It is somewhat ironic. If you speak to many business owners or employers in Wisconsin and ask them about workers’ compensation, most will complain about the high cost or the red tape, even if they have never had a serious claim.
This is ironic because the creation of workers’ compensation insurance programs has been a boon to most employers. Because with workers’ compensation insurance in place, employers are protected from having to pay the full medical and other costs of an employee who is injured on the job. And this is why it is often known as the “grand bargain.”
Like any insurance, it may seem like an unnecessary expense until you need to make a claim. And while most employers would like to reduce their costs by not paying any insurance premiums, it would be the rare owner who is willing to drop the property insurance for their business merely because paying the premiums is an unpleasant experience.
It is no different for workers’ compensation. Most claims proceed without any significant issues for the employer. And because workers’ compensation provides universal coverage, every employer must carry the mandated insurance coverage, it has little effect on competition because every employer is paying these insurance premiums.
Of course, if you fraudulently operate a business without the required workers’ compensation insurance, bad things can happen to you, including having to pay a catastrophic medical bill out of the funds of your business or being fined by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development for violations of state law.
Safety violations can also result in fines, which is why adhering to all safety rules is important for all businesses. The secondary benefit is a reduction in injuries and workers’ compensation claims, which will result in lower insurance costs.