You’re an Artisan by golly! You know it and I know it. You’re absolutely passionate about the craft that has called you to earn a living from it.
You and your team may nurture and transform grapes into superb wines; you may blend various grains, water, hops and yeast to become awesome beer; similarly, you may distill fermented fruit or plant juice (or starchy grains or tubers for that matter) and age it in casks or tanks until such time as you have made fine small-batch whiskey (not whisky… unless you’re making it in Canada, Scotland or Japan!), vodka, gin or brandy. Perhaps your gourmet food truck serves as a gastropub on wheels to patrons who eagerly follow you online to see where you’ll be on any given day. Perhaps on the other hand you and your guys can perpetually maintain or, when required, tear down and rebuild a forklift blindfolded. You’re an Artisan!
If that characterizes you (or, if you can relate what you do as a manufacturer, a purveyor, or a server of any quality product or service), well then, the Artisan Blog is written for you. From time to time we’ll talk about things that impact your business and how you address the inherent risks of what you do.
So, what shall we talk about today?
Let’s talk about something that hopefully you’re already aware of. I say hopefully because by now your insurance broker and/or workers’ comp carrier should have already reached out to you to deal with new legislation that will impact virtually every business here in California that has employees. I speak of course of AB 2883. The nice folks we sent to Sacramento have found yet another way to protect us from ourselves.
Effective January 1st, this bill changes both who may be excluded from workers’ compensation insurance coverage as well as the process for how newly affected individuals can be excluded. On that day, all employees, including paid officers and members of boards of quasi-public or private corporations, general partners of partnerships and managing members of a limited liability (LLC). If however, these newly affected individuals happen to own at least 15% of the corporation’s stock, they may opt themselves out of having to be covered by workers’ comp insurance provided they submit to their carrier (on a timely basis) a waiver verifying eligibility for the exemption. Failure to do this on or before January 1st likely means those individuals will be added to the policy and additional premium may be owed at the time of your next premium audit.
The legislators are arguably well-intentioned but the fact is, owners have long been able to pay the appropriate premium and be covered by work comp insurance on a voluntary basis. How many owner/managers of small businesses after all would be unable to sustain the business after a serious work-related accident that effectively curtails incoming revenue until that key person can come back to work?
Unfortunately, few legislators seem to understand too much about any of our businesses so instead of making this new level of protection and compliance apply simply to policies as they renew, they made it applicable to ALL new and existing in-force policies – policies that are midterm (i.e., policies that don’t renew exactly on January 1st) must be nevertheless adjusted to take into consideration the payroll of these formerly excludable individuals. Hence, your carrier and hopefully your broker have already forwarded you the needed forms so that you can file your signed waivers or be ready to begin paying your carrier the additional premium that will be required.
You haven’t yet had any contact from your broker about this? Perhaps it’s time to give them a call yourself. You may not have ever thought much about this but through the commissions that are imbedded in the premiums you pay, you pay him or her handsomely for looking out for you.
Until next time, here’s to fewer & smaller claims!