation of the total anticipated amount of expenses and then will try to negotiate and find an amount that satisfies everyone involved. If a settlement cannot be reached, a court hearing is usually the next step.
While it’s important to provide Florida workers with protection, it’s also important to protect Florida businesses against claims filed too long after the incident. In most cases, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of the injury.
However, that does not apply if the injured employee is a minor or not mentally competent, if they were misled by the employer about coverage, or if the insurance company did not inform the worker of their rights.
Note that Florida has no statute of limitations regarding medical prosthetic device-related care. The Division of Workers’ Compensation is responsible for regulating workers’ compensation claims in the state.
Start by filling out a short online form about your business. We’ll use that info to get you an estimated quote. Then, one of our experienced agents will contact you to review the quote and make sure you are getting the absolutely lowest rate possible for your business. Once the quote is finalized, you’re ready to buy the policy - often with coverage starting that day!
Why choose Kickstand for your Florida workers’ compensation insurance? Our unique process is streamlined and designed to help you get the coverage you need at the best possible rates.
Our expert agents work with you to tailor your coverage and provide guidance throughout the process. We also verify that your employees are classified properly and that you’re not paying for anything you don’t need. It’s all about attention to detail and outstanding customer service.
Ready to take the next step? Our online form takes just 5 minutes and we’ll provide you with a no-obligation quote and connect you with one of our expert FL agents.