Leveraging Your Insurance Team to Improve Your Safety Program
Posted by Michael S. on June 3, 2016 in Manufacturer Focus

Workers’ compensation insurance is expensive. And not all workers’ compensation insurance carriers provide the same services. Some insurance companies offer more than financial protection and coverage in case something goes wrong. So, before you buy your WC insurance, ask what you are getting in return.


When shopping for workers’ compensation insurance, you have four main options:


  • Contact a direct-writer agency. A direct agent is someone who represents one insurance carrier and sells only their products.
  • Shop online and get multiple quotes. You have to do all the work and research, which can take time.
  • Contact an insurance broker. Brokers work on commission, which you have to pay.
  • Contact an independent insurance agency. Independent agencies will shop multiple carriers for you, giving you more options on price, coverage, and services.


A key advantage of going though an agent or broker is that you get face-to-face contact and the opportunity to ask questions and get information.


Something to keep in mind as you work with an agent for your workers’ compensation insurance is your experience modification rate (EMR). Experience rating is a mandatory plan that applies to all employers that meet a state’s premium eligibility criteria (varies by state). If you are eligible, your EMR is impacted by the frequency and severity of claims you had over the first three of your last four experience years. This information is tracked by rating bureaus such as the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) and provided to insurance carriers to use in calculating your premium. To get more information on what an experience modification factor is watch our video.


An EMR of 1.00 is considered average, less than 1.00 will reduce your premium, and more than 1.00 will increase your premium.


For example, if your annual premium is $100,000:

$ 100,000 x 1.00 EMR = $ 100,000

$ 100,000 x 1.50 EMR = $ 150,000

$ 100,000 x 0.50 EMR  = $   50,000


As the example shows, your EMR can significantly change what you pay for work comp insurance.

Knowing this, you should be asking potential carriers what they can do to help lower your EMR—or to keep your rating low—saving you money.


  • Does their loss control staff have safety programs designed to help you identify and reduce risk?
  • Are they willing to do on-site visits, walk through your business, and help you identify potential risks?
  • Do they offer safety and risk management training to you and your team?
  • Do they provide detailed loss data analysis and summaries?
  • Do they have in-house industry specialists who can help you with safety and other aspects of your business?
  • Do they advise on early return-to-work (RTW) strategies? Do they work with injured employees and medical professionals to get your staff back to work as soon as possible?
  • Do they offer a nurse hotline to help ensure injured workers receive appropriate care?
  • Can they provide ergonomic consultations?
  • Do they have noise identification equipment?
  • Do they advise on OSHA, DOT, NFPA, and other safety and health regulations?
  • Are they willing to assist you in establishing a safety program?
  • What are their online capabilities?
  • How many on-site assessments or consultations do they conduct in a year?


When talking with a potential insurance carrier, include the person who is responsible for your company’s safety in the conversations. Your safety manager might have additional thoughts or questions that can help you find a carrier that will not only cover your financial responsibilities, but also value the safety of your employees and the success of your business.


Don’t just shop for price—look at all the services that are included in your premium and make a decision that works best for your business. An independent agent can add tremendous value and support as you make insurance decisions.

Michael S. is our Manufacturing guru
I have over 30 years experience in a broad range of manufacturing areas. Starting with an apprenticeship in Germany I’ve worked my way through a variety of positions within the manufacturing field. I got my start as a Tool and Die maker. I next became a supervisor of a class A tool room, then manager of a machining department. I was exposed to lean manufacturing in the mid 90s and adapted the lean philosophy. Loving and teaching the lean approach, I moved on to become a Continuous Improvement manager which led to a job as a manufacturing manager. I joined Acuity in 2015 as their manufacturing expert. I hope to evolve how manufacturers deal with and think about insurance companies, as well as be a resource to my fellow employees – enabling them to better understand the unique needs of manufacturers.

Insurance that speaks to you because our focus is you.

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