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Worker’s Comp Policy Questions – Readers Top 10 Questions


Worker’s Comp Policy Questions Received From Readers and Google Searchers

The number of Worker’s Comp policy questions we receive by email, contact form, and phone always increases exponentially from July through September of each year.  I decided to answer some of the questions received over the last three years.

Is reading my Worker’s Comp policy worth the time?

painting workers comp policy questions bug search
US Congressional Library – WD Goldbeck painter

Yes.  If you look at the policy as a contract between you and the insurance company, the perspective might change a little.   The review will be worth your time.   When companies continually review their worker’s comp information, we usually note a drop in their premiums, or what their premiums would have been without the policy review process.

When should we start the policy review process?

Pull up your policy now on your computer, phone, or tablet, or print it out for the old-school review.  Read it using a very powerful policy review tool. Check here for that tool.   Great, now read the policy From the back to the front.   Yes, read it backward.  Why?  Because many readers with worker’s comp policy questions stop in the middle.

Can I just let my agent review the policy for me?

Do not leave the policy review solely to your agent.  Most of the agencies we assist love the fact that their client insureds involve themselves with the policy process.  I have never heard an agent not want a client to become more involved in a policy procurement process.   99% of the agents want your feedback.    As mentioned in the previous heading, insureds usually see a premium reduction just by becoming more involved in the policy process.

Make sure that you or someone that you assign in your company to fill out your insurance application answers all the questions on the application fully.  Your agent should not let any blanks on an application go unanswered before submitting it to the insurance carrier.

Important Worker’s Comp Policy Question -Is the Declarations Page all I need to review?

The Dec Page represents the “meat” of the policy.   Let us call it the main part of the policy.   Only reading the Dec Page compares to test-driving a car without lifting the hood.  Your company needs to review the policy beyond just the Dec Page.

If you only have a limited amount of time, then review the Dec Page first.

We receive Policy Change Notifications infrequently – Are those considered part of the policy review?

Picture of three women workers comp policy questions reviewing papers
Wikimedia Commons – John Budnik

Most definitely.   The last section of the policy is referred to as Endorsements.  Endorsements to the policy change the original policy.  Endorsements may also change the prior endorsements.   We recommend an old-school review of any endorsements.  Endorsements remain just as important as the Dec Page.  Print them out.  Review them very closely.  Most endorsements cover minor changes.  Some can be major.

For example, if your company’s operations move into a new state, the policy may be endorsed to include coverage for that state.

A policy can be endorsed an unlimited number of times.

You mentioned policy parts – what are those?

Think of the acronym DICEE.  I learned the parts of ANY policy many years ago using this acronym.   Your auto, home, etc. policies all have these same parts.

  • Declarations including definitions
  • Inclusions also called Insuring Agreements
  • Conditions,
  • Exclusions and
  • Endorsements.

Check here for some great reading on the parts of a policy.   Some policies also contain policy forms, riders, and jackets.

What if I do not have the time to read a long boring policy?

Open Book of workers comp policy questions with magnifying glass above
Public Domain – Julo

Can you delegate it to a co-worker or assistant?  One of the best ways to have someone to review your policies – not just for Worker’s Comp policy questions – is by hiring a college intern.  Do not ask them to work for free.   Give them a little training before they start.  Let them use this blog as a reference tool.

We have incorporated many ideas that originated with a college intern asking questions and adding value such as incredible spreadsheets for analysis and other great contributions.

The “outside looking in” vantage point of a college intern makes a company rethink some of its operations.

We want to switch carriers in the middle of our policy term –  Can we switch?

Yes, but almost all carriers charge what is called a short rate penalty for changing to another carrier mid-policy.   The penalty can be very substantial until near the end of your policy period.   The short rate penalty + the new policy premium total a large chunk of the budget.  You may also alienate your agent from your business operations.

We do not want to discourage your company from making business decisions such as moving a policy other than the financial considerations.

How do premium audits fit into a policy review?

An employer should think of a premium audit as the final closing process of the policy.   Premium audit results and bills should be thought of as the most important Endorsement to your policy.   Premium audits should be reviewed line-by-line with the premium auditor’s workpapers as a guide.   We provided a large number of articles on premium audits for your review.

We just received our Rating Bureau Worksheets – What do we do with those?

Man writing on sheets workers comp policy questions on the table
Wikimedia – Public Domain

The rating bureau worksheets should be viewed as another policy endorsement of sorts.  Your experience modification factor represents your risk factor.  The E-Mod or X-Mod can cause your company to pay a large amount of additional premium.   Reviewing the worksheets can be a confusing task.

Bonus  Worker’s Comp Policy Questions – What Is The First Step To A Policy Review?

Just getting involved with the worker’s comp policy process can be a good first step.   Health insurance seemed to be the most important budget item.  Now, employers have become more inquisitive about this large piece of their budget.    We now receive many more worker’s comp policy questions than even 18 months ago.

Also, take a look at the Workers Comp Frequently Asked Questions.

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James J Moore - Workers Comp Expert

Raleigh, NC, United States

About The Author...

James founded a Workers’ Compensation consulting firm, J&L Risk Management Consultants, Inc. in 1996. J&L’s mission is to reduce our clients’ Workers Compensation premiums by using time-tested techniques. J&L’s claims, premium, reserve and Experience Mod reviews have saved employers over $9.8 million in earned premiums over the last three years. J&L has saved numerous companies from bankruptcy proceedings as a result of insurance overpayments.

James has over 27 years of experience in insurance claims, audit, and underwriting, specializing in Workers’ Compensation. He has supervised, and managed the administration of Workers’ Compensation claims, and underwriting in over 45 states. His professional experience includes being the Director of Risk Management for the North Carolina School Boards Association. He created a very successful Workers’ Compensation Injury Rehabilitation Unit for school personnel.

James’s educational background, which centered on computer technology, culminated in earning a Masters of Business Administration (MBA); an Associate in Claims designation (AIC); and an Associate in Risk Management designation (ARM). He is a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) and a licensed financial advisor. The NC Department of Insurance has certified him as an insurance instructor. He also possesses a Bachelors’ Degree in Actuarial Science.

LexisNexis has twice recognized his blog as one of the Top 25 Blogs on Workers’ Compensation. J&L has been listed in AM Best’s Preferred Providers Directory for Insurance Experts – Workers Compensation for over eight years. He recently won the prestigious Baucom Shine Lifetime Achievement Award for his volunteer contributions to the area of risk management and safety. James was recently named as an instructor for the prestigious Insurance Academy.

James is on the Board of Directors and Treasurer of the North Carolina Mid-State Safety Council. He has published two manuals on Workers’ Compensation and three different claims processing manuals. He has also written and has been quoted in numerous articles on reducing Workers’ Compensation costs for public and private employers. James publishes a weekly newsletter with 7,000 readers.

He currently possess press credentials and am invited to various national Workers Compensation conferences as a reporter.

James’s articles or interviews on Workers’ Compensation have appeared in the following publications or websites:

  • Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS)
  • Entrepreneur Magazine
  • Bloomberg Business News
  • WorkCompCentral.com
  • Claims Magazine
  • Risk & Insurance Magazine
  • Insurance Journal
  • Workers Compensation.com
  • LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites
  • Various trade publications


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