In most cases, businesses with five or more employees must carry workers’ compensation insurance, whether they are full-time, part-time, seasonal or family members. Businesses that operate within Tennessee must comply with the state’s workers’ compensation regulations.
The average workers’ compensation insurance rates have been steadily declining over the past five years, ever since the state passed reforming legislation in 2013.
Read on for what you need to know to get work comp in Tennessee.
Tennessee small businesses are required to carry workers' compensation insurance if they have five or more employees. Coal mining, construction and trades businesses must have insurance if they have one or more employees, and owners must also have coverage on themselves, unless they request an exemption.
If considered employees, family members, part-time employees and corporate officers count toward the employee limits.
Corporate officers in non-construction business may exclude themselves, but they still count toward the five-employee limit.
Many subcontractors and independent contractors are sole proprietors or partners. Unless you’re an employee, you won’t be covered by their insurance policy and may need to provide proof of work comp.
Tennessee has a private market, which means employers can purchase a workers' compensation policy from any insurance carrier or agency that is licensed to write in that state.
To get coverage, contact a licensed insurer and request a quote. Employers need to provide basic business details, including locations, EIN number, type of work the business does, the total payroll that needs coverage and any prior history of work comp coverage or claims.
The state does not offer a state insurance fund, but employers struggling to find coverage can contact NCCI, which administers Tennessee’s Workers Compensation Insurance Plan.
The state underwent reforms to its workers’ compensation system about five years ago, which has led to a decrease in rates.
The governor signed legislation in 2013 overhauling portions of the system, and in 2015, Tennessee decided to eliminate the Tennessee Workers Compensation Insurance Plan (TWCIP) and replace it with NCCI’s Workers Compensation Insurance Plan.
NCCI, or National Council on Compensation Insurance, is used by many states to collect workplace injury data, recommend insurance rates, or administer a workers’ comp insurance plan.
Tennessee chose NCCI to administer workers compensation residual market services, which offers coverage to businesses that can’t find coverage through private insurers. The state also uses NCCI to recommend rates. If accepted, insurers must use these rates as a baseline for premiums. The nature of the business, total payroll being covered, claims history and other individual factors all influence the total cost. Learn more about how much workers’ compensation policies cost.
Most recently, NCCI filed for a 19.1% decrease, the largest since reforms were passed in 2013. This would be the eighth consecutive decrease in rates.