West Virginia

Buying workers’ compensation for:

West Virginia

State Fund: Yes, Competitive

Insurance Coverage Requirements: Workers’ Compensation is compulsory in West Virginia, waivers are not permitted.

Who is Required to Purchase Workers’ Compensation Coverage?

Employers must obtain Workers’ Compensation coverage if they have one or more employees.

Casual employers who employ fewer than 3 employees are exempt and agricultural services who employ fewer than 5 employees are exempt.

A company may exclude its owners, partners, equity members, board of directors and up to four (4) corporate officers from workers’ compensation coverage. Also, other officers may be exempt if they do not serve in a "dual capacity" for the company (both serving as an officer and performing administrative or other "day to day" duties for the company). A company is required to specifically exempt any such persons by providing information to the private carrier, including identifying information of the individuals the company intends to exempt.

Factors that Impact Coverage

  • You are a sole proprietor or partner: In West Virginia, you are included in coverage but have the option to exclude yourself.
  • You are a corporate officer: You are included in coverage with the option to exclude yourself; however, in some cases an employer may elect not to provide coverage for corporate officers.
  • You are a member of an LLC: West Virginia includes you in coverage, but you have the option to exclude yourself. LLCs may exclude up to four managers, officers or members.

Failure to Secure Compensation

Employers that fail to obtain insurance when required may be ordered by the Department to cease operations until coverage is obtained. The normal penalty for an illegal lapse in worker’s compensation coverage is twice the amount of premium not paid during the uninsured time period or $750, whichever is greater. An employer who has an illegal lapse in worker’s compensation insurance of 7 consecutive days or less is subject to a $100 penalty for each uninsured day up to 7 days, provided that the employer has not previously had an illegal lapse in coverage and that no injury occurred during the uninsured period.

An uninsured employer is personally liable to reimburse the Uninsured Employers Fund for benefit payments to an injured employee. Aggressive collection action including warrants, levies, garnishment and execution against property are used to insure reimbursement. The normal exemptions of property from seizure and sale on execution of a judgment do not apply to uninsured employers.

Proof of Coverage is Required

West Virginia Code requires, in part, that:

"Every employer shall post a notice upon its premises in a conspicuous place identifying its workers’ compensation insurer. The notice must include the name, business address and telephone number of the insurer and of the person to contact with questions about a claim. The employer shall at all times maintain the notice provided for the information of his or her employees."

First, the statute simply requires that the notice include the name, business address and telephone number of the employer’s workers’ compensation insurer. This requirement is straightforward and self-explanatory.

Second, the statute requires that the notice should contain information regarding the "person" an injured worker may contact with any questions he or she may have regarding a claim. OIC interprets this requirement broadly. The "person" identified in the notice may be 1) an employee of the injured worker’s employer - for example, a manager, human resources director or employee benefits coordinator; 2) an adjuster for the insurer; or 3) the insurer’s third-party claims administrator. However, the "person" identified: 1) should be readily available to the injured worker to personally assist the injured worker with the injured worker’s claim; and 2) should possess sufficient knowledge about the workers’ compensation claims process to adequately do so.

With regard to the physical composition of the notice, the statute provides no requirements with regard to the composition or size of the notice, or typeface used in the notice, and these determinations are left to the discretion of the insurer. It should be noted that the statute requires the notice to be posted in a conspicuous place upon the employer’s premises. Consistent with spirit of this directive, notices should be composed in a fashion that will provide workers with the required information in a legible format that can be easily seen and understood.

Independent Contractors

Mistakenly classifying an employee as an independent contractor can result in significant fines and penalties.

View 20 factors used by the IRS and our independent contractor questionnaire to determine whether you have enough control over a worker to be an employer.

Other Tips

If your insured employs workers in multiple states or your insured’s employees are temporarily working out-of-state, they need to purchase insurance for all the states where their workers are located, according to each state’s laws. Call 1-800-476-2948 and let us walk you through it.

The nature of your insured’s business, number of employees being covered and past coverage and claims are all factors in how much their premium will cost.