understanding your medical insurance policy

West Virginia Business Owners: 3 Reasons It's Time To Reevaluate Your Workers' Compensation Insurance Policy

by Peppi Halko

Do you own a business in West Virginia? If so, when was the last time you reviewed your workers' compensation insurance policy? Things have gotten a lot better for West Virginia business owners in need of Workers' Compensation insurance over the years. So if it's been a while, you could be missing out on some benefits if you don't take the time to do so. Check out these three ways West Virginia workers' compensation insurance is thriving.

More Options Than Ever Before

Prior to 2005, West Virginia was one of the few remaining states that held a monopoly on workers' compensation insurance. Any business owner with hired hands had to carry workers' compensation insurance, and they had to purchase that insurance through the 1 available provider -- the state of West Virginia's Workers' Compensation Commission.

In 2005, things got a little better when the state agreed to allow business owners to obtain private workers' compensation insurance policies, and turned the Workers' Compensation Commission into the first privately-owned insurance provider to offer worker's compensation insurance. Although this new entity offered more policy options than the former state-owned workers' compensation commission, options were still limited as the company remained the only private workers' compensation insurance provider for 2 years after its founding.

In 2008, however, West Virginia opened its doors to any insurance provider licensed with the state to partake in the workers' compensation insurance market. Since then, this once-monopolized industry has grown to encompass over 260 privately-owned insurance providers that now offer business owners in West Virginia workers' compensation insurance policies.

Cheaper Insurance Premiums 

Who do you suppose the privatization of workers' compensation in West Virginia benefited? It benefited everybody. Because workers' compensation claims are now handled by several smaller entities as opposed to 1 state-run program, policies are far more catered to individual industry needs. Workers in higher-risk jobs have policies that cover more risks, so they can get the care they need quickly and be out of work for a shorter amount of time.

And because there are more policy classes to choose from, business owners who employ people in low-risk jobs no longer have to spend on policies that cover more risk than they need. In fact, West Virginia business owners have seen 10 policy rate reductions since workers' compensation insurance was privatized, saving them a combined total of $280 million. How is the state doing since the changes? Great! Under the old, monopolized system, West Virginia was heading for bankruptcy. Since privatization, though, they've become a national role model for workers' compensation reform.

Special Considerations For Hard-To-Place Industries

Do you think you'll have a hard time switching workers' compensation insurance carriers because you employ people in a hard-to-place industry? Under West Virginia's old workers' compensation system, there were 94 risk class codes to choose from. Under the new policy, though, where you can select your provider from a list of many, there are over 400 different risk classes to choose from. Hard-to-place industries aren't so hard to place anymore because chances are there is an insurance company out there that has already written a policy specifically tailored to your industry's individualized risks.

For example, if you work in the high-risk asbestos abatement industry, you'll probably pay a bit more for your policy than somebody who employs only office workers. But you'll likely spend less on your policy than you would have under West Virginia's old workers' compensation system, and your employees will have coverage for any work-related injury or illness they may encounter. If one of your employees is injured or falls ill at work, they'll be able to access and afford prompt medical attention and get back to work as soon as possible. 

If you're a business owner in West Virginia and you haven't updated your workers' compensation insurance policy in a while, it's time to do so. West Virginia workers' compensation insurance has undergone great transformations, making it more thorough, tailored, and cheaper than ever before.

For more information about hard to place workers' compensation, contact a company like Tailored Solutions.