In response reportedly to hundreds of calls from homeowners and construction contractors, both in and out-of-state, concerned about Florida requirements for workers’ compensation insurance coverage, the Florida Department of Financial Services is reiterating the responsibilities of contractors under state law.
Under Florida law, construction employers with one or more employees must provide workers’ comp coverage for their employees. Construction employers who are corporate officers or members of a limited liability company can exempt themselves from coverage if they obtain an exemption from the Department of Financial Services’ Division of Workers’ Compensation. In addition, out-of-state contractors must obtain a Florida policy or a policy endorsed by their current carrier using Florida rates.
The department reportedly remains concerned that homeowners who employ an uninsured contractor may be held financially responsible if an injury occurs during repairs.
For contractors unable to secure coverage in the private market, the Florida Workers’ Compensation Joint Underwriting Association Inc. (FWCJUA), the state’s insurer of last resort for workers’ comp insurance coverage, is offering a streamlined process for obtaining coverage.
Employers who enter into a payroll service and premium deduction program with the FWCJUA, and pay a processing fee, will be eligible to receive a policy within one business day and will save up to 76 percent in up-front premium costs, depending on their payroll amounts. This initiative will reportedly allow contractors, especially out-of-state contractors, to pay a smaller portion of their premiums up front so they can quickly assist homeowners with repairs and rebuilding.
The department has, since Hurricane Charley struck in mid-August, aired radio and television public service announcements advising contractors of their responsibilities under the law and urging homeowners to ensure they are dealing not only with a licensed and reputable contractor, but also one covered by workers’ comp insurance.
The department has also distributed printed materials and made information available on its Web site.
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