In 2016, there were nearly 3,000 cases of injuries or illnesses in chiropractors’ and other health practitioners’ offices, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.1
Work-related injuries or illnesses can be detrimental to a chiropractic practice. Not only can they reduce productivity and hurt employee morale but they can also lead to out-of-pocket expenses and potentially higher workers’ compensation insurance premiums.
Workers’ compensation insurance is an important safety net that protects your business and employees in case of an on-the-job illness or injury.2 Not only is this insurance required in most states but failure to meet workers’ compensation coverage requirements can leave your practice exposed to penalties from state regulators and the full cost of workers’ compensation claims if an injured employee files a lawsuit.
Whether you have been in business for years or are just opening a new practice, finding the right insurance for your practice can be intimidating. Here are five steps to determine the best coverage for your practice.
1. Find a good agent or broker
Identifying a good insurance agent or broker is vital. They can provide guidance on the best policies to protect your practice and also share ways to implement safety controls that can help you manage costs, protect your assets and minimize risk.
Look for an agent or broker who is knowledgeable about chiropractic health care and understands workers’ compensation requirements in the jurisdiction(s) applicable to your practice.
2. Understand your state requirements
While most states mandate workers’ compensation insurance, specific requirements vary from state to state. Whether you are considering opening a location in another state or currently have employees who work in multiple states, it is important to confirm with your insurance agent that you are properly covered in each location.
Pay attention when evaluating workers’ compensation needs for contract workers. Under some circumstances, most states treat an uninsured contractor or subcontractor as your employee if he or she is injured while doing work for your company.
3. Choose a policy that fits your needs
Before reviewing insurance policies, talk with your insurance agent about your unique practice needs and ask your agent to identify insurance carriers who have experience with chiropractic practices and the tools and support necessary to help you manage your worker’s compensation program.
When evaluating insurance carriers, investigate whether they offer more than just a competitive price. Your carrier should offer additional resources that can help protect your employees, business and bottom line. These may include a dedicated fraud investigation unit, flexible payment plans, loss control resources and return-to-work program support. Some carriers even offer hotlines to help guide you in the event of an employee injury.
4. Review your policy regularly
You should not “set and forget” your workers’ compensation insurance coverage. It needs to adapt with your practice’s changing needs. Review your workers’ compensation insurance policy annually with your agent or broker. Use this time to address any changes in your business operations that may affect coverage or premiums. This might include changes in the size of your headcount or expansion into a new state.
5. Develop a comprehensive safety plan
While it is important that your practice and employees are adequately covered with workers’ compensation insurance, it should be one piece of a larger risk management strategy to make employee health and safety an integral part of your business. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, committing to a safety plan by developing guidelines, regularly training employees in safety procedures and correcting deficiencies can mitigate risk, cut workers’ compensation insurance claims and increase productivity.3 The best plans are woven into your practice’s culture and address the risks your employees may be exposed to during the workday, such as repetitive motion injuries and joint, wrist and lower back pain from manual techniques used in chiropractic therapy.
Creating a safe workplace should never be considered a completed task. After identifying the right workers’ compensation insurance for your practice, be sure to review the coverage regularly and address any safety concerns in your safety plan. By putting the health of your employees first, you will ensure your business stays healthy.
Dan Killins is loss control program manager for EMPLOYERS, America’s small business insurance specialist, which offers workers’ compensation insurance and services through Employers Insurance Company of Nevada, Employers Compensation Insurance Company, Employers Preferred Insurance Company, and Employers Assurance Company. Not all insurers do business in all jurisdictions.
1 “Occupational Injuries/Illnesses and Fatal Injuries Profiles.” Bureau of Labor Statistics. https://data.bls.gov/gqt/InitialPage. Created Feb. 2011. Accessed March 2018.
2 “Three Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Workers’ Compensation Policy.” EMPLOYERS. https://blog.employers.com/ EMPLOYERSBLOG/tabid/165/ArticleID/294/ Default.aspx. Published May 2017. Accessed March 2018.
3 “Safety and Health Add Value.” Occupational Safety & Health Administration. https://www. osha.gov/Publications/safety-health-addvalue.html. Published May 2006. Accessed March 2018.