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Inside MiniCo’s New Workers Compensation Program

An employee tries to fix a stuck roll-up door and cuts his hand, requiring a visit to an urgent care center.

A worker falls from a ladder while replacing a light bulb and medical attention is needed.

A staff member slips on ice and hurts her back, resulting in weeks of recovery time.

An employee is injured in an auto accident while running errands for the company and his long-term health is uncertain.

Accidents and illness can strike any employee at any company. Self-storage facilities are not considered hazardous work environments by insurance companies, yet accidents happen every day.

To provide medical care for employees and to protect the business interests of owners, companies of all sizes carry workers compensation insurance. Although many self-storage facilities may only employ one or two people, workers compensation coverage is required by the majority of states.

MiniCo Insurance Agency has introduced a new workers compensation program for self-storage owners in conjunction with Liberty Mutual Insurance, one of the nation’s leading carriers of workers comp.

MiniCo’s self-storage workers compensation insurance provides a wide range of coverage benefits, including assisting injured workers with out-of-pocket expenses in obtaining necessary medical care for work-related injuries.

Workers compensation insurance provides coverage for lost wages and medical treatment resulting from an employee’s work-related injury or illness as well as services needed to help an employee recover and return to work. Also, injured workers can obtain affordable treatment from Liberty Mutual’s network of local medical providers.

“By adding workers compensation, we are creating enhanced protection for the self-storage operator,” MiniCo CEO Mike Schofield says. “We do not require that a self-storage operation carry MiniCo’s business owner policy in order to get a quote for workers comp coverage.”

MiniCo’s comprehensive business owner policy (BOP) covers a range of exposures with a single policy. A BOP can be a better option for smaller companies such as self-storage businesses compared with larger commercial packages. MiniCo upgraded its business owner policy earlier this year to provide enhanced protection for policyholders and streamlined service for insurance agents.

What Is Workers Compensation Insurance?

Workers compensation insurance (also known as workman’s comp) provides benefits to employees for work-related injuries or illnesses, including medical care and a portion of lost wages for employees who become injured or ill on the job. Coverage also includes employee rehabilitation and death benefits.

Each state has its own unique set of workers compensation laws that help ensure employers provide coverage for the cost of work-related injuries or occupational diseases, regardless of employee negligence, according to online insurance industry reports.

An employee can only receive benefits if their injury or illness relates to their job duties or employment.

Workers comp is required by law in almost every state, and companies that choose not to carry workers comp coverage put their businesses at financial risk. Not only can a business be sued for workplace injuries, but they can be fined for breaking the law.

If the insurance is compliant with state law, an employee who receives benefits can’t sue their employers for their injuries or lost wages, industry sources report. They can, however, sue for things outside the workers comp portion of a policy. Employer’s liability insurance is also included in a workers comp policy to pay for court costs and legal fees in a lawsuit.

In most states, the cost of workers comp insurance can vary between insurance companies, but all carriers base their premiums on the amount of payroll an employer pays as well as the perceived danger in the workplace and historical claims experience.

Liberty Mutual’s Support

Liberty Mutual and MiniCo have been partners for more than 20 years serving the self-storage industry. The Fortune 100 company began offering policies in 1912 and is now the seventh-largest writer for workers compensation in the nation.

“Liberty Mutual is a well-established company with a very strong financial presence,” says Rob Novak, MiniCo’s team leader in commercial underwriting. “They also have extensive knowledge handling workers comp claims, arranging medical care, and reimbursing lost wages. They operate in all 50 states and have experience with state laws and what benefits apply in each state.”

As the representative for Liberty Mutual, MiniCo handles all the front-end requirements, reviews applications, gathers any additional information, provides quotes, and issues policies. Liberty Mutual handles claims and follows up with injured employees.

Liberty Mutual assists injured workers in obtaining necessary medications for work-related injuries without out-of-pocket expenses and provides affordable treatment for injured workers from a network of local medical providers

According to Liberty Mutual, the company employs highly trained specialists and sophisticated modeling techniques to resolve claims 16 percent faster and at a 16 percent lower cost than major competitors.

Liberty Mutual’s medical resources include expert data scientists, medical bill review specialists, and registered nurse case managers who help manage costs and ensure the best possible care for clients. The company’s medical bill review process saves an average of 59 percent.

Liberty Mutual Insurance’s managed care pharmacy program provides injured workers with access to necessary medications for their work-related injuries. The First Fill program is designed to help injured workers recover and return to work.

The most effective way to lower the cost of risk is to prevent accidents from happening. The company utilizes a full slate of risk control services to help clients prevent injuries and illnesses. The risk control consulting center employs experienced safety consultants who can answer questions, provide technical guidance, and make recommendations before or after a loss.

Liberty Mutual’s SafetyNet website is a one-stop online destination for safety tools, training, and resources to improve workplace safety, protect property, and prevent accidents. The website includes OSHA compliance standards, drug-free workplace, and return-to-work resources.

Every day of lost productivity hurts a business, so Liberty Mutual works to close claims faster and at a lower cost than the industry average. This expertise results in fewer days out of work for employees and a significantly lower cost of risk for the owner’s business.

Enhanced Protection For Self-Storage Owners

After receiving numerous customer requests for workers comp coverage, MiniCo turned to its commercial insurance carrier of two decades to formulate the agency’s newest program.

“Liberty Mutual and MiniCo can now offer monoline workers compensation options as well as complete property and general liability products designed for mini-storage operations,” says Doug Perrigo, underwriting specialist for Liberty Mutual, who oversees the MiniCo account. “This allows for one-stop shopping for MiniCo customers, who can get everything they need for property, liability, and now workers comp so they don’t have to go to another broker.”

Commenting on MiniCo’s program, Mario Macaluso of Best Self Storage Insurance in Scottsdale, Ariz., says, “Now you have insurance with one company that understands the self-storage industry. I would definitely want to use MiniCo’s workers compensation product to complement other product lines that they offer.”

MiniCo has four decades of experience insuring the storage industry, and the company has expanded its scope of coverage in recent years to include new coverages and limit and deductible options for self-storage risks.

“We are dedicated to the self-storage industry and have greater experience with storage-related exposures than many other workers comp markets,” says Novak. “For instance, MiniCo has the ability to cover resident managers, which is a 24-hour exposure. Some carriers will only provide coverage during ‘working hours’. Thus, if a tenant hits a gate and the resident manager needs to go out at 11 p.m. to fix it and injures himself, the MiniCo workers comp policy would respond.”

Workplace injuries cost U.S. businesses more than $1 billion a week, according to Liberty Mutual, and accidents can happen in even the safest work environments. In self-storage, something as simple as lifting a box of printer paper could result in an injury to a manager that requires a doctor’s attention, medication, and physical therapy. In larger facilities where golf carts are used, someone can run into a wall or a pole and hurt themselves. An employee can even develop carpal tunnel syndrome from working on the computer.

Now operators have a single source to access not only workers compensation but also a host of other insurance products designed specifically for the self-storage industry.

David Lucas is a freelance writer based in Phoenix, Arizona. He is a regular contributor to all of MiniCo’s publications.

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