Essential Workers' Compensation Checklist for Canadian Companies Doing Business in the US

Steps you should take now to ensure you are getting full value for your workers’ compensation (WC) premium. The following checklist will help you plan ahead and identify areas in your US workers’ compensation program that should be evaluated to ensure you are not over-paying for coverage.


If you are planning to expand into the US, you should understand the cost impact of where you locate your operations.
  • WC premium costs vary widely by state.
  • WC premium is based on a rate/$100 of payroll which is then modified by an Experience Modification Factor, which is based on your actual loss experience over time. The calculation of this factor also varies widely by state.
  • A myriad of state-specific rules apply that impact type of coverage available in addition to premium cost and reporting requirements.

Audit Your Program

  • Verify all the factors used to calculate your premium. A premium audit is the single most overlooked component in controlling workers’ compensation costs. This program audit can find and correct errors so your company does not pay more than it should for insurance coverage.
  • The premium audit service should be provided by your broker.

Measuring and Managing Costs

  • Manage your Experience Modification Factor (comprising payrolls/codes and actual claims) so you can earn a premium credit. Failure to manage your Experience Modification Factor could lead to your company paying higher DEBITED costs for your workers’ compensation coverage.
  • Benchmark your WC program against companies of similar size in your industry and identify areas for improvement.
  • Consider allocating the US WC costs to your US business to motivate managers and staff alike to actively manage the program. Use benchmarking to tie management performance reviews to WC claims improvement.

Improve Safety Standards

  • Prevent every loss possible - Work with risk services consultants to design and implement programs that increase employee awareness of proper safety procedures and reduce workplace injuries or accidents.
  • Focus on preventing injuries that lead to extended lost-time and contribute to higher claims costs.
  • Know how recent changes in OSHA regulations impact your business.
  • Make sure you are complying with federal and state-specific safety regulations.

Manage Your Claims

Do you have a system in place to manage your claims? Follow this simple, three-part strategy:

  • Manage the losses that can’t be prevented - When incidents happen, your company needs to have a solid post incident claims management strategy in place to help you mitigate the impact of these claims on your Experience Modification Factor. A broker claims management specialist should be your advocate to ensure that your claims are resolved as quickly as possible and with the best possible outcome for all parties.
  • Develop a claims management program that documents procedures and ensures ongoing communication among injured employee, medical practitioner and insurance company.
  • Implement a return-to-work program to help injured employees get back to work as soon as possible. Return-to-work programs are an essential component in reducing the amount of WC benefits paid to the worker by helping them return to productivity as their health improves.

Choosing A Broker

The role of your broker is to advocate on your behalf to ensure your insurance company is managing your coverage and claims appropriately. Look for the following when choosing a broker:

  • Experience in placing US WC policies and managing WC claims
  • Access to insurance companies on a regional and national level
  • Access to safety and risk control experts in your industry
  • Practical hands-on experience managing US WC programs for Canadian companies
  • Experience in implementing return to work programs
  • Claims management resources to help ensure an optimal outcome on each claim.

Choosing an Insurer

  • When evaluating insurers, ask them if they provide:
  • Offices located near your operations with local underwriters and claims staff
  • Safety and risk control services as part of the premium
  • Medical consultants and nurse case managers for managing claims and expediting return to work
  • Access to medical providers to help workers receive care at preferred pricing
  • 24 hour claims reporting via phone or Internet
Contact a HUB International workers' compensation insurance advisor today.