Oklahoma Workers’ Comp Insurance protects employers from lawsuits by injured or ill employees that were injured or became ill through job-related activities. Employees give up their right to sue in exchange for a no-fault system that guarantees medical benefits and disability pay for part of their lost wages.
You need workers’ comp to protect your valuable human workforce; they are key for the success of your company, and they are particularly important to your small or medium-sized business. Workers’ comp protects your business' financial assets as well. It is designed to protect owners against lawsuits for damages.
How to buy workers’ comp in Oklahoma
You can get insurance five ways in Oklahoma. You can buy on the open market, you can self-insure, join a self-insured group, buy in the assigned risk pool, or become a qualified employer.
Oklahoma employers can purchase workers’ comp insurance on the open market from private insurance companies. They can benefit from the knowledge and experience of licensed agents and brokers. Employers can compare options and select the best quote for value and coverage. Some companies offer various levels of deductibles and payment terms, and employers can meet their needs and preferences on the open market.
With state approval, an employer may be able to submit a written plan to cover its liability without the coverage required by the Administrative Workers’ Compensation Act. The contractor must post a notice that announces its status and directs employees to the document that contains the approved qualified plan.
The Department of Insurance can approve an applicant to self-insure. The company must demonstrate that it has the financial and management capacity to pay the liabilities and service claims of injured employees. The company must meet financial requirements, security deposits, and excess liability coverage. The self-insured company may use third-party administrators for parts of the program, but the insured remains solely responsible for the administration of the system.
Small employers can join similar-sized firms in like lines of business and form groups to retain their workers’ comp liability. The Oklahoma Department of Insurance must authorize the group and approve membership for the applicant. Trade associations and business groups are among the leading sponsors of group self-insurance.
Assigned Risk Pool
The high-risk applicants can get coverage through the high-risk group. The Oklahoma sponsor is CompSource Oklahoma. They offer online applications and quick turnaround for coverage certification.
Instructions for buying
You should prepare to buy insurance by gathering important information about you, your business, and your workforce. The existing modified experience rating is critical to determining your rates. You should have a copy of the latest Mod.
The number of employees and their work classification affects rates directly. Rates depend on the risks involved in the jobs; for example, a buzz saw operator has higher risks than a librarian.
What you should know about workers’ comp in Oklahoma
The coverage threshold is five or more employees in Oklahoma. Employers with four or fewer employees do not have to offer workers’ comp insurance benefits. These employers have exposure to legal action by employees for injuries or illnesses arising out of employment.
Is your business required to carry?
Oklahoma law requires workers’ comp coverage for employers with five or more employees. The exemptions for employees include blood relatives of the owner, commissioned real estate brokers and agents, independent contractors, officers of closely held corporations, and partners.
Where can businesses buy insurance?
The best place to buy Oklahoma Workers’ Comp Insurance is on the open market. The private providers can compete for your business by offering low prices and favorable terms. Firms that cannot get insurance on the open market can get coverage in the high-risk pool and assigned risk pool. CompSource Oklahoma is the listed agency for the Oklahoma assigned risk pool.
How much does workers’ comp insurance cost?
The price of workers’ comp insurance depends on the mod experience rating of the employer and the mix of occupations in its workforce. Insurers adjust the basic rates up or down based on the mod rating. Ratings above 1.0 cause penalties and rates below 1.0 give lower prices or credit rate prices.
What is the cost of not getting workers’ comp coverage?
The financial risks are enormous in today's healthcare environment. A small stay in a hospital or minor surgery can easily run above $100,000. Employers must insure these events or face the possibility of unexpected and high costs.
The State of Oklahoma can impose fines on uninsured employers. The fines can be as high as $1,000 per day of non-compliance. While not in compliance, employees can sue in civil court for any injuries or claims that arise; they can sue for negligence and damages including the loss of their workers’ comp benefits. The state can close a business when it willfully fails to comply.
Oklahoma WC Information
Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission
1915 North Stiles Avenue
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
212 Kerr State Office Building
440 South Houston
Tulsa, Oklahoma 74127
Factors that impact coverage
The State of Oklahoma has powerful penalty provisions to enforce compliance with its decisions, standards, and requirements. The state has broad cease and desist powers. They can shutter a business that is not in compliance until it proves that it has cured the probable violations.
The employer has ultimate liability to count to five correctly. Person mistaken as contractors or exempt will count in penalties for uninsured employers. You should consult with the Oklahoma Workers’ Comp Commission if in doubt.
Safety programs can lower rates. Many private insurers offer discounts for approved safety programs.
Oklahoma workers’ comp law leaves many employees unprotected and many employers at risk of legal action. The qualified employer offers protection but at lower levels than normally available under the workers’ comp statute.
Oklahoma Workers’ Comp Insurance is in a state of flux due to court decisions that have struck down parts of the law as being too restrictive of employee rights. The overall trend in the legislative reform of workers’ comp law in Oklahoma seems tilted towards employers at the expense of workers such as a provision canceling all future benefits were a recovering employee to miss two medical appointments. You should expect the law to get further revisions as the legislature balances the limits imposed by the courts.
Oklahoma WC Information
Part of WC Law Overturned
Oklahoma WC Commission