Workers’ Comp provides medical and financial benefits to employees or their survivors for work-related injuries, illnesses, or death.
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The high risk of physical injury in a sports and fitness environment is not limited to the clients, students, and patrons of your business. Instructors, trainers, and employees in the sports and fitness industry are particularly prone to work-related injuries and illnesses due to the physical demands of their job. Make sure your business is prepared to cover these incidents with Workers’ Compensation Insurance.
What is Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
Workers’ Compensation Insurance is a form of liability insurance that provides financial and medical benefits to employees who suffer work-related illnesses or injuries during the course of their work. This coverage includes the employee’s medical expenses, rehabilitation, and a portion of lost wages. Additionally, Workers’ Compensation Insurance (also known as Workers’ Comp) can provide funeral, burial, and death benefits for the employee’s surviving family in the case of a work-related death.
As a no-fault policy, Workers’ Comp pays benefits regardless of whether the employer or employee is at fault for the injury. By accepting these benefits, an injured employee agrees to not sue your business for the injury.
In almost every state, Workers’ Comp is a required coverage for businesses that employ others. However, specific details (such as types of claims covered and the amount of compensation provided) vary from state to state.
- After years of working as a weight-lifting trainer for your fitness center, your employee accidentally slips while demonstrating a deadlift for a class and injures his back, requiring medical attention. Your insurer will provide funds for his medical expenses as well as a portion of his lost income while he is recovering and unable to work.
Why is Workers’ Compensation Insurance important?
Due to the nature of the industry, employees of sports and fitness businesses are particularly prone to workplace injuries and long-term health conditions resulting from their work. Instructors, trainers, and other fitness professionals are not only pushing their clients to their physical limits, these employees must engage in the physical activities themselves. Overexertion, sprains from heavy lifting, and even long-term chronic injuries are all common risks associated with professionals in this industry. In addition, there is also a high risk of injury from all the fitness equipment utilized on a daily basis.
It is no surprise that Workers’ Compensation Insurance is especially crucial for businesses in the sports and fitness industry. Your business likely focuses on maintaining a client’s peak health. Similarly, making sure that your business has adequate Workers’ Comp is a vital step in protecting the financial health of your employees should they suffer a work-related illness or injury.
- After multiple yoga sessions, one of your instructors develops a repetitive strain injury on her wrist from repeated poses and requires physical therapy. Your Workers’ Compensation Insurance would cover these costs as well as a portion of her lost income if she is unable to work during her physical therapy.
What does Workers’ Compensation Insurance cover?
Workers’ Compensation Insurance covers work-related illnesses, injuries, or death. This includes injuries that occur both on and off the business premises, as well as injuries that occur while an employee is traveling for work. This is particularly important for personal trainers and instructors who must travel to various client locations. Workers’ Comp will cover injuries even if the employee is using their personal car for work-related travel, but injuries sustained while commuting to and from work are not covered.
Each state has its own regulations and requirements for Workers’ Compensation Insurance. Depending on the state, you may find differences in the types of illnesses and injuries that are covered, specific benefits available for employees, the types of medical examinations required to verify claims, and protocols for delivery of medical care. As such, it is important to understand your state’s requirements to ensure that you have adequate coverage for your employees.
- An employee of your gym is driving home after work when he gets into a car collision and sustains injuries that require medical attention. Because these injuries were sustained while he was commuting home from work, they would not be covered by your Workers’ Compensation Insurance policy.
- A personal fitness trainer in Alaska suffers a knee injury that requires surgery and physical therapy. According to state regulations, his employer’s Workers’ Comp policy would cover his medical expenses for up to two years after his injury. Alternatively, a personal fitness trainer in Georgia suffers the same injury and requires the same treatment. According to state regulations, his employer’s Workers’ Comp policy is responsible for medical costs for up to 400 weeks after his injury.
Who is covered by Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
Workers’ Compensation Insurance covers all employees of your business who suffer a work-related illness, injury, or death. In general, anyone who provides services or work for an employer is eligible for Workers’ Comp. Independent contractors, however, are typically not covered. If your business hires personal trainers or fitness instructors as contractors, they will most likely not be eligible for any Workers’ Compensation coverage. It is important to check with your state regulations to determine what types of workers are covered by your Workers’ Comp policy, as the guidelines vary from state to state.
What kind of claims does Workers’ Compensation Insurance pay for?
Injury and Illness
In the event of a work-related illness or injury, Workers’ Compensation Insurance typically covers:
- Qualified medical expenses resulting from the injury, including hospital visits, medical procedures, and prescriptions
- Rehabilitation and physical therapy costs
- A portion of lost wages if the employee is unable to work due to the illness or injury
Lost wages payments vary by state, but they are typically two-thirds of the lost income. The amount and length of coverage are also based on the severity of the employee’s impairment. For instance, this reduction in earnings capacity may be total or partial and it may be temporary or permanent.
- While demonstrating a particularly difficult lift, a trainer at your Crossfit gym injures his rotator cuff and requires medical attention. In order to heal from his injury, his doctor tells him that he needs to rest his shoulder and avoid physical strain. Your insurer would cover the medical costs as well as a portion of your trainer’s lost wages while he recovers from his shoulder injury.
In the event of an employee death due to a work-related event, Workers’ Compensation Insurance will cover:
- Funeral costs
- Death benefits for surviving close relatives, such as a spouse or children
Death benefits for surviving relatives are based upon an employee’s weekly wages. The benefit is a portion (commonly two-thirds but it varies by state) of the worker’s wage at the time of death. Rules vary by state, but for a surviving spouse, the benefit may be paid until their own death or remarriage. For children, the benefits may be paid until the children reach age 18.
Is Workers’ Compensation Insurance required?
Workers’ Compensation coverage is regulated at the state level, with each state holding specific policies and coverage requirements. In general, almost every state requires businesses to have Workers’ Compensation Insurance if the business has employees. However, certain states do not require Workers’ Comp until the business hires a certain number of employees. Texas is currently the only state where Workers’ Compensation Insurance is completely optional.
In most cases, businesses that do not secure adequate Workers’ Comp coverage are subject to fines, penalties, and even criminal charges. Additionally, businesses that don’t have Workers’ Comp can be sued for the medical expenses and lost wages of injured employees.
In general, the sports and fitness industry poses a high risk of injury for employees. It is imperative for businesses within this industry to consider Workers’ Compensation Insurance regardless of legal requirements.
What are the key exclusions to Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
Workers’ Compensation Insurance covers most work-related injuries and illnesses, but there are some exclusions. Injuries suffered in the following situations would not be covered by Workers’ Compensation:
- Injuries while commuting to and from work
- Drug or alcohol-related injuries
- Injuries sustained while not on the job
- Fights or violence initiated by the employee
- Injuries that are purposefully self-inflicted
- Horseplay or violations of company policy
- During a seminar, one of your dance instructors misses a step and falls from the stage. He sprains his wrist during the fall and requires medical attention. It is later discovered that he was intoxicated during the event. Because alcohol-related injuries are listed as an exclusion, this injury would not be covered by your Workers’ Compensation policy.
How much does Workers’ Compensation Insurance cost?
The premiums on Workers’ Compensation Insurance vary depending on a number of factors. Though most small businesses pay less than $1,000 annually for Workers’ Comp, much of the final pricing will depend on your company’s risk to insure.
Pricing for Workers’ Compensation Insurance is based upon a number of factors, including:
- Location of the business
- Number of employees
- Nature of the business, which is based on the industry classification code
- Dollar amount of payroll
- Claims history
In order to get an accurate estimate on pricing, it’s best to get a quote from a reputable insurance company. Below we’ve highlighted a few of our trusted partners who offer Workers’ Compensation Insurance:
|Provider||Workers' Compensation||General Liability||Professional Liability||Commercial Auto|
Insurance companies apply an adjustment to premiums called the experience rating. This rating is based on the claims history of a business compared with other businesses with the same industry classification. The higher your experience rating, the higher your Workers’ Compensation premiums will be. Sports and fitness businesses are often considered at higher risk for employee injuries and premiums may reflect that.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance vs. Employers Liability Insurance
Workers’ Compensation Insurance covers medical expenses and lost wages for employees who suffer work-related illnesses or injuries during the course of their work. However, if an employee sues your company for additional damages or for injuries outside of what is covered under Workers’ Comp, employers liability insurance would come into play. Also known as “Part Two” or “Part B” of Workers’ Comp, employers liability insurance covers legal fees, court costs, and any settlements or judgments against your company. Workers’ Compensation policies typically include employers liability coverage, but in some cases, you may need to buy it separately.
Although every company has some risk of work-related injuries, employees of sports and fitness businesses are particularly at risk due to the physical nature of their work. Workers’ Compensation Insurance is essential in covering the medical expenses and lost wages of employees who have been injured or fallen ill during the course of their work. Workers’ Comp is legally required in most states and for good reason. Keep your employees protected from the financial consequences of work-related injuries or illnesses by purchasing adequate Workers’ Compensation coverage.