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Wisconsin Workers' Compensation Insurance

Learn everything you need to know about worker's compensation insurance in Wisconsin.

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Workers’ Compensation Laws in Wisconsin

Who needs to be covered by the policy, where you can buy it and how much it will cost are all mandated or influenced by state law.

Workers’ compensation insurance is required for nearly all employers in Wisconsin. Work comp covers wage replacement and medical bills for employees injured on the job.

Nearly all private and public workers are considered employees in Wisconsin and covered under the state’s workers’ compensation laws. This includes:

  • Full-time
  • Part-time
  • Family members
  • Minors

Some exceptions include domestic servants and real estate brokers and agents.

Unlike some states, Wisconsin has some leeway when obtaining coverage for very small businesses (fewer than three employees). If one or more employees have been hired and paid combined gross wages of $500 or more in a quarter for work done in Wisconsin, the employer must get work comp coverage by the following calendar quarter.

That said, an employer must immediately have insurance coverage in place when a third employee is hired, whether full-time or part-time and regardless of wages paid.

Independent Contractors

A person is required to meet the state’s nine-part test before he or she is considered an independent contractor. Otherwise, the worker may be considered an employee and need to be covered under the employer’s policy.

Sole Proprietors, Partners and Members of an LLC

In Wisconsin, these individuals are not considered an employee and excluded from coverage, but they have the option to include themselves. These business types are also not required to carry a workers’ comp policy, if they have no employees.

Corporate Officers

Corporate officers are considered employees and included in coverage. They may be excluded under certain circumstances.

Out-of-State Work

If employing workers in multiple states or employees are temporarily working out-of-state, employers may need to purchase insurance for all the states where workers are located, according to each state’s laws. Out-of-state employers with employees working in Wisconsin must have coverage through an insurance company licensed to write work comp in Wisconsin and endorsed to name Wisconsin as a covered state.

Wisconsin Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rates

Wisconsin workers’ compensation rates have decreased in recent years. The Wisconsin Commissioner of Insurance approved a 6% rate decrease for premiums in October 2018. This was the third consecutive year workers’ compensation rates have declined. According to the state, the latest reduction is expected to save Wisconsin employers $134 million annually.

Improved workplace safety was cited as one reason behind the rate decreases. Rates are set for each class code, or industry, and are calculated based on reported workplace injuries and relative risks associated with businesses in that class code.

The rate is multiplied by your payroll (per $100 in payroll), and individual credits or debits might be applied based on experience, claims history, recognized safety programs or other factors. Learn more about how much workers’ compensation insurance costs.

According to recent data (2016), Wisconsin industries with the highest rates of occupational injuries and illnesses were leather and allied product manufacturing, local government heavy and civil engineering constructions, and local government utilities.

Wisconsin Work Comp Resources

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1. Request Coverage

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2. Review Your Quote 

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3. Purchase Your Policy

Some policies can be purchased online that same day — for near-instant coverage. 

Wisconsin has a private market for workers’ compensation insurance. Employers can buy a policy from any insurance carrier or agency that is licensed to write in that state.

Wisconsin’s assigned risk pool is managed by the Wisconsin Compensation Rating Bureau (WCRB). If your business has been denied coverage, contact WCRB to be placed with a licensed carrier.


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