Mississippi employers who have at least five employees must get workers’ compensation insurance. This coverage is designed to protect employees who are injured at work. While premiums vary widely, the average rate for a Mississippi workers’ compensation policy is $1.22 per $100 of payroll across the state.
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What Are Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Requirements?
While state workers’ comp laws vary, most require business owners with a certain number of employees to get a policy. In the Magnolia State, companies with fewer than five employees are not required to get insurance, according to the Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Commission (WCC). However, they can opt to provide coverage for their workers and protect their business if an injured employee sues. Any company that has five employees or more is required to buy a workers’ compensation policy.
Employees in Mississippi include both the lawfully and unlawfully employed. The employment contract can be written, oral, or implied. Minors are included in the definition of an employee and must be covered by their employer’s workers’ compensation policy.
Who Doesn’t Need Workers’ Compensation Insurance in Mississippi?
In addition to employers with four or fewer employees, Mississippi does not require workers’ comp coverage for:
- Domestic workers
- Farm laborers
- Nonprofit employees
- Federal workers
- Transportation and maritime workers covered by federal workers’ compensation insurance
- Independent contractors
Additionally, partners who own or manage their firms and corporate officers who own more than 15% of corporate stock are exempt. Sole proprietors do not have to cover themselves but need policies if they have five or more employees.
Where Can I Obtain Workers’ Compensation Insurance in Mississippi?
There are three ways for Mississippi employers to get workers’ compensation insurance. The first and most common is to get it through private insurance carriers. Additionally, employers have the option to self-insure. Employers who cannot find workers’ comp through private carriers and can’t meet the self-insurance requirements can obtain coverage from Mississippi’s assigned risk pool managed by the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI).
Top Workers’ Compensation Insurance Insurers in Mississippi
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The Hartford is a small business insurance specialist and a leader in workers’ compensation insurance. It’s a particularly strong choice for companies that offer professional services—essentially, businesses that work in office settings. You can find great rates for some of the most comprehensive coverage available in any workers’ comp policy.
While Liberty Mutual is probably better known for its personal lines of insurance, it has a robust line up of commercial insurance policies that include workers’ compensation. It focuses on restaurant and foodservice companies, providing coverage and loss control systems in this higher-risk industry.
Chubb is a commercial insurance leader throughout the United States and around the world. The company is known for keeping the workers’ comp claims process efficient by employing registered nurses as case managers. This means injured workers are getting the right insights to receive appropriate medical coverage, and that gets them back to work sooner than later, which helps keep premiums down.
Employers only sells workers’ compensation insurance policies to small businesses. As a specialist, Employers can price policies for higher-risk occupations, such as those found in the maritime industry. One thing Employers does is provide loss control services to help business owners keep employees safe, thereby helping to keep claims down.
Can Businesses Self-insure in Mississippi?
Certain employers can self-insure in the state of Mississippi. To do so, they must meet the financial requirements set forth by the state. These include:
- Providing at least $100,000 in a security deposit
- Demonstrating solvency with financial records
- Passing regular audits by the insurance commissioner
- Furnishing annual safety reports
These requirements are in line with many other states that allow self-insurance. One thing that Mississippi employers don’t need to do is demonstrate a minimum amount of net assets, which is often required in other states. This may make self-insurance more realistic for small-to-midsized businesses (SMBs) in Mississippi.
How Much Does Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Insurance Cost?
According to a report from the National Academy of Social Insurance, the average workers’ compensation premium for Mississippi employers across all industries is $1.22 per $100 of payroll. What that means is that for every $100,000, the average company pays $1,220 in premiums. However, Mississippi workers’ compensation rates vary widely, depending on a company’s industry, payroll, and claims history.
Sample Mississippi Workers’ Comp Rates by Class Code
Industry Class Code
5183 Plumbing Contractors
7208 Towing Company
8742 Sales Professional
8810 Clerical - Office
8829 Nursing Home
8831 Animal Shelters
9063 Fitness Center
Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Cost Example
Because there are so many moving parts to a workers’ compensation premium equation, it helps to go through an example. Let’s assume a masonry company has five masons and one office clerk on staff. All the masons combined are paid a total of $300,000 while the clerk gets paid $35,000 annually.
We’ll use the low rate from the table above to determine the estimated premium per occupation for this company.
- Mason (class code 5502): $4.55
- Office clerk (class code 8801): 14 cents
The company’s governing class code is 5502 because it represents the company’s fundamental operations. However, the office clerk’s work is less risky and is common across almost every industry, so it gets a separate class code (8801) and is rated differently from the masons.
The calculations for each occupation group are:
- Masons: ($300,000 $100) x $4.55 = $13,650
- Office clerk: ($35,000 / $100) x 14 cents = $49
Now that we have the estimate for each job class in the company, we can add this up to get the overall premium estimate:
$49 + $13,650 = $13,699
From here, the estimated premium is usually multiplied by an experience modification rate (EMR). The EMR is a number that represents the workers’ comp claims the company has. The more claims a company has, the higher its EMR, which increases the estimated premium.
Mississippi Workers’ Comp Audit Requirements
A workers’ compensation audit is a procedure done by the insurance carrier to reconcile the estimated payroll with the actual payroll to get the true premium. This is necessary because when the insurance company underwrites the policy, it can’t know exactly how much payroll the company will have. It’s impossible to account for new hires, unpaid time off, employees who quit, and so forth, so the insurance company can only estimate the premium.
The closer a company is to the actual payroll, the easier the reconciliation will be. When a company underestimates payroll, the audit yields a bill for the difference. When a company overestimates payroll, it receives a refund check. The audited payroll is then used for the next term’s premium estimate.
What Does Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Insurance Cover?
According to Mississippi law, there are two basic benefits provided to the injured worker by a workers’ compensation policy:
- Medical benefits: All necessary and reasonable medical care, including emergency care, doctor’s visits, prescription medicine, physical therapy, and physical aids, such as crutches, as well as other costs deemed necessary
- Wage loss benefits: Up to two-thirds of the average weekly wage paid at least every 14 days when employees can’t work either temporarily or permanently; the waiting period for disability benefits is five days
Should an employee die as the result of their work-related injuries, surviving dependents may be eligible for death benefits. This pays a surviving spouse or dependent payments capped at $449.12 per week for up to 450 weeks after the workers’ death. In addition to this benefit, the state may also pay funeral expenses up to $5,000 and an immediate lump sum payment of $1,000 paid to the surviving spouse.
While attorneys are not involved in most workers’ compensation cases, an attorney may retain up to 25% of the benefits if they represent an employee in a dispute. If the claim is appealed to a court of law, up to one-third of the total compensation could be set aside for attorney’s fees.
Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Coverage Example
Consider an example of how a workers’ compensation claim is paid out. Lori works for an accounting firm. During the busy tax season, she accidentally trips over a large box of returns and breaks her wrist. Her immediate medical bills are covered by her employer’s workers’ compensation insurance as well as subsequent doctor visits and physical therapy treatment.
After three days, Lori returns to work on limited duty with a cast on her hand. She is not entitled to wage loss benefits because those begin after the fifth day. If she had been out of work for 14 days or more, her employer’s policy would have covered two-thirds of her lost wages for those first five days and the rest of her time away from work.
What Are the Penalties for Not Having Workers’ Compensation Insurance in Mississippi?
There are both civil and criminal penalties for employers that don’t maintain a valid workers’ compensation insurance policy. Employers face a $1,000 penalty and up to a year in jail, and the WCC may also charge a penalty of up to $10,000.Additionally, corporate officers may be forced to pay for an injured employee’s benefits out of their own pockets.
How Do I File a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Mississippi?
Filing a claim properly ensures that workers receive the benefits they are entitled to and keeps employers in compliance with Mississippi workers’ comp laws. When an injury occurs, an employee should immediately notify employers of the injury to get medical attention. However, events can delay notification, so the law gives employees 30 days to give notice.
The employee doesn’t need to submit a claim immediately; the statute of limitations for filing workers’ comp claims in Mississippi is two years from the date of injury. If no disability benefits are paid during this two-year period, then the worker gives up the right to the benefits unless they have filed a claim with the WCC.
Employers need to complete a First Report of Injury or Illness and file it with their insurance carrier and the WCC within 10 days of being notified of an injury that causes five days of lost time or death. During the claim, the insurance carrier may also send the employee documents that need to be completed. These documents include doctor’s assessments and employment status. Employees must complete these forms timely to maintain benefits.
Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Deadlines
There are a few deadlines to keep track of when dealing with workers’ compensation insurance in Mississippi:
- Injured workers have 30 days to notify employers about injuries or the incident that could lead to a claim.
- Injured workers have two years to file a claim for benefits.
- Employers have 10 days to file a First Report of Injury with the WCC.
During the claim, the insurance company may require paperwork such as doctor’s assessments and updates to the injury. If the deadline to return these documents is not met, the claim could be prematurely closed or denied.
Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Resources
- Contact Information
- Workers’ Compensation Commission
1428 Lakeland Dr.
Jackson, MS 39216
- Workers’ Compensation Commission
- Key Forms
- Important Information
Mississippi workers’ compensation requirements say that any business with at least five employees needs to have a workers’ compensation insurance policy. Not having a mandated policy could result in fines and potential jail time. This is why it’s important for business owners to find a policy that covers their employees and protects them against the liabilities that not having a policy comes with.
CommercialInsurance.net is a marketplace where you will be paired with the best insurance provider for your needs. It has partnered with more than 200 insurance carriers, brokers, and agencies to bring affordable workers’ compensation to small business owners. Get a free quote in minutes.