Vermont’s Workers’ Compensation system is regulated by two state agencies. The Department of Banking, Insurance, Securities and Health Care Administration, (BISHCA), regulates the insurance companies, (8 V.S.A.). The Vermont Department of Labor (VDOL), administers the Workers' Compensation Act, (21 V.S.A.).
There are numerous stakeholders to the system including: 1) injured worker; 2) employer; 3) insurer; 4) attorneys; 5) medical professionals; and 6) rehabilitation counselors and medical case managers. For the stakeholders, the roles that the two agencies play can be confusing. In today’s arena many questions arise and it helps to know the correct point of contact for the quickest response.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q. Are all employers required to buy workers' comp insurance?
A. Unless you have been approved to self-insure by the Department of Labor, you must buy worker’s compensation insurance if you hire one or more employees on a full or part time basis in Vermont, or you hire employees outside the state but they work for you in Vermont. (VDOL)
Q. I am a sole proprietor of my corporation and the only employee, why do I need workers’ compensation coverage?
A. By statute you are an employer of persons performing work for you if it is work that would otherwise be done by employees. This means that even if the worker is an independent contractor for tax purposes, he is still an employee for workers’ comp purposes. (VDOL)
Q. Do my subcontractors need workers’ compensation coverage?
A. If you use independent contractors in your business, you are responsible for insurance if:
1.The subcontractor does not have coverage; or
2.The subcontractor does not meet the definition of a contractor under the law. The independent contractor needs coverage any time they have a worker on the job, even temporarily. (VDOL)
Q. How can I verify my class code?
A. You can call the National Council of Compensation Insurance, (NCCI), at (800)-622-4123. NCCI is the advisory service organization for Vermont’s Workers' Compensation system. Select the classification, inspection and test audit services choice on the voicemail menu and you will be connected to a specialist who will be able to talk to you about your classification. (BISHCA)
Q. Where can I obtain the necessary forms for the exclusion of corporate officers from insurance coverage?
A. “Form 29” can be obtained by from the Department of Labor or downloaded from their website. (VDOL)
Q. How many years can the insurance company go back and audit?
A. The insurance company may conduct audits within three years after the policy period ends. (BISHCA)
Q. How do I know that my experience modification is accurate?
A. Cross reference your loss runs with your experience mod worksheet and address any discrepancies with your insurance company. Often there are timing differences with the valuation of the data, however, it is a simple way to monitor the checks and balances of your experience rating. (BISHCA)
Q. What is the Workers' Compensation Assessment?
A. The workers’ compensation administration fund was created to provide the funds necessary to administer Vermont’s Workers’ Compensation Program. The fund consists of contributions from employers, based on the Workers’ Compensation Assessment Rate. Currently the assessment rate is .81% of direct written premium effective 7/1/08. (VDOL)
Q. Can I be self-insured for workers’ compensation?
A. Yes, however the financial responsibility necessary may be greater than the cost of an insurance policy. (VDOL)
Q. Can my insurance company cancel my policy in mid-term?
A. Yes, as long as the statutory notice of 45 days has been given to you. (VDOL)
Q. What can I do if I believe that my account is not getting fair treatment from my insurer?
A. An employer who believes that the rules or classifications of the workers compensation system have not been properly applied can request the assistance of NCCI in resolving their dispute. NCCI's dispute resolution assistance and administration of an appeal process, provides an opportunity for employers and carriers to efficiently resolve conflicts. Your agent should be able to help you with the process. (BISHCA)
Q. Where do I obtain workers’ compensation insurance?
A. Any insurance agent licensed in Vermont can obtain coverage through various markets. You can contact the Vermont Insurance Agent’s Association at (802) 229-5884 for agent contacts. (BISHCA)