Before 1911, a worker’s sole option to after an injury at work was to get medical care and could only compensate for lost wages by suing his employer. Wisconsin pioneered the Workmen’s Compensation Act and workers became entitled to coverage for medical expenses and lost wages and businesses became protected from lawsuits.
Wisconsin Workers Compensation Insurance: An Overview
Workers’ compensation insurance covers the cost of your medical care, rehabilitation and lost wages if you suffer an injury or serious illness in the workplace. Workers’ comp also provides benefits for your dependents in case of death.
Workers’ comp insurance is important for businesses because it reduces a company’s liability, financial and operational risk by lessening the risk of employee lawsuits for medical care, lost wages and even death benefits.
If you work for an employer with 3 or more workers, you’re immediately by the Worker’s Compensation Act, according to Wisconsin’s Department of Workforce Development. If you work for an employer with fewer than 3 employees and earn $500 or more in a quarter of a calendar year, you’re covered 10 days after the end of that quarter. Farmworkers are covered by the Worker’s Compensation Act if the farm employs 6 or more people 20 days or more in a calendar year. Nearly all public and private workers in Wisconsin are covered.
There are exceptions. For example, if you fail to follow written and enforced safety rules, compensation may be decreased by 15%, but not by more than $15,000. If your injury is caused by drug or alcohol use, then your insurance carrier or self-insured employer may only be liable for medical expenses.
Here are some statistics:
Number of annual fatalities: 5,190 workers suffered a fatal injury at work in 2016. Wisconsin accounted for 105 of those fatalities.
Employer cost per $100 of covered payroll: Wisconsin employers spend $1.74 per $100 of covered payroll.
National ranking: Wisconsin ranks 13 in the nation for the percent increase in dollars spent.
Low rate per $100 in payroll: The lowest rate paid for workers comp in Wisconsin is in the clerical sector at $0.24.
High rate per $100 in payroll: The highest rate pate per $100 in payroll comes from Wisconsin’s labor sector at $20.40.
How Does Wisconsin Workers Compensation Law Work?
The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development’s Division of Workers’ Compensation is in charge of making sure that workers receive required benefits from insurers or self-insured employers, encourage rehabilitation and reemployment for injured workers and promote the reduction of work-related injuries, illness and death.
Wisconsin provides injured workers with all reasonable and necessary medical treatment, benefits for wage loss, and vocational rehabilitation and retraining. Injured workers can also seek medical treatment from any doctor they choose.
The Wisconsin Worker’s Compensation Act also covers mental injuries. Wisconsin uses the “extraordinary stress” standard to verify if the mental injury is covered by workers’ comp. In other words, if you need treatment due to normal work activity such as a work evaluation, it’s unlikely the injury will qualify for benefits.
Employer Cost for Workers Compensation
Running a business means you have to protect your business from the threat of being sued. Wisconsin workers’ comp protects workers from a workplace incident and it also protects businesses from lawsuits.
Work, pay, employee experience, state laws and insurer rates affect workers’ compensation costs to businesses. That’s why rates differ from industry to industry and business to business. The following table offers examples based on a 5-employee business and estimates a $250 state fee.
Class Code Description
Annual Employer Premium
Planting and Farming Cannabis
Hotels and Motels
Cannabis Retail Associate
Refuse Collection: Garbage/Trash Service
*This table assumes the employer has 5 employees with an experience modifier of 1 and a state fee of $250*
4 Types of Workers Compensation Benefits
Workman’s comp is broken into 4 benefit categories. Here are the 4 types:
Wage replacement benefits: Starting January 2019, this typically amounts to 2/3 of the worker's average wage up to $1,016 per week. Wage replacement benefits aren’t taxed, which helps meet a worker’s usual take-home pay. Employees start collecting after missing a few days of work due to injury or illness.
Permanent partial disability benefits: This benefit pays an employee who’s experienced a permanent disability, but the disability doesn’t completely take away their ability to work. One common type of permanent partial disability is carpal tunnel syndrome. The benefit amount depends on the part of the body or severity of the disability.
Vocational rehabilitation benefits: These benefits help a worker who cannot return to their job because of an injury. Counseling, job retraining, job placement, job development and vocational monitoring help workers find new jobs at the same company or new employment altogether.
Medical benefits: Injured workers are entitled to all necessary and reasonable medical care. Employees choose their physicians.
Protect your business and help your employees with the best workers’ compensation insurance. Workers’ comp protects your business from liability and helps your employees recover and return to work after an injury. Here are some of Benzinga’s best picks for Wisconsin workers’ compensation.
securely through The Hartford Workers Comp's website
With more than 200 years of experience, The Hartford is selected among the nation’s top workers’ comp insurance carriers. The insurer is considered the best choice for worker’s compensation policies because of its preferred medical provider network with more than 1 million providers who treat workplace injuries.
It also offers more than 65,000 pharmacies in the U.S. to fill prescriptions usually with no out-of-pocket expense for injured workers, and a network of nurse care managers to help coordinate the injured workers’ care with doctors and therapists.
The Hartford offers companies pay-as-you-go billing solutions based on actual payroll, which can help manage cash flow and reduce audit surprises.
2. Simply Business: Best for Tailored Coverage
securely through Simply Business Insurance's website
Simply Business offers a comprehensive suite of business insurance that specializes in making it easy to insure your business.
Whether you’re looking for construction workers' insurance or insurance for your startup, Simply Business helps you find the right coverage at the right price.
Tell Simply Business a little bit about your business and you'll get almost-instantaneous affordable quotes from top insurance providers. You can look into workers’ comp insurance that will cover everyone on your team, and you can get covered in accordance with Wisconsin law without overspending.
Building your business is hard enough. Let Simply Business make it easier. Get a quote from Simply Business today.
3. Chubb: Best for Growing Businesses
Commercial E&O Coverage
securely through Chubb Business Insurance's website
Chubb provides workers’ compensation insurance to businesses small, large and everything in between. Whether your business employs 1 or 250 employees, they’re your most valuable asset. Chubb pledges to help businesses create a safer workplace, address claims fairly and promptly, provide cost management assistance and get employees back to work.
No matter the size of your business, Chubb pledges coverage that fits now and can adapt and grow as your business changes. AM Best, a global credit rating agency that focuses on the insurance industry, gives Chubb an A++ rating. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) gives it an A+.
Travelers touts a nationwide network with local expertise for workers’ comp insurance. It focuses on small businesses, public entities and the oil and gas industry. Its public entity specialty is one to take note of. Public entities include American Indian nations, K-12 public schools, municipalities and counties, transit authorities and utilities.
Travelers offers protection for businesses in case of an incident. Travelers’ efforts also focus on accident prevention by offering employee training and promoting a safety and wellness culture in the workplace. Travelers earns an A++ rating from AM Best and an A+ from the BBB.
5. Zurich: Best for Multiple Worksite Businesses
Zurich understands the impact of workers’ compensation on a company’s operations, productivity and profitability. It also understands that workers’ comp is a challenging risk to manage, especially if your employees work at different locations.
It assigns a specialist who knows all the intricacies of Wisconsin’s laws, to help before, during and after an accident. Zurich offers risk engineering services to avoid accidents. But if something happens, Zurich is prepared to help get your employees back to work quickly and safely. AM Best gives Zurich an A+ rating and an A+ from the BBB.
6. Berkshire Hathaway: Best for Businesses of All Sizes
Berkshire Hathaway Homestate Companies provides workers’ compensation to businesses of all sizes. Warren Buffet at the helm gives it an impeccable reputation and BHHC backs that up with solid offerings, strength, stability and excellent customer service.
It offers businesses in-house service teams, tailored risk management services, return-to-work services, proactive claim management and fraud protection. BHHC also gives its customers premium payment and deductible options to best suit its needs. AM Best rates it A++ and BHHC earns an A+ from the BBB.
Get the Best Workers Comp Insurance for Your Business
When accidents happen, Wisconsin employees need a trusted source to turn to for recovery. Businesses need a trusted source to manage and supply help or risk time in court. Workers’ comp is the best way to return to work for both employees and businesses. One of the best ways to ensure success is to show you value your employees and protect your balance sheet.
Frequently Asked Questions
1) Q: What are the advantages of term life insurance?
A term life policy allows you to purchase coverage at a guaranteed premium for a limited amount of time. This structure makes term life an affordable choice to protect your family if you have a financial commitment that won’t last forever, like a mortgage or the cost of raising kids. A 20-year term life insurance policy is the most popular life insurance policy purchased to protect loved ones if the unexpected happens. Get a quote here from top providers.
2) Q: What are the advantages of whole life insurance?
Whole life insurance, along with universal life insurance and some other variants, is designed to provide coverage for your entire life. This differs from a term policy that offers guaranteed premiums for a limited time. Permanent life insurance has a savings or investment element that helps the policy to build cash value, making it an asset that can be borrowed against or even sold if you no longer need the policy.
3) Q: How much life insurance do I need?
Many in the industry recommend that you carry 8-12 times your annual income in life insurance coverage. A more granular approach can be beneficial, however, and accounting for debt and ongoing financial commitments in more detail when choosing a coverage amount can better provide for your family than an arbitrary multiple of earnings. Get a customized quote for the best policy.
Benzinga crafted a specific methodology to rank workers comp insurance. We prioritized carriers based on coverage options, specialized industries, customer service experience and how quickly and easily you're able to get insured including online tool usage. We also included workers comp insurance quote aggregators in lists to make it easy and efficient to compare policy quotes and options. To see a comprehensive breakdown of our methodology, please visit see our Workers' Compensation Insurance Methodology page.
Most Dangerous Industries Per State
The construction industry reports the most injuries and workers' compensation claims in 38 out of 50 states.
Second place goes to the forestry industry, followed by the transportation industry. By law, businesses with more than 1 employee must carry workers' compensation insurance. Workers' compensation insurance protects both your business and employees and creates a safety net for wage replacements and medical benefits.
Use our calculator to determine how much workers' compensation will cost you and your business.