New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Rates to Go Down 5.3% on 1/1

From our friends at the workcompcentral.com…

Insurance Commission Approves Rate Decrease of 5.3%

The New Jersey commissioner of banking and insurance has approved an overall 5.3% decrease in workers’ compensation rates, effective Jan. 1.

The reduction is the third straight annual decrease, and will likely be seen as good news by employers. New Jersey has consistently ranked as one of the most expensive for workers’ compensation insurance, according to the 2018 Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services’ premium ranking report, which came out in October.

The New Jersey Compensation Rating and Inspection Bureau said in a circular this week that the 2019 decrease is based on experience and the trend toward fewer claims, although an increase in maximum weekly benefits will increase costs slightly.

The manufacturing sector will see the biggest decline, with an average rate decrease of 8%, the bureau said. Office and clerical will see a 7.5% drop, followed by maritime and rail workers, at 5.5%

There will be no change to catastrophe provisions, but the minimum premium multiplier will increase, from 170 to 180.

“The change to premium resulting from the new minimum premium multiplier is minimal and does not impact the overall rate level,” the circular noted.

ACORD Form 130- Ceasing Disability and Age Questions

Should Disability and Age Questions be removed from the Acord-130 forms? That is the question California has. Is it violating discrimination laws? What are you thoughts?

 


 

NOTICE
To: ALL WORKERS’ COMPENSATION INSURERS, INSURANCE AGENTS AND BROKERS, AND OTHER INTERESTED PARTIES
Date:  November 14, 2018
Subject: Request to Cease Collecting Responses to Questions Regarding Disability and Age on ACORD Form 130

The Association for Cooperative Operations Research and Development (ACORD) promulgated Form 130 (2013/09) (Form 130) for use by insurers and producers as an application for workers’ compensation insurance coverage. Form 130 requests employer applicants to respond to several questions including the following:
10. ANY EMPLOYEES UNDER 16 OR OVER 60 YEARS OF AGE?
13. ANY EMPLOYEES WITH PHYSICAL HANDICAPS?

If used for rating purposes, the information elicited by questions 10 and 13 on Form 130 would violate Insurance Code section 11735, subdivision (d) that provides:
Notwithstanding Section 679.70, no rating organization may issue, nor may any insurer use, any classification system or rate, as applied or used, that violates Section 679.71 or 679.72 or that violates the Unruh Civil Rights Act.

Insurance Code section 679.72 provides that no application for insurance used by an insurer to determine the insurability of an applicant shall carry any identification, or any requirement therefor, of any characteristic listed or defined in subdivision (b) of Section 51 of the Civil Code with respect to the applicant. The characteristics listed or defined in Civil Code section 51 (b) include, but are not limited to, ‘disability,’ and ‘medical condition.’ Even though the Unruh Act (Cal Civil Code §51 et seq.) does not delineate ‘age’ as a prohibited characteristic, the Unruh Act may be applicable in situations in which business establishments make classifications based on age. Moreover, employers may violate California’s anti-discrimination laws if they ask their employees to provide the information sought by questions 10 and 13 on Form 130.

The information collected on Form 130 is shared with the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) for the purpose of its research on statistics relating to workers’ compensation policies from states that participate in its data collection program. California is not, however, a NCCI participating state and the NCCI does not use data collected from California for its research. Additionally, the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California (WCIRB) does not use the data collected in response to questions 10 and 13 on Form 130, and since 1994 the State Compensation Insurance Fund (SCIF) has instructed interested parties not to collect responses to questions 10 and 13 on Form 130. As a result, the information requested by questions 10 and 13 on Form 130 is not used by the various rating agencies that generally analyze country-wide workers’ compensation data or that specifically analyze California workers’ compensation data.

Although the continued use of Form 130 in California generally is not objectionable, because the information requested by questions 10 and 13 on Form 130 is not utilized by the NCCI, the WCIRB or SCIF and California employers may violate the State’s anti-discrimination laws by requesting such information from their employees, insurers, agents and brokers are encouraged not to collect answers to questions 10 and 13 on Form 130 and for California employers to refrain from seeking such information from their employees.

Questions regarding this Notice should be directed to workcompquestions@insurance.ca.gov.

Recent Fraud Scheme Targeting PEOs

Alert for all members in the PEO industry.

A company purporting to be Teak Transport out of Ohio has recently scammed or attempted to scam multiple PEOs across the United States. Please be vigilant in your prospect review process.

Here are a few basic suggestions to help you protect against fraud.

  1. Beware of prospects who are pressing you to provide your services (especially payroll only) ASAP.
  2. Take time to research the prospective client, the company, and the employees. Make sure to research the business entity with the Secretary of State where the business is located. Google is your friend.
  3. Require secured funds for payroll payments from new clients. Wire transfers are a commonly used method in the industry.
  4. Set up a call with the bank and the client (and get the contact information for the bank from a source other than the client).
  5. Consider requiring an up-front deposit or onboarding fee.
  6. Beware of prospects who are unwilling to participate in a face-to-face meeting.
  7. Pay card requests for an entire workforce are suspicious, too.
  8. Educate your employees on the process within your PEO on vetting prospects. Make sure to have a gatekeeper who monitors the prospects/new “clients” and understands the warning signs of suspicious behavior.

If you are a target of a scam, please consider making a complaint to the FBI’s Internet Crimes Complaint Center (IC3). IC3 ensures access to the complaints by all of the FBI’s field offices, which is important when victims are across the U.S. The website is www.ic3.gov.

Be on the lookout for further best practices from NAPEO. If you would like to discuss this or any fraud perpetrated against your PEO, please contact ffielder@napeo.org.

Florida comp rate cut 13.8% in commissioner’s final order

It’s official…effective January 1st, workers’ compensation rates in Florida will decrease by -13.8%.  We will share the new rates as soon as we get our hands on them.

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Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier has issued a final order for a 13.8% workers compensation rate decrease for 2019.

This applies to both new and renewing workers comp policies effective in the state as of Jan. 1, according to a statement issued on Friday by the Office of Insurance Regulation.

The final rate reduction is slightly larger than the 13.4% decline submitted by the National Council on Compensation Insurance in August.

Workers compensation rates in the state have been significantly impacted in recent years by two major court decisions: in Marvin Castellanos v. Next Door Co. et al., the Florida Supreme Court ruled 5-2 that Florida’s mandatory attorney fee schedule was unconstitutional while in Bradley Westphal v. City of St. Petersburg, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that the state’s 104-week cap on temporary total disability benefits was unconstitutional.

Tennessee Insurance Commissioner Approve 19% Comp Rate Cut

It’s official…comp rates in Tennessee will be dropping -19% as of 3/1/19.  See more below from Business Insurance News.

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Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak has approved a 19% reduction in workers compensation rates in the state.

The 19% reduction was recommended by the National Council on Compensation Insurance in August and the commissioner approved the decrease on Oct. 31, according to a statement issued by the department on Monday. The reduction will become effective on March 1.

Previous reductions of 12.6% and 12.8% were approved for 2018 and 2017, respectively, according to the statement.

Rate reductions have been attributed to reforms of the state’s workers comp system and fewer significant workplace injuries, according to the statement.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance 13.8% Rate Decrease for 2019

See below from FAPEO’s Robert Skrob regarding the impending workers’ compensation rate decrease in Florida.

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier issued an Order Friday notifying the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) that its 2019 rate filing proposing a 13.4 percent decrease, if amended by November 7, 2018, will be approved as a slightly larger workers’ compensation rate decrease of 13.8 percent. Approval of a revised rate decrease is contingent on the amended filing being submitted with changes as stipulated within the Order. If approved by OIR, the revised rate decrease would become effective on January 1, 2019, for new and renewal business.

Small Business Is Booming: Building a Bigger Team Will Take It Further

Please enjoy the below article published in the Times Square Chronicles.

Small Business Is Booming: Building a Bigger Team Will Take It Further

Despite the trade war, rising interest rates, and other economic issues, the small business is looking good. The National Federation of Independent Businesses Small Business Optimism Index reached a record high in September. The rate of job satisfaction is also growing nationwide, indicates a survey from The Conference Board. In the light of this, small businesses that want to expand are currently facing a great opportunity.

Adding to the team is one of the main elements of success when taking this step. Using data from the abovementioned survey can show one the way to making their company more attractive. Technology and specialized services will be the main tools in the quest of recruiting valuable talent.

4 Ways a Small Business in the US Can Use to Attract New Talent

1.    Choose telecommuting

Ease of commute to work is the second most important factor for job satisfaction. Other data also shows that the number of freelancers is growing (Small Business Trends). That’s because no commute at all is the easiest and most comfortable option.

Offering this option to prospective employees gives small businesses a chance to recruit outstanding talent. Not only does this make the job more attractive for many people. Hiring freelancers also gives the business owner a chance to find higher-qualified professionals in other cities or even countries. Online communication tools and software that allows teams to work remotely but stay in synch makes such collaboration easy. The small business also gets to save on the need to rent a bigger office.

One shouldn’t forget that hiring freelancers doesn’t mean ‘making all employees work from home’. The owner should develop the best employee scheme to maximize productivity.

2.    Offer important benefits

Paid vacation, good health plan, retirement plan, and maternal/paternal leave are close to the top of requirements that make people satisfied with their jobs. Many of these even outweigh the salary. This gives small businesses an opportunity to be competitive when fighting for the top talent.

Small companies cannot offer many benefits in most cases. However, they can use Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs), which can do this and more. Using this option also allows small businesses to avoid additional taxes because new recruits are employed by the PEO. The trick is to find the right kind of organization, but this can be arranged with the help of PEO consultants. These services can compare the existing options taking into account the company’s requirements, status, and growth potential.

3.    Change the parental leave policy

Paid parental leave is one of the most important employee benefits today. Big corporations are acknowledging this and offer great terms to their employees. Microsoft even goes as far as to demand the same attitude from their suppliers.

Using a PEO might help small businesses to find a way to provide paid parental leave. However, it may only be short-term. The solution is to change the terms of parental leave to make it more beneficial. For example, one can provide their employees with a year of flexible schedule and an ability to work from home. Short hours are also an option and one should also develop a support network within the team so that the young parent can leave at a moment’s notice to attend to an emergency.

4.    Provide recognition and potential for development

Getting recognition for their work and efforts is important for everyone. This is the matter where small businesses can win over big corporations in the battle for talent. Small companies can have a much closer and friendlier team. Seeing one’s boss be close to the employees and acknowledging their input is a great seller for a potential recruit.

However, to achieve maximum effect, one should also ensure their employees can grow and develop professionally. Arranging training courses and offering challenging projects will pay off because as employees improve, the business as a whole benefits.

NAPEO Presentation: The PEO Industry Footprint in 2018

After many hours and much hard work, the folks at NAPEO, with their research partners at McBassi & Company, have completed a detailed analysis of the PEO industry footprint as of 2018.  Because there is no government entity which tracks data specific to PEO, NAPEO takes it upon itself to gather and maintain this data for the benefit of all every few years.  I recently had the pleasure of attending a webinar during which they reviewed and discussed their findings published in their latest white paper titled An Economic Analysis: The PEO Industry Footprint in 2018.  Much of the results of this research effort are very exciting for the PEO industry and are summarized below.

Key Points:

  • Total PEO WSEs (Work Site Employees) is greater than the collective total employment of many of the largest and most successful companies in the US
    • Despite this impressive statistic, still only 12.1% of all WSEs employed by a small business (firms with 10-99 employees) are currently using a PEO
      • This leaves room for significant continued growth in the PEO sector in the coming months and years

  • Rate of growth of PEO WSEs is significantly higher than growth rate of employment in US economy as a whole

Additional details:

  • It is estimated that there were 907 PEOs operating in the US in at the end of 2017
  • This includes 175,000 PEO clients, and
  • Approximately 3.7 Million WSE (Work Site Employees)
    • This employee count is equal to the combined employee count of some of the largest and most notable companies in America

  • Total estimated payroll paid in 2017 for these employees was approximately $176 Billion
  • Growth rate of the PEO industry was approximately 14 times higher than the growth rate in employment in the US economy overall in 2017

  • That being said, only 12.1% of small businesses in the PEO “Sweet Spot” are current PEO clients
    • PEO “Sweet Spot” is defined as companies with 10-99 employees
  • 2017 PEO industry growth rate correspond to a sustained rate of the industry doubling every 9-10 years

  • Below is a list of PEOs counts by state at the end of 2017

You can review a copy of the complete power point from with webinar as well as a copy of the published white paper by clicking on the following links:

The PEO Industry Footprint in 2018 – Power Point

2018-white-paper-final

To view a recording of the webinar, follow the below instructions:

  1. Follow this link to view the webinar:
    1. https://napeo.webex.com/napeo/onstage/playback.php?RCID=70d70d63e45404ce0bd939b1a1b2b533
  2. Select Playback

Many good questions were asked during the presentation, so the video is well worth the watch (runs about 45 minutes).

We extend a sincere Thank You to NAPEO for all the great work they do to advocate for and substantiate our industry on behalf of all PEOs.