Should Ohio Agents Be asking about their client’s workers compensation?

By Ken Kukral

Being a monopolistic state (no private carriers allowed to write in Ohio), most agents have completely ignored discussing workers compensation with their clients.  Is this wise?  I do not hear about any movement to take Ohio to a competitive workers compensation state, but that does not mean you should completely ignore this aspect of your clients risk profile.  Some things to think about:

 

  • Most likely you have discussed group rated workers compensation with your client and have placed them in one of these programs. Did you realize that not all group rated WC programs offer the same amount of discounts?  Have you researched other programs to see what might be best for them?
  • Did you know that high deductible programs are available within the Ohio Workers Compensation Program? If your client is looking to control losses and costs of coverage, this may be an option you want to explore.
  • Did you know that “retro” programs are available through the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation? A more sophisticated client may want to explore how this option can control their losses and costs over the long run.
  • If your client is over 500 employees, have you explores self-insuring for WC? (Including and excess WC policy). This is only for larger insured’s, but is a very viable option to control their WC cost for the long run.
  • Does your Ohio insured ever have employees that go outside Ohio? In the past an endorsement was offered by the OH BWC but a number of states may not be willing to accept this as “valid” coverage.  Here is a document that lists what states “recognize” this coverage:  http://www.ohiopia.com/Uploads/Documents/Advocacy/BWC_OSC_Reciporocal_Exempt_Statutes.pdf  Since March 1, 2016 you can now purchase “All other States coverage” through the OH BWC.  If they have locations in other states you would not need this, but just about every insured I know of does some traveling outside Ohio.
  • Do they have stop gap liability coverage? I am running into more accounts that do not have the coverage on their policy and have a significant coverage gap.  While exposure for intentional torts has lessened, there are still the other gaps (action over claims, compensatory damages and dual capacity claims) and clients need the coverage.
  • Does your client travel internationally on business? If so, then you should look at an international package which provides voluntary employers liability.  There are so many other lines of coverage provided in these policies that it is super cost effective and should be discussed with a client.
  • What about loss control and risk management in the workers compensation area? What difference does it make since you aren’t writing coverage in this area?   First of all if a client’s loss ratio goes up they could be dropped from their group rated WC program.  This can bring about a shocking premium increase.  Secondly, wouldn’t this help differentiate you from other agents?  If you or a trusted vendor could provide these services at a reasonable cost, wouldn’t this help tie you more to a client?  Also, isn’t WC a portion of your clients overall cost of risk (Premiums, deductible portions of losses and uncovered losses)?  It is still money going out of your clients pockets and anything you can do to help control those costs is ultimately helping your client.
  • Is your client less likely to go to another agent when they do expand outside Ohio? If you have been involved with the WC for your client, it is just natural they will contact you rather than looking for another agent in the new territory.
  • Can WC claims lead to EPLI claims? Getting an injured employee back to work is important and the risk of a separation of employment (wrongful termination) increases the longer they are out.
  • What about OSHA compliance? OSHA fines are not covered by insurance and could hurt your client’s bank account, not to mention their image and reputation.  Same with exposure to VSSR (Violation of Specific Safety Requirements) claims, which can be significant.

 

Think these issues are not important to your clients?  Think again.  Helping your client with their workers compensation exposure and coverage is of great importance to them.  Be ready and involved so that if the Ohio workers compensation market goes to a competitive market, then you are already involved and helping them out in this area.

Ken KukralKenneth Kukral, CIC – VP of Special Risks – That means, call me if you need help on placing a unique, difficult, large or more complex risk. Kennethkukral@intlxs.com  800-937-3497 ext 2079

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