How does workers' comp work in Massachusetts?

Any person or business with any employee(s) must provide workers' compensation insurance coverage. The only exceptions to this rule include: a) individuals having work done to their home, b) non-profit entities with no p[aid employees, and c) corporate officers who own 25% or more of the business who have no other employees and have completed and filed an affidavit to be excluded from coverage. All other employers should purchase coverage.

The Massachusetts Division of Insurance regulates workers compensation in the state. They are responsible for approving workers; comp rates, classification codes, rating plans, and policy coverage forms.

The Workers' Compensation Rating and Inspection Bureau (WCRIB) is appointed to administer Massachusetts's Assigned Risk Pool.

Workers' Comp Rules & Information for Massachusetts

MA Regulatory Authority and Rating Bureau

Workers Compensation Rating and Inspection Bureau of Massachusetts
101 Arch Street
Boston, MA 02110

Workers' Comp Exemptions in MA

Sole-proprietors, partners, and limited liability company members with no employees are not required to purchase workers compensation coverage on themselves. They may, however, choose to purchase a policy to cover themselves. In many cases, sub-contractors may be required to buy coverage by a general contractor prior to performing any work for the general contractor.

Officer of a corporation are included on workers' comp coverage by default. They may elect to exclude themselves from coverage if they own more than 25% of the corporation. In order to be excluded for coverage, corporate officers must complete and file the Affidavit of Exemption for Certain Corporate Officers or Directors Form with the Department of Industrial Accidents:

Department of Industrial Accidents
Office of Investigations
1 Congress Street, Suite 100
Boston, MA 02114-2017

MA Workers' Compensation Compliance

Employers who do not have an active policy in place may be issued a Stop Work Order by the DIA Office of Investigations. They will be fined a minimum of $100.00 per day from the date of the Stop Work Order up until a valid policy becomes affective. The Stop Work Order will remain in effect until the insurance becomes effective and the fine is paid by the business owner.

Employers may also be subject to criminal sanctions against their business including up to 1 year in prison and/or an additional $1,500.00 fine if convicted. They will not be able to provide work related to any public contracts for a period of 3 years. In the event an employee is injured while an employer is uninsured, the employer will be liable for all costs associated with the injured employee's medical bills and lost wages.

Policy Cancellations in Massachusetts

Insurance companies can only cancel an active insurance policy in Massachusetts prior to the annual renewal date for 3 reasons:

  • Non-payment of insurance premium
  • Material misrepresentation or fraud
  • Substantial increase in the hazards due to a change in operations
  • Injury Reporting Requirements in MA

    Massachusetts requires employers to report work-related injuries electronically using the Employer's First Report of Injury/Fatality (Form 101) anytime an employee is not able to earn wages for 5 calendar days due to an injury. The form must be filed with the DIA within 7 calendar days (excluding weekends and holidays) from the fifth day missed by the employee.

    Family Members and Workers' Compensation

    Family members are considered employees under Massachusetts law if they work for the business. The must be covered. LLC partners and corporate officers owning 25% or more may create an exception for family members employee status.

    Massachusetts Workers' Comp Verification Tool

    The Department of Industrial Accidents provides a free online tool to help individuals and businesses verify whether or not an employer has a current workers' compensation insurance policy. To utilize Massachusetts Proof of Coverage Verification Application click below:

    MA Proof of Coverage Verification Tool

    Massachusetts Experience Modification Factors

    Employers with an annual premiums over $5,500.00 are eligible to receive an intrastate experience modification rate issue by WCRIBMA. The program is mandatory and both private insurance carriers and Assigned risk carriers are required to apply all experience modifiers to the policy's manual premium.

    Experience modifiers are used to compare each employers own loss experience with the average insured's in the same class codes. A good average loss experience will result in a credit modifier below 1.00. A poor average experience will result in a debit modifier above 1.00, and will result in a premium increase.

    Premium Discounts in Massachusetts

    Premium discounting applies to all workers' compensation policies in Massachusetts that develop a standard premium greater than $10,000 annually. The rationalization behind premium discounts is that the administrative expenses for insurance companies diminishes as the premium increases. Insurance companies must elect one or two premium discount programs determined by the state and then adhere to that discounting structure for one year before electing to change plans. Discounts range from 5.1% to 12.3% of manual premium.

    Schedule Credits and Merit Programs in MA

    Massachusetts state law allows for merit program credits up to 5% on certain policies over $500 when the employer does not qualify for an experience modifier. The state also allows for private insurance companies to offer scheduled credits on insurance policies as long as the premium credits and scheduled rating plan is filed and approved by the Massachusetts's Division of Insurance.

    Getting Work Comp Coverage in Massachusetts

    Massachusetts workers' compensation insurance can be purchased through insurance agents and agencies licensed to sell insurance in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. This applies to both private insurance and Assigned Risk coverage. Many employers benefit from buying coverage from private insurance companies due to their low rates, discount programs, and scheduled credits.

    A Workers' Compensation Specialist can help your business find the most affordable workers' compensation quotes in Massachusetts. Call 888-611-7467 today, or start a quote online.

    State Insurance Directives Regarding Covid-19

    Insurers are expected to look for ways to be flexible to maintain coverage.  Insurers are expected to: 1) be flexible in collecting premiums; 2) explain grace periods; 3) delay cancellation of coverage for non-payment on a case-by-case basis; 4) explore ways to relax premium payment due dates; 5) waive late fees, installment fees, penalties, etc.; and 6) extend grace period.  Insurers encouraged to consider cancellation/nonrenewal only after exhausting all other efforts.

    Discretionary order in effect from 03/23/2020 until further notice.

    State Orders Regarding Insurance Claims Related to Coronavirus

    No current state orders.

    Specialized Programs for Select Industries

    We work with our national insurance partners to develop targeted programs with easier underwriting requirements and lower rates. We offer a broad range of business class codes that help streamline the quote process so you get the lowest price for coverage.

    Knowing the Massachusetts workers comp requirements can help lower the cost of coverage.

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    Massachusetts Work Comp Information

    MA Quick Facts

    Workers' Comp is legally required for all employers.

    Private insurance carriers are allowed.

    There is no competitive State Fund.

    Assigned Risk coverage is administered by The Workers' Compensation Rating and Inspection Bureau of Massachusetts.

    Small deductible programs are permitted.

    There are no extraterritorial provisions in MA.

    MA does not recognize state reciprocity.

    Let Workers Compensation help your business navigate workers' comp insurance in Massachusetts.

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    Workers' Comp Includes Employers Liability Insurance?

    Employers liability insurance is an additional layer of coverage included as part of a workers' compensation insurance policy. Employers Liability is known as Part 2 of the policy. It adds two additional coverages for employers:

    Employers Legal Liability and Legal Defense Costs

    In today's world, there are a variety of reasons employees and third-parties sue employers for damages. Here a some common types covered by employers liability insurance:

    Third Party Lawsuits

    Your employee sues another party that may have contributed to the injury, In turn, the third party sues your business.

    Consequential Bodily Injury

    Another party or individual is injured while providing care for the injured employee.

    Dual Capacity Legal Action

    An employee files a claim but also attempts to sue the employer for being responsible in other ways outside of the employment relationship.

    Loss of Consortium

    A spouse sues for damages caused by the loss of companionship or relations.

    Employers Liability coverage is not included with coverage in the four monopolistic states. Employers in these states can endorse this coverage onto their General Liability policy. That coverage is commonly known as Stop Gap Coverage.

    Workers' Comp Covers MA Employers from Injury Related Expenses & Lawsuits
    Employers liability insurance is included under a workers' comp policy in most states.
    • Employers liability coverage is not included in all monopolistic states.
    • All NCCI and most other states' coverage includes employers liability insurance.
    Visit NCCI for more resources and information about workers' compensation class codes. Visit United States Department of Labor for more information about government agencies managing workers compensation insurance rates.

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