Why you need workers’ comp insurance

North Dakota Workers’ Comp Insurance protects your workforce against job-related injury and illness. It protects worker families in the event of job-related fatalities and debilitating injuries. The system requires that employees give up their right to sue an employer for work-related illnesses or injuries. The employee in exchange gets a guarantee of prompt medical services and disability pay to cover lost wages.

The law is a no-fault system that protects employers against lawsuits for damages by injured or ill employees or from surviving family members in cases of fatal injuries. You need workers’ comp insurance to protect your human and financial business assets.

Medical expenses today can quickly rise into hundreds of thousands of dollars, even for moderate illnesses that require hospitalization. Uninsured employers are liable to employees for these costs; workers’ comp insurance protects both employers and employees.

Buying work comp coverage in North Dakota

The state of North Dakota does not authorize private insurance sales of workers’ compensation insurance. The authorized provider is North Dakota Workforce Safety and Insurance. The WSI is the exclusive source of coverage in the state.

Employers must get insured through the WSI. The application process is extensive and requires detailed information about the owners, the business, and the workforce.

Instructions for Buying

Employers can buy insurance at any WSI location, by phone, mail, and online. The application indicates the required information and fees. The process is simple, and the WSI seeks follow-up information if needed to make its decision and set conditions for insurance coverage.

What you need to know about workers’ comp in North Dakota

The state law has an unusual reservation concerning mental injuries. Without an underlying physical injury, employees may have to prove their claims for compensation for mental injury. The North Dakota rule is the mental injuries are not compensable unless from a physical injury that occurred in the course of employment.

Is workers’ comp insurance required for your business?

The state law requires mandatory coverage for employers with workers’ in the state. Nearly every business must have workers’ compensation insurance coverage. The law exempts some classes of employees including the below-listed groups.

  • Most domestic workers are not covered employees
  • Most agricultural workers are not covered if they perform farming work
  • Most railroad workers are not covered; they have coverage under the federal railroad benefits laws
  • Most members of the clergy and official ministers of any religious group

Where can I buy insurance?

Employers can only purchase insurance through North Dakota Workforce Safety and Insurance. This insurer is an employer-funded; government authorized public body that has exclusive powers to administer workers’ compensation in North Dakota. The Agency provides a complete range of services to employers and employees including insurance, claims processing, medical services, and payments.

The cost of workers’ comp insurance

North Dakota Workers’ Comp Insurance sets the rates and premiums for each employer. The formula uses a standard base rate and adjusts it based on risk and underwriting factors.

The cost of not getting work comp insurance

The State of North Dakota has extensive powers to enforce the requirements for workers’ comp coverage. Failure to obtain required coverage before the first hire means that you are an uninsured employer in North Dakota. At minimum, you will have to pay the premium that would have been due for timely coverage before the first hire. The state can fine uninsured employers or impose other penalties for failure to insure.

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    Enforcement Powers

    During the period of no insurance, any injured employee can sue for medical benefits and work loss as if there were no workers’ comp law, and the employee was free to sue under civil law. The costs of medical care and work loss could ultimately fall on the individual officers and owners of a business.

    The state can issue cease and desist orders against any uninsured employer. The law requires coverage for all employees and the WSI can shut down a noncompliant business until it can prove full compliance.

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    Civil Penalties

    The state can impose penalties for noncompliance. Employers that fail or refuse to get and maintain insurance face severe fines and penalties for non-compliance. The state can impose a penalty of up to $10,000. The law provides for additional penalties if the violation continues. The State can impose an addition $100.00 per day penalty for each day that the violations continue.

More info

  • North Dakota Workforce Safety and Insurance (WSI)

    1600 E Century Ave Ste 1
    PO Box 5585
    Bismarck ND 58506-5585
    Phone: (701) 328-3800
    Toll-free: 1-800-777-5033 Fax: (701) 328-3820

Coverage factors


The WSI is the exclusive source of coverage and sole provider of qualified coverage. The WSI resolves issues of out-of-state employer coverage and enforces the out of state rights of North Dakota employers. The Both Dakota law can apply to its employers when working outside of the state.


Independent contractors may be uncovered employees. Employers must be cautious when classifying workers’ as contractors or consultants so they do not fail to cover an employee.


The WSI sets rates using the employer's modified experience rating as a primary factor. The base rates will rise or get a discount depending on the employer’s specific history of claims and losses.

Other tips

The WSI operates vigorous loss prevention programs and assistance activities for employers. They help design and carry out safety programs that attempt to identify hazards and remove them before they cause illness or injury. They conduct on-site inspections, consultation, and training. The WSI can offer matching grants to employers to purchase equipment or other steps to enhance workplace safety.


North Dakota Workers’ Comp Insurance provides insurance to all applicants. You must be in good standing with the WSI to get or keep insurance coverage. The WSI emphasizes safety and prevention. The goals are to keep claims and costs low by preventing losses and human suffering at the source.


  • State of North Dakota Government

  • North Dakota WSI