What do I need to do before renewing my workers’ comp policy?
Okay, you’re coming up on your workers’ comp renewal date. Here’s a handy list of things to do (and think about) to make the process as stress-free as possible:
First, check your payroll and job classifications.
If you pull up the declaration page of your current workers’ comp policy, it’ll show how your workers are classified (as in, what kind of jobs they do) and the amount of payroll you’ve estimated for each kind of job. Check all this over carefully. If you think this information will change in the upcoming year, you’ll need to let your insurer know so that you get the correct premium.
Also, if you’re in an industry that’s allowed to split employees into different job classifications (say, you’re a manufacturing company that also employs office staff), make sure you’ve allocated your payroll correctly among the various kinds of jobs. (Not sure if this one applies to you? Give your insurer a call.)
Check to see if owners or officers are included in the policy.
In the state of California, you may be allowed to exclude owners and company officers from your workers’ comp. (You’ll want to read this first to figure out if your situation qualifies.) Renewal is a good time to check whether any of your employees are excluded from your policy, and to decide if you’d like to keep those employees off the policy for the next year.
Review your hiring plans.
Planning on hiring more people this year? You’ll need to include their salaries in your workers’ comp for the upcoming year. (And, don’t worry if you don’t know exact numbers. This is an estimate. Your premium will be adjusted at the end of the year based on your actual payroll.)
Consider your operating plans for the upcoming year.
If you have any plans to switch up what you’re doing, this is the time to let your insurance company know. Pivoting your business could put you in a different insurance classification, which will definitely affect what you pay for workers’ comp.
Changing what’s already working for your company can be intimidating. But switching to a pay-as-you-go workers’ comp plan can make a lot of sense. By integrating your payroll, your payment will automatically adjust to the proper amount each month. That means no big surprises at the end of the year. (Which is a good thing, right?)
Shop around for a new insurer
Finally, if you’re just not happy with the price you’re paying (or if you don’t like the service your insurer is providing) there’s no better time to shop around than at the end of a contract.
If you’re with a state fund because of prior workers’ comp claims, it’s worth looking around to see if you can get private insurance—especially if it’s been a while since your last claim.
But even if you’re already with a private carrier, it’s often worth getting some quotes to see if there’s a better deal on the market.