If you operate a business in California, you likely carry workers’ compensation insurance. There are plenty of private insurers that provide this type of coverage, but there is another option as well. Whether you’ve had difficulty finding coverage through private carriers or you simply aren’t satisfied with your current plan, the State Compensation Insurance Fund is worth investigating.
STATE COMPENSATION INSURANCE FUND BASICS
The State Compensation Insurance Fund was created by the Boynton Act of 1913, and it began operating throughout California in 1914. The purpose of the State Fund is to provide affordably-priced workers’ compensation insurance to all California businesses. It’s headquartered in San Francisco by law, but it operates satellite offices throughout the state, and over time, it has grown to be California’s largest provider of workers’ compensation insurance.
Policies through the State Compensation Insurance Fund are available to all businesses in California, and there are a range of options to choose from. For small to mid-sized businesses, Standard Plans provide a fairly- and appropriately-derived premium rate based on state classification codes for the industry the business operates in. Larger employers can select from a range of additional options including premium discounts, Schedule Rating, and an Alternative Dispute Resolution program.
OTHER PROGRAMS AND SUPPORT
In addition to providing workers’ compensation insurance policies statewide, the State Fund offers various support services and resources to businesses. These include a toll-free claims reporting hotline, experienced claims adjusters and claims managers, in-house attorneys, and a Special Investigation Unit.
There are also a variety of support programs available through the State Fund to help employers improve safety in the workplace and get injured workers back on the job quickly. These include:
- Ergonomics: consultants are available to assist employers in identifying and mitigating risk factors to help employees avoid injury.
- Loss Prevention Services: professionals analyze the company’s safety needs with the goal of developing a successful safety program.
- Industrial Hygiene: experts anticipate, identify, analyze, and control environmental hazards including physical agents, chemicals, and biological substances.
- Return to Work Programs: consultants help employers identify opportunities for transitional positions with modified duty and advise on the structure of a formal return to work program.
In addition to the direct benefit these programs and services can provide, they have the added advantage of helping bring workers’ compensation premium costs down, as they reduce both the likelihood and total average cost of claims.
Safety training seminars are offered regularly as well, and these can help employers keep up to date on the latest requirements and advances in workplace safety. Additionally, all the forms and documentation employers are required to provide to employees can be accessed through the State Fund’s website to facilitate compliance and ease of communication.
MEDICAL PROVIDER NETWORK
The State Compensation Insurance Fund also operates its own Medical Provider Network (MPN) which is made up of doctors and other types of medical providers located throughout the state. Utilizing this resource to provide care for injured employees gives employers medical control throughout the life of the claim while simultaneously ensuring employees have access to a medical provider close to their home or workplace.
PURCHASING A PLAN
Businesses interested in purchasing a workers’ compensation insurance plan through the State Compensation Insurance Fund can apply directly through the website. Any California business is eligible, and the specific plans available will be based on individual situations as well as the industry the company operates in.