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Moore: Workers' Comp Premium Refunds Due to COVID Crisis

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Some of the most common questions we've received since March from employers include: Are carriers providing workers' comp premium refunds due to the COVID crisis? Is there a formula to know how much we are receiving? Are states mandating carriers to provide refunds? When should we expect a refund? 

James Moore

James Moore

My answer to almost all the questions is it depends. We assisted three carriers and two captives with providing refunds over the last few weeks/months. I will answer each of the questions from the first paragraph. 

Please remember that I did not read every states’ rules on any COVID-19 crisis premium adjustments.

Are carriers providing workers' comp premium refunds? 

Yes, some carriers provided refunds to their insureds, if the employers provided records showing that payroll was significantly reduced; job duties changed — for example, from a manufacturing job to a telecommuter job; employees were kept on payroll even though no work was performed; and business closure.

Unless I am mistaken, most carriers wanted some type of records showing a payroll or job classification change before finalizing any refunds or credits.  

Is there a formula for the amount of the premium refund?

No, there was no set formula that I have seen to date. I think the states left the process to the carrier. Some states required a spreadsheet to show what each employer received from the carrier.  

Are states mandating that carriers provide refunds? 

Not all. Many employers did not suffer a downturn in payroll and did not change their employees' jobs. California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara mandated a refund if one was owed. Most of the insurance commissions asked or required that insurers be flexible during these unprecedented times.   

When should we expect our refund or credit?

That is a tough question. To speed up the process if you have not heard from your carrier or agent, organize your records and contact your agent pronto. Use emails for documentation purposes.

Most workers' comp carriers have a COVID-19 contact page. I know it is a tough time to do this, but good records are going to help your company.  

Excel spreadsheets are beyond critical for the organization of your records.   

Do not wait if you have not heard from your workers' comp carrier by now. Most are very busy processing payroll and job change premium reductions.  

What should we do right now? 

Be proactive. Begin the process to obtain your workers' comp premium refunds. Reach out to your carrier or agent.  

This blog post is provided by James Moore, AIC, MBA, ChFC, ARM, and is republished with permission from J&L Risk Management Consultants. Visit the full website at www.cutcompcosts.com.

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