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Workers Comp Premium Refunds Due To COVID Crisis


Carriers Providing Workers Comp Premium Refunds Due To Coronavirus Shutdowns?

One of the most common questions we received since March from employers – Are carriers providing Workers Comp premium refunds due to the COVID crisis?  Is there a formula to know how much we are receiving?  Are states mandating carriers to provide refunds?  When should we expect a refund?


workers comp premium refunds coronavirus picture
Wikimedia Commons Felipe Esquivel Reed

My answer to almost all the questions was – it depends.  We assisted three different carriers and two captives with providing refunds over the last few weeks/months.   I will answer each of the questions from the first paragraph.

Please remember that I did not read every states’ rules on any COVID-19 crisis premium adjustments.

Carriers Providing Workers Comp Premium Refunds?

Yes, some carriers provided refunds to their insureds.  If the employers provided records showing that:

  • Payroll was significantly reduced
  • Job duties changed – for example from a manufacturing job to a telecommuter job 
  • Employees were kept on payroll even though no work was performed
  • Business closure

Unless I am mistaken, most carriers wanted some type of records showing a payroll or job classification change before finalizing any refunds or credits.

Formula For The Amount of the Premium Refund?

No, there was no set formula that I have seen to date.  I think the states left the process to the carrier.  Some states required a spreadsheet to show what each employer in their state received back from the carrier.

Are States Mandating That Carriers Provide Refunds?

Not all.  Many employers did not suffer a downturn in payroll and did not change their employee’s jobs.  California Insurance Commissioner Lara mandated a refund if one was owed.    Most of the Insurance Commissions asked or required that insurers be flexible during these unprecedented times.

When Should We Expect Our Refund or Credit?

Tower of Workers Comp Premium Refunds used books
Wikimedia Commons – Jorge Royan

That is a tough question. To speed up the process, if you have not heard from your carrier or agent, organize your records, and contact your agent pronto.  Use emails for documentation purposes.

Most worker’s comp carriers have a COVID-19 contact page.  I know it is a tough time to do this – but good records are going to help your company.

Excel spreadsheets are beyond critical for the organization of your records.

Do not wait to hear if you have not heard from your Workers Comp carrier by now.   Most are very busy processing payroll and job change premium reductions.

What Should We Do Right Now?

Be proactive.  See the last section for beginning the process to obtain your workers comp premium refunds.  Reach out to your carrier or agent.


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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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