Without workers’ compensation insurance, your small business could go out of business as a result of just one work-related employee incident.
With dozens of companies offering workers' compensation coverage, you want to make sure you’re getting optimal protection. We’ll help you decide which insurance companies offer the best workers’ comp insurance for small business.
Recommended: Use an online insurance provider to get an accurate quote on workers’ comp coverage. Get an online quote.
Top 5 Companies for Workers' Compensation Coverage
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1. Next Insurance: Best Workers' Compensation Insurance Company
Next Insurance is a new kid on the block, founded in 2016 and operating exclusively online. Its platform uses advanced algorithms to tailor workers' compensation policies in a process that takes just a few minutes.
The company tends to cater to the small business sector and offers a wide range of online small business insurance from as low as $11/month. Getting a quote and signing is easy and can be completed in just a few minutes. Certificates of insurance are instantly available to download online, as well. Next Insurance allows the addition of an extra certificate holder for free.
Another reason Next Insurance takes our top spot for best workers’ compensation insurance is their excellent customer service. Both small business owners and employees have reported high customer satisfaction with Next Insurance coverage and claims. A recent survey found the company performed well over a range of key performance indicators (KPIs):
|Overall satisfaction||4.7||Online experience||5|
|Claims experience||4.2||Price/value for money||4.8|
|Will renew their policy||100%||Highest score is 5|
Next Insurance reduces costs by the direct relationship it facilitates with clients, who need not go through either brokers or agents. With Next, your workers' compensation insurance policy can also be tailored to fit your unique business needs. The company is the first and only small business insurance company to earn AM Best ratings of "A-" Excellent based on Financial Strength and Long-Term Issuer Credit.
With Next, small business owners have access to USA-based licensed insurance advisors, tools, and services, such as 24/7 access to certificates of insurance from a mobile device or computer and in-house claims filings where a decision is typically made within 48 hours.
Next Insurance is named the best workers' compensation insurance provider because of the company’s good performance across a wide range of measures, award-winning customer service, and affordable workers' comp premiums.
- Technologically advanced
- Responsive customer service
- Submitting a claim is easy
- Customer-friendly website
- Extensive range of products
- Access to a real-time updated certificate of insurance (COI)
- Excellent pricing
- Risk management resources are available online
- Coverage effective in minutes
- Apps make signing up and filing claims easy
- Affordable premiums designed for small businesses
- Policies can be customized
- Online chat support is available
- Doesn’t offer pay-as-you-go policies tied to current payroll
- No brick-and-mortar locations/branches for in-person transactions
- Not the best fit for policyholders who prefer to work with agents
- Relatively new insurance company
2. Tivly: Best Workers' Compensation Insurance Marketplace
Tivly is an online insurance broker with access to large network of workers' compensation insurance companies. The company does not provide insurance coverage directly. Geared especially to small businesses, its online platform allows owners to get quotes from actual insurance providers. By doing so, it acts as a one-stop shop, saving you the time of contacting multiple workers' compensation insurance companies to compare costs.
This popular insurance marketplace finds business insurance products to match your needs on behalf of provider partners, ensuring that all policy information is securely held in one cloud-based location. The company has partnered with over 200 carriers, including The Hartford, Liberty Mutual, Progressive, and Gallagher.
If you want to compare quotes without having to spend hours sifting through workers' compensation providers, Tivly might be for you. Customer support is available through phone, email, and an online account if you prefer a more personal touch.
Tivly was founded in 2009 and is based in Oklahoma City. It has a Better Business Bureau rating of A+ and has been accredited by the organization since 2010. It is licensed for operations in all states (with the exception of Alaska and Hawaii). In California and New York, the company conducts business under the name of Norman Commercial Insurance Agency.net
The company promotes workers' compensation insurance as “a way to motivate your employees and boost your business performance” in its recently published guide to workers' comp. The guide details the factors that determine workers' comp insurance costs, including:
- State laws
- Business activity and industry
- Number of employees – costs are directly related to numbers & payroll
- Safety record
- Experience and status of selected insurance company
- One-stop shop for workers' comp insurance
- Extensive price and benefit comparisons
- Access to a wide range of policies
- Easy quote process: by phone or form on website
- Checks a wide range of providers to compare benefits and costs
- Over 200 insurance provider partners
- Wide range of policy options
- Affordable policies
- Good customer service
- No mobile app
- No tools for managing multiple policies from different providers
- Not an insurance provider: coverage provided by third party
- Relatively new
3. The Hartford: Best Traditional Brick-and-Mortar Insurer
The Hartford takes its name from the town in Connecticut, where it began operations as a fire insurance company in 1810. The company is part of the Hartford Financial Services Group, a Fortune 500 company, which is the 13th-largest property and casualty insurance company in the United States. The Hartford’s products are sold mainly through agents and brokers.
Owing to its long history, The Hartford has acquired a considerable amount of expertise doing business with doctors’ offices and other providers of healthcare services. In fact, over 100,000 small medical businesses are covered by The Hartford’s workers' comp policies. As a result, workers under one of its plans enjoy access to dedicated case managers and a wide range of pharmaceutical services, providing them with the best possible care at some of the worst times.
The Hartford has a well-earned reputation for service and reliability. The company has an A+ rating from AM Best and, based on direct written premiums, is the second-largest workers’ compensation insurance provider in the US. Read our full The Hartford review to learn more about their business insurance products.
- Preferred medical provider network
- Links to over 65,000 US pharmacies
- Access to nurse case managers
- Pay-as-you-go billing option
- Online quotes
Visit The Hartford for pricing and policy information.
Zurich is a global insurance company headquartered in Switzerland, with operations in 210 countries and an A+ Superior rating by AM Best. The company has gained a well-earned reputation as a top-class risk management enterprise. It fields an army of more than 700 risk analysts who will travel to your site and suggest solutions to potential exposures.
Remote assessment is also possible using the Zurich Insurance App available for both Android and iOS. Using the app, business owners can take pictures of potentially hazardous conditions and receive an expert review in a matter of minutes. The app also employs QR codes to let employees pull up and sign any state- or loss-specific forms, making it especially useful for projects and preferable for the construction industry.
In many instances, this proactive risk assessment reduces premiums. In the absence of the information it provides, an insurer will assess a risk as “average,” which incorporates the very worst outcomes. This penalizes companies that are safety compliant.
Unfortunately, Zurich does not provide online business insurance quotes; quotes are only available by talking to an agent. Also, in recent times, the company has had a complaints rate that is higher than average. Regardless, it continues to attract clients — Zurich is the fourth-largest provider of workers' comp insurance in the US. Zurich offers workers' comp policies with global reach, so employees who are injured while traveling overseas on company business can be covered.
- Specialized app for risk management
- Nearly 150 years of insurance operations
- Agents have access to Zurich’s database for quick quoting
Visit Zurich for pricing and policy information.
5. biBERK Insurance Services
biBERK Insurance Services is a good choice for small business workers’ compensation. Employers can purchase workers' comp insurance online in a matter of minutes, bundle workers’ compensation with other business insurance policies, and save a significant amount of money over buying plans from other companies. What’s more, it is a Berkshire Hathaway company, which means it’s financially stable and run by a strong management team.
The Berkshire Hathaway Group has an “A++” rating — the highest designation — from AM Best, biBERK combines the institutional experience of the Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate with a modern technology-driven approach to insurance, allowing policies to be issued in minutes.
The company’s aim is to provide a simple online experience that allows employers to obtain quotes and file claims quickly. For those who prefer to deal with a person, agents are available to field queries and offer advice. After signing up, the certificate of insurance is easily downloaded.
biBERK underwrites insurance risks in-house. The company provides insurance directly; it is not a broker or marketplace. This, says the company, allows its rates for workers' comp insurance to be up to 20% less than competitors. biBERK insurance policies are available in most states, except North Dakota, Ohio, Washington, and Wyoming.
- Online quotes available
- Buy workers' compensation insurance online
- File claims online
- Certificate of Insurance can be downloaded anytime
Visit biBERK for pricing and policy information.
When comparing our top choices for workers’ comp insurance, providers were ranked using a range of factors, including:
- Availability and range of products
- Accessibility to products and ancillary services
- Benefits and prices
- Customer service
- Payment of claims
- Overall client satisfaction
Workers’ Compensation Benefits and Coverage
In most states, small businesses are legally required to carry workers' compensation if they have employees. The two exceptions are South Dakota and Texas. Also in Ohio, Wyoming, Washington, and North Dakota, workers' compensation coverage must be purchased from the state rather than private insurance companies. Check our list to find out more about requirements for business insurance by state.
Workers' comp coverage typically includes medical expenses and partial lost wages in the event of a work-related injury or illness. Workers' compensation premiums vary depending mostly on business activities, payroll, and location. On average, workers' compensation insurance cost will be about $1 per $100 of payroll.
Workers' compensation insurance is beneficial for both employer and employee. Small business owners are protected from claims by injured employees. Employees can rest assured knowing they have medical benefits and financial support after workplace injuries.
Employee benefits can also pass to immediate family in the form of death benefits, including funeral and burial expenses, if an employee dies on the job. Unlike other types of business insurance, a workers' compensation claim can be paid out regardless of who is at fault, giving employees peace of mind knowing that they're protected no matter what.
Workers' Comp Insurance FAQ
What is workers' compensation insurance?
Workers' compensation insurance defrays the cost of medical and rehabilitation services, as well as lost wages that a worker may need after being injured in the workplace. In addition, it protects business owners from significant financial losses by barring workers from suing. A wide range of injuries are covered from the most serious, such as those that cause death, to relatively minor injuries, such as carpal tunnel.
What does workers' compensation insurance cover?
Workers' compensation insurance covers a wide range of costs, including medical expenses, lost wages, rehabilitation costs, retraining costs, employer liability, and death benefits.
What is not covered by workers’ comp?
Workers’ compensation insurance covers a wide range of situations, but not all injuries that take place on the job are covered. These vary from state to state according to state laws but, in general, an injury received in a fight started by the worker or due to being intoxicated in the workplace or one he has deliberately inflicted will not be covered by workers' compensation:
- Injuries an employee sustains
- Injuries an employee gets intentionally
- Emotional injuries that are not accompanied by a physical workplace trauma
I am self-employed — do I need workers' compensation coverage?
Despite the name, workers' compensation is available for the self-employed person who has no workers. Workers’ comp insurance for the self-employed can be taken out by sole proprietors and independent contractors who work alone to mitigate losses due to a work-related injury or illness. The coverage pays lost wages and medical bills related to the injury and allows the self-employed a better chance of keeping his business afloat when his earnings fall.
What factors determine the cost of workers' compensation insurance?
The following factors are taken in consideration by insurance carriers in setting rates for workers' compensation insurance: number of workers; business activities and job functions; dollar amount of payroll; where the business is located; and the company’s claims history.
What is a pay-as-you-go workers' compensation policy?
A pay-as-you-go workers' compensation policy is one that offers more accurate premiums. Typically, premiums are based on the estimated annual payroll amount. But the payroll amount is unlikely to remain static. It will change in response to workforce changes.
For some businesses, particularly those that have shed employees, this means costs will be higher than warranted. Insurance carriers, typically, solve this problem by year-end adjustments. This can come as a surprise to some employers who have expanded their workforce when they receive a billing for the extra premiums. A pay-as-you-go policy offers an alternative way to deal with this issue by making premium adjustments soon after workforce numbers change.
Does a pay-as-you-go policy offer a different type of coverage from regular workers' compensation insurance?
Coverage on a pay-as-you-go workers' comp policy is no different from that of customary policies. A pay-as-you-go policy simply assesses the charge for premiums quicker in order to make the charge more precise.
Who pays for workers’ compensation insurance?
Although it is for the benefit of both employer and employee, it is the employer who bears the cost to provide coverage for workers' compensation. Most states require employers to have workers' compensation insurance, unless the employer can prove it has the resources to indemnify its workers. States will typically certify such employers as being “self-insured.”
What does it mean when an employer is ‘self-insured’?
A self-insured employer under a workers' compensation scheme is an employer that is prepared to bear the financial risk of potential workers’ claims if they are injured on the job. Self-insured employers need to have considerable liquid funds, since their liability is open-ended and exists even where they are not at fault.
What are the requirements for an employer to be eligible for self-insured status?
Requirements vary by state, but typically require evidence of strong financial standing. In New York, for example, the employer must have:
- Three years in business in a legally authorized business form (e.g., corporation, partnership, proprietorship, non-profit);
- Proof of current worker’ compensation coverage;
- No outstanding procedural or compliance penalties;
- A Moody’ rating of A3, S&P rating of A- or greater at time of application. If a published rating is not available, an equivalent rating using credit risk assessment tools such as Moody’ RiskCalc may be used;
- Tangible net worth must exceed seven times the greater of three-year average gross claims payments or annual premium paid;
- Three years of certified, independently audited financial statements with auditor’ opinion absent of negative qualifications; and
- Safety program maintained by the employer for the prevention of accidents.
Can an injured employee still receive workers' compensation benefits if they are at fault?
No. Workers' compensation claims are paid regardless of who is at fault. Employees can begin to receive partial disability benefits from the moment they suffer work-related injuries. The amount received is not dependent upon the business's financial standing or claims history.
What are the penalties an employer faces for failing to have workers' compensation insurance?
States levy heavy penalties on employers that fail to buy workers' comp insurance.
- In Florida, the penalty is double the premium that would have been paid, with a minimum penalty of $1,000.
- In New York, violation of state laws may result in criminal liability, or closure of business.
- In California also, failing to have workers' compensation coverage is a criminal offense. The California Labor Code makes not having a workers' comp policy a misdemeanor punishable by either a fine of not less than $10,000 or imprisonment in the county jail for up to one year, or both.