The Oklahoma Administrative Workers’ Compensation Act mandates that nearly all Oklahoma employers provide workers’ compensation insurance to their employees. This law includes both full-time and part-time workers. On average, Oklahoma employers can expect to pay $1.21 per $100 of payroll in workers’ compensation premiums.
Finding a workers’ comp policy is easy when you use a referral service like CommercialInsurance.net. Complete its short application to be paired with the right insurance carrier for your company’s needs in a manner of minutes. CommercialInsurance.net partners with more than 200 of the industry’s finest insurance companies to make sure you get the best policy for the best price.
What Are Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Requirements?
While state requirements vary, workers’ compensation insurance typically provides medical and disability benefits to employees who are injured on the job. This is true in Oklahoma, plus the Oklahoma Administrative Workers’ Compensation Act states employers must have a policy in place prior to hiring even a single full or part-time employee.
All workers’ compensation issues are overseen by the Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission (OWCC). This is the state division that makes sure employers have the right coverage, provides employees with an appeals process, and looks out for fraud in the system.
Who Doesn’t Need Workers’ Compensation Insurance in Oklahoma?
The law provides workers’ compensation insurance for nearly all employees working in the state, but there are some exceptions to that rule. For example, employers are not required to get workers’ comp insurance if they employ:
- Domestic employees and have less than $10,000 in annual payroll
- Agricultural or horticultural employees and have less than $100,000 in annual payroll
- Certain licensed real estate sales professionals or brokers
- Five or fewer employees who are all related by blood or marriage to the employer
Additionally, employers do not have to cover independent contractors under most conditions. The state weighs several factors in determining if a worker is an independent contractor, including:
- The nature of the contract
- The amount of control an employer has over the worker’s tasks
- Whether the worker contracts with other businesses
Where Can I Obtain Workers’ Compensation Insurance in Oklahoma?
There are four ways that a business can get workers’ compensation insurance in Oklahoma:
- Buying coverage on the open market: Oklahoma has a competitive market for workers’ compensation, which means the state licenses private insurance carriers to sell the policy. This is how most companies obtain workers’ compensation insurance in Oklahoma.
- Self-insuring: Business owners must submit a plan to the Oklahoma Insurance Department to demonstrate they have the financial ability to meet their workers’ compensation liabilities. These include covering for medical bills and paying disability benefits to injured workers.
- Joining a self-insured group: Companies of a similar size and that are in similar lines of business can form a self-insured group to manage their workers’ comp claims. The OWCC approves these groups.
- Purchasing coverage through the assigned risk pool: The assigned risk pool takes high-risk applicants who cannot obtain workers’ compensation insurance through other means and places them with CompSource Oklahoma―the state-sponsored fund. This is an insurer of last resort in most cases.
Top Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Insurance Companies
CommercialInsurance.net is a referral service that saves you time and energy in shopping for business insurance. With one quick application, your insurance needs are shopped out to more than 200 partner companies. A representative then connects you to the best match and assists you as you buy coverage. CommercialInsurance.net serves all industries and offers general liability, business owner policies, and property insurance in addition to workers’ compensation.
The Hartford is one of the nation’s largest small business insurance carriers and a leader in workers’ compensation. While it covers a wide variety of industries, The Hartford excels at insuring the small professional business that in an office setting and offers workers’ comp policies that include more coverage without charging more, such as extended reporting time and automatic coverage for exempt employees.
Liberty Mutual is a national insurance carrier offering both personal and commercial lines of insurance. Small business owners can get most of the commercial insurance policies they need with Liberty, including workers’ compensation. One thing we like about the Liberty Mutual insurance products is that they are tailored for the risks your industry poses like the increased slip-and-fall risk for restaurant employees.
Chubb is a provider of small business insurance throughout the world. It offers all lines of commercial coverage, including business owners’ policies (BOPs) and workers’ compensation. We particularly like Chubb for being one of the most efficient claims processors around. It achieves this by utilizing professional nurses as workers’ comp claims managers to make sure injured employees are getting the right care.
Landes Blosch is a small Oklahoma insurer with nearly 100 years of helping those in the energy business navigate insurance. This experience is essential to helping business owners in this high-risk industry get workers’ comp at an affordable price. In addition to workers’ compensation, Lades Blosch offers several other key coverages. including general liability and pollution insurance. Other industries that they serve include media and entertainment, healthcare, wholesale, and automotive industries.
Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Self-insurance
There is more than one way to self-insure in Oklahoma. The first is to become a qualified employer by submitting a plan to cover your workers’ comp liability to the Oklahoma Insurance Department for approval. The state also requires you to demonstrate your company has the financial ability to pay benefits by providing the company’s net worth and revenue metrics. Once approved, you must also post a notice for workers to review its plan.
Another option is to join a self-insured group that meets the state’s requirements as a whole. These groups are comprised of businesses similar in both size and nature of work and are often associated with trade unions.
How Much Does Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Insurance Cost?
The average premium paid in Oklahoma across all types of industries is $1.21 per $100 of payroll, based on data from The National Academy of Social Insurance. For example, a company with $100,000 in annual payroll might expect to pay $1,210 per year in workers’ compensation premiums based on the average.
However, workers’ compensation insurance rates vary widely across the state because carriers factor in the risk of doing certain types of jobs, total payroll, and claims history into each premium calculation.
Sample Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Rates by Class Code
Industry Class Code
5183 Plumbing Contractors
7225 Towing Company
8742 Sales Professional
8810 Clerical - Office
8824 Nursing Home
8831 Animal Shelters
9063 Fitness Center
Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Insurance Cost Example
To get a better idea about how workers’ compensation premiums are calculated, we’ll look at an example. If we assume that a nursing home has six nurses and three front desk clerks, we can look at the payroll to estimate the premium by using this formula:
(Payroll / 100) x Class Code Rate = Estimated Premium
Assume the nurses make a total of $300,000 annually. We’ll take the $300,000 and divide it by 100 to get $3,000. If we use the low rate for nursing homes (class code 8824), which is $2.29, then we get the estimated premium noted below:
($300,000 / 100) x $2.29 = $6,870
The estimate isn’t complete, however. We need to do the same thing for the desk clerks’ payroll that totals $75,000. Desk clerks are not as likely to get hurt during their daily tasks, so they’re assigned class code 8810 and a lower rate as seen in the table. The premium for the clerks is calculated below:
($75,000 / $100) x 15 cents = $112.50
By adding the estimate for the nurses to the estimate for the clerks, we arrive at the total estimated premium for the nursing home:
$6,870 + $112.50 = $6,982.50.
Keep in mind that this is an estimate that doesn’t yet factor in claims history. To do so, we’d have to use what the insurance companies call an experience modification rate (EMR). This is a number that represents the business’ claims history. More claims result in a higher EMR and an ultimately higher premium.
If we assume the nursing home in our example has no claims, then it would most likely have an EMR of 1 or lower. Multiplying the above premium by one keeps the estimate the same.
Oklahoma Workers’ Comp Audit Requirements
When you purchase workers’ compensation insurance, you are agreeing to have a premium audit conducted at the end of the policy term. Audits are done because the payroll your premium is based on is an estimate. As a result, your insurer audits your workers’ comp to reconcile this estimate with your actual premium.
Businesses that overestimated payroll will receive a premium refund for the excess paid into the policy. If payroll was underestimated, a bill will be sent. This needs to be paid for the next term’s policy to be finalized. Failure to pay the additional premium can result in policy termination.
What Does Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Insurance Cover?
Oklahoma workers’ compensation is considered no-fault insurance, meaning it doesn’t matter who is at fault, employees receive benefits for their work-related injuries. The only exceptions are when an employee is injured while engaged in illegal activity or willfully ignores safety protocols and parameters set forth by the business or state and federal guidelines.
According to the OWCC, a workers’ comp policy must cover:
- Medical care cost: Employers must cover reasonable and medical care for injured workers, including doctor, hospital, and surgical bills; medications; medical devices; and physical rehab.
- Out-of-pocket expenses: This includes mileage, meals, and lodging for authorized medical treatments, vocational rehabilitation, or vocational retraining that requires more than 20 miles of travel round trip.
- Temporary total disability benefits (TTD): TTD benefits cover 70% of the workers’ average weekly wage (AWW) and kick in when an injured employee can’t work for more than seven calendar days. If the disability lasts more than 21 days, the first seven days are covered retroactively.
- Permanent disabilities benefits: These are split into permanent partial impairment (PPI) and permanent total disability (PTD). PPI benefits are 70% of the worker’s AWW, limited to a set number of weeks based on the impairment. PTD benefits are also 70% of AWW and last until the age of maximum Social Security retirement benefits or 15 years, whichever is longer.
- Vocational retraining: Workers who are entitled to PPI benefits can also get vocational rehabilitation, including retraining and job-placement services.
- Death benefits: Survivors of workers who died from a work-related injury or illness are usually entitled to benefits determined by the number of beneficiaries. The state also covers up to $10,000 in funeral expenses.
Oklahoma workers’ compensation insurance provides these benefits for injuries and illnesses that occur in the course and scope of employment. Infectious diseases like COVID-19 are only covered if a claimant can prove contraction occurred at and because of their work. However, Oklahoma lawmakers introduced a bill making it easier for first responders to get coverage for coronavirus-related workers’ comp claims.
Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Coverage Example
Let’s look at an example to see how Oklahoma workers’ compensation insurance pays benefits for an injury. John works for a painting company and is injured when scaffolding fails, and he falls 10 feet. The resulting injuries are a broken leg with nerve damage. While it takes eight weeks for the leg to heal, the nerve damage is permanent, making it impossible for John to stand for long periods of time. Unfortunately, this injury ends his career as a painter.
The painting company’s workers’ compensation insurance approves the claim and pays all of John’s medical bills and physical therapy associated with the injury. He also receives TTD benefits to cover his lost wages in the amount of 70% of his average weekly wage. These benefits start once he is unable to work for seven days. Because his broken leg keeps him out of work for eight weeks, those seven days are covered later.
When John’s doctor determines the nerve damage is permanent, she estimates the percentage of loss. The state uses that information to decide the total amount John receives for his disability, which he can take in a lump sum or as weekly payments. John is also sent to vocational retraining to learn a new trade where he won’t need to stand all day to work.
What Are the Penalties for Not Having Workers’ Compensation Insurance in Oklahoma?
Not having workers’ compensation or not adhering to the rules can lead to serious penalties in Oklahoma. To start, you can be charged with a misdemeanor and fined up to $1,000 per day for not providing proper workers’ compensation to employees. The OWCC can also order you to halt operations after two offenses. Additionally, you can also be 100% liable for the injuries and lost wages and may be sued by injured workers.
If you have insurance but fail to follow the filing regulations, you can be fined as well. Failure to file the Employer’s First Notice of Injury within 10 days of learning about an injury can result in a fine of up to $1,000.
How Do I File a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Oklahoma?
Filing a workers’ compensation claim in Oklahoma starts with the employee notifying his employer of the injury or incident in question. It’s important that employees provide details that include:
- The date of the injury
- The circumstances of the incident or accident
- The nature and scope of the injury
- Names and contact details of witnesses
Employees are required to report injuries to their employer within 30 days of an incident. That timeframe extends to 90 days for occupational diseases and repetitive stress injuries. Employers then have 10 days to file an Employer’s First Notice of Injury with their insurance carrier and the OWCC.
If the employee’s injuries cause three or more absences, the employee must file an Employee’s First Notice of Claim for Compensation. Employees should comply with all requests for information and meet the deadlines to get proper paperwork back to the insurance company. Paperwork may include doctor’s assessments, prescriptions, and progress reports. Failure to properly file requests for information could lead to the claim being closed prematurely or denied.
Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Deadlines
Oklahoma employers must provide reasonable and necessary medical treatment to injured workers immediately. Additionally, the law states that employers have:
- Five days to provide treatment once they know an injury occurred
- 10 days from the knowledge of an injury to file an Employer’s First Notice of Injury to the OWCC
- 15 days to file an Employer’s Intent to Controvert Claim if they wish to deny the claim
Injured workers have a two-year statute of limitations to file a claim. The two years start from the date of the injury, date of authorized medical care, or from the date of payment of any compensation in lieu of regular compensation.
Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Resources
- Contact Information
- Key Forms
Workers’ compensation is required of just about every employer in the state of Oklahoma, including those with part-time employees. Benefits are paid based on the injuries and the time lost from work while injured. While self-insurance is feasible in the state, most companies can’t afford to do so and end up purchasing insurance from the private insurance market.
CommercialInsurance.net is a marketplace where you will be paired with the best insurance provider for your needs. It’s 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.