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Donco

Workers Comp Insurance

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I was wondering if Sign Contractors in other states are required to carry Workers Comp Insurance. Is so, how much do you pay a year?

Our company operates in the state of California where we are required to carry Workers Comp Insurance. Our yearly policy costs $60K.

We ultimately pass this cost on to our customers in our hourly rates. Our $150 an hour rate is considered high by some and we probably don’t get as much work because of it.

We implemented a Safety Program back in 2004 to train and protect our employees, and we have seen great results from it. Over the past 4 years we’ve had a total of 6 recordable incidents ranging from minor cuts that required stitches to a broken finger. Luckily we’ve never had a major incident where someone was seriously injured. (Knock on wood)

The medical cost for those 6 claims is about 1/10th what we have paid to the Insurance carrier in premiums. Unfortunately we did have one case back in 2003 that we felt was fraudulent (Shoulder injury) and took several years to resolve and cost over $150K.

We’ve had the same Insurance carrier (State Fund) for years, and they are not very proactive. I’ve had to make several phone calls and emails to adjustors to close out claims that have been resolved for over 2 years. Every year we request quotes from different insurance carriers, but none have a better price.

Lately, we’ve noticed new sign companies working in our area, and we’ve had one try to take business away from us. I just saw one at lunch replacing some lamps. Their truck didn’t have any company info on it, and I wanted to go talk with them and see if they had a Contractors license or Insurance.

Here’s a paragraph from our local newspaper on a Roofing Contractor who just got indicted for Workers Comp fraud.

Michael Vincent Petronella, 50, and his wife, Devon Lynn Kile, 42, were charged with 106 felony counts, including grand theft, lying on their tax returns and insurance fraud. Prosecutors said the goods – seized this week from a Laguna Hills villa, a Costa Mesa office and other properties – were purchased with ill-gotten gains from a $38 million workers' compensation insurance fraud scheme, the largest fraud scheme of its kind in California history.

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Washington State has Labor & Industries - our version of workers comp. Our premiums are about 25K for 12 employees. I do believe safety programs work, but L&I is way over the top. Two examples:

They made an ergonomics law a few years ago that had such stringent requirements for things like repetitive movements that the cost to implement the law would have been more than most small companies could afford. L&I hired lots of extra staff to enforce it (they like surprise visits). Then the law was repealed. L&I still has lots of extra staff - no layoffs there!

Last year they made a "heat stress" rule, that says if it's over 75degrees, you have to provide x amount of water per employee. No problem, all our outside guys have their own 2 gallon thermojugs. If it's over 80 degrees, employees can take a break when ever they like for as long as they like, until they feel cooler, or a mandatory 15 minutes out of each hour. The employer also has to provide them with a shady place with a fan (or air conditioning) to cool off. None of the studies that I've seen justify L&I spending the $ to hire / implement all these new rules, but no one will stop them.

*** sigh ***

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Workers Comp is expensive. I used to have State Fund back before Schwartzanegger reduced the insurance costs for business's, not sure what is is now per $100. I think at the time I was paying $36 per $100? I was single, salesmen, employees, trucks etc etc etc. I don't miss those days anymore, I like staying small and dodging all those overhead costs. I don't even understand how most business's make money these days, looks like they make money just to have to spend it. Unless your geared to take on huge jobs and have huge accounts, it's almost hard to make money staying a medium sized company.

That's why I'm basically a one man crew these days, I'll make more money without all the headache. My head spins when I think of the word "employee" these days


You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life. - Winston Churchill

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Used to be in Florida you could pull an exemption if you were a sole proprietor. Now you and two officers can still pull exemptions. But, you have to be incorporated.

I am on workman's comp right now. Spinal stenosis. The whole system makes you feel dirty either end your on. My former employer is has according to my lawyer a $500,000 deductable before the insurance kicks in. I don't know if that is true or not.

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I'm like eric we will just stick to a couple of employees to keep cost down


Installation & Maintenance Services

Brian Phillips | expresssignandneon@sbcglobal.net | P. 812-882-3278

Express Sign & Neon | 119 S. 15th Street - Vincennes - IN 47591

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I'm like eric we will just stick to a couple of employees to keep cost down

Employees?? What?? You mean you pay your wife to install your signs ???? That's just not right ---- Lori should do it out of "love".......................

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Washington State has Labor & Industries - our version of workers comp. Our premiums are about 25K for 12 employees. I do believe safety programs work, but L&I is way over the top. Two examples:

They made an ergonomics law a few years ago that had such stringent requirements for things like repetitive movements that the cost to implement the law would have been more than most small companies could afford. L&I hired lots of extra staff to enforce it (they like surprise visits). Then the law was repealed. L&I still has lots of extra staff - no layoffs there!

Last year they made a "heat stress" rule, that says if it's over 75degrees, you have to provide x amount of water per employee. No problem, all our outside guys have their own 2 gallon thermojugs. If it's over 80 degrees, employees can take a break when ever they like for as long as they like, until they feel cooler, or a mandatory 15 minutes out of each hour. The employer also has to provide them with a shady place with a fan (or air conditioning) to cool off. None of the studies that I've seen justify L&I spending the $ to hire / implement all these new rules, but no one will stop them.

*** sigh ***

That's ridiculous. Our policy: Work 'em till they drop and then tell the other guys to drag them off the job site. Of course, "they" is me. And the "other guys" is my wife. But she doesn't have any problem what-so-ever dragging my carcass out of the bucket and finishing up the install.

Seriously, we carry workers comp. But we don't have to pay anything close to what Donco pays.

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In WA state it's mandatory to have L&I insurance unless you are a sole proprietor. Or if you are big like Safeway or Boeing, you can "self insure" and skip the hassle.

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Here in Texas we pay right at 52K a year for workmans comp. , this is for 14 employees, along with 26K a year for liability insurance.

Trying to stay legal gets very expensive with all the rules and regulations.

Texas requires state issued electrical license and contractors license and you have to have the insurance to get them. Workmans comp is an option in Texas for a company but there is alot of red tape , reporting, and just the fact of worrying about losing your company due to an accident.

This industry has some of the highest rates due to the hazzards associated with it.

On a side note:

We lose jobs to "bootleggers" who carry neither. Trying to compete with them is impossiable and there are more and more getting into the market due to

larger companies laying off people and the layed of people opening up "garage shops" and lowballing. We have lost channel letter jobs that we (along with other legal companies) were 2x the price. When customers who get four quotes and three are all in the ballpark and one is half, something should click with them but it doesnt.

As was mentioned earlier, small to medium sized companies have a very hard time making a profit with the overhead cost.

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Workers comp sounds like a nightmare... and an expensive one at that.

In europe we don't need to pay for basic things like workers heathcare and sickness benefit because it's already covered by the state. I can't imagine having to pay 70 odd grand just to insure a dozen workers.... how on earth do you make a profit?

I presume you pay a lot of tax to your government on top of Workers Comp so I'm curious to know exactly what services and benefits you get in return for handing over your taxes?!

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Workers comp sounds like a nightmare... and an expensive one at that.

In europe we don't need to pay for basic things like workers heathcare and sickness benefit because it's already covered by the state. I can't imagine having to pay 70 odd grand just to insure a dozen workers.... how on earth do you make a profit?

I presume you pay a lot of tax to your government on top of Workers Comp so I'm curious to know exactly what services and benefits you get in return for handing over your taxes?!

Well, UK, we get the right to smile while we are being ....... well, never mind.

Edited by NBerg

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Well, UK, we get the right to smile while we are being ....... well, never mind.

Smile while being .....???? Hey, now, we're supposed to take these things seriously !!!

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Workers comp sounds like a nightmare... and an expensive one at that.

In europe we don't need to pay for basic things like workers heathcare and sickness benefit because it's already covered by the state. I can't imagine having to pay 70 odd grand just to insure a dozen workers.... how on earth do you make a profit?

I presume you pay a lot of tax to your government on top of Workers Comp so I'm curious to know exactly what services and benefits you get in return for handing over your taxes?!

Only one word comes to mind, well, two.

VIVA REVOLUTION!

It always happens when the people stop being fat and happy and turn hungry


You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life. - Winston Churchill

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