3 Types of Colorado Workers’ Compensation Insurance
Serving Injured Workers in Colorado
Coverage and protection for injured workers in Colorado can be obtained by an employer in 3 different ways
There may come a day – or it has already passed – when a serious job injury or illness causes you to seek workers’ compensation benefits in Colorado. Workers’ comp laws in the state stipulate injured workers are to receive compensation for permanent impairment based on the severity of their injuries.
But just when you think your employer or workers’ comp insurer will be there for you, they decide to deny your claim – finding any way out they can. They may argue with the doctor’s assessment or claim your injuries were the result of some other non-work related activity – you never know.
There’s no skirting the issue – unless you have already received the maximum as determined by the impairment rating a doctor assigns your injuries, you are entitled to additional compensation in the form of permanent partial disability benefits.
While there are limits to how much you can ultimately receive, these benefits provide an important lifeline to injured workers like yourself.
Fortunately, Colorado’s workers’ compensation laws state that most employers must have a current policy of insurance or self-insurance to protect their workers in the event of an on-the-job injury or occupational illness. Colorado employers can obtain coverage for their employees in one of 3 ways.
It’s important you understand each of these coverage options and which one your employer chooses in case you’re injured on-the-job. It is unlawful for an employer to require an employee to pay even the smallest amount of workers’ compensation insurance. They are prohibited by law from garnishing worker wages to pay for it and cannot demand an employee pay anything to have their work injury treated. Workers’ compensation insurance premiums are the sole responsibility of the employer.
Continue reading to learn more about the 3 different types of Colorado workers’ compensation insurance your employer can carry to stay in compliance with Colorado’s Workers’ Compensation Act.
We’ll always be there for you through the whole process. Every step of the way.
Colorado’s Workers’ Compensation Insurer of Last Resort – Pinnacol Assurance
One way employers can comply with Colorado’s workers’ compensation laws and cover their workers against unforeseen on-the-job injuries is to apply and pay premiums for coverage through Pinnacol Assurance, the state’s insurer of last resort.
A majority of employers in Colorado rely on Pinnacol for their workers’ compensation insurance needs. Around 57 percent of employers and 1.5 million employees are covered this way, according to the most recent data available.
Employers are obligated to pay premiums to Pinnacol for coverage only. The Colorado workers’ compensation insurer of last resort is liable for any compensation payments in the event of an on-the-job injury.
Private Stock or Mutual Company Authorized to Offer Workers’ Compensation in Colorado
Another option your employer can choose to cover you and your fellow workers is to apply for and pay premiums to a private company that is authorized to insure for workers’ compensation in Colorado. The process and rules for obtaining coverage are roughly the same as Pinnacol’s.
Employers that choose this route must notify the state’s Division of Workers’ Compensation and provide the insurer’s name and address, their policy’s effective date and its termination date. They may also be required to file a copy of the insurance contract or policy to the Division.
Procuring workers’ compensation coverage through a private insurer relieves the employer of certain penalties, but not all. Employers are not responsible for penalties like delays in reporting an injury to the insurer or bad faith claims.
Obtain a Permit for Self-Insurance from the Department of Labor and Employment
The third option employers in Colorado may choose to cover their workers is self-insurance, which involves essentially acting as their own insurance company to provide workers’ compensation benefits to their injured employees.
To go this route, the employer must first obtain permission from the executive director of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, which may require obtaining a surety bond in the event the company defaults on paying its workers’ compensation liabilities.
As part of the self-insurance application process, the employer will need to submit a written proposal to the Department of Labor and Employment detailing administration, claims adjusting, membership, plan for reinsurance, capitalization and risk-management of the pool.
Once approved for workers’ compensation self-insurance, employers will have to file an accounting of assets, liabilities, business transactions and money reserves to the commissioner of insurance every year by March 30th.
But as the executive director of the Department of Labor and Employment giveth, he or she can taketh away at any time as well. An employer’s self-insurance approval can be canceled for several reasons such as insolvency, failure to provide an annual report, failure to comply with the rules and other conditions of the self-insurance pool and more. If a company’s self-insurance permit is canceled by the state, they will immediately need to obtain workers’ compensation coverage through one of the other 2 options mentioned above.
Talk To a Denver Workers’ Comp Attorney – Schedule Your Free Consultation
Coverage for workers’ compensation in Colorado comes from one of these 3 places. That’s it. Knowing how your employer goes about providing coverage for on-the-job injuries and occupational illnesses is important knowledge to have in ensuring that you are properly compensated for any unforeseen workplace injuries.
If you’re having difficulty obtaining workers’ compensation benefits from your employer or their provider, contact a Denver workers’ compensation attorney at The Babcock Law Firm today to discuss your case and options for obtaining your benefits.
No matter where you are in the state of Colorado, if your case falls within our practice area and we feel our representation can benefit you, an attorney will conduct an in-depth consultation at no charge. We are here to help you secure the best possible outcome.
Serving Injured Workers Throughout Colorado
From our office in Denver, we represent injured workers across the state—including in Colorado Springs, Littleton, Boulder, Aurora, Broomfield, Louisville, Lafayette, Lakewood, Golden, Thornton, Westminster, Longmont, Loveland, Fort Collins and many other Colorado cities.