Workers’ Compensation Insurance in Kansas
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Kansas workers' compensation insurance

Kansas law requires every business with employees to provide workers’ compensation insurance. This policy covers the cost of medical treatment for injured workers.

What are the requirements for workers’ compensation coverage in Kansas?

The Kansas workers’ comp statute is broad. It requires virtually all public sector and private employers with a payroll of more than $20,000 to provide workers’ compensation insurance for both full-time and part-time employees.

Employers in the following situations are exempt from providing workers’ compensation insurance:

  • Those with a payroll of $20,000 or less
  • Those with certain agricultural workers
  • Realtors working as independent contractors
  • Firefighters belonging to a firefighters’ relief association that has waived coverage under the state’s workers’ compensation law
  • Certain owner-operator vehicle drivers (e.g., freight truckers) who have their own occupational accident insurance

As a Kansas business owner, do I need to include myself under my workers’ compensation insurance policy?

It's always a good idea for business owners to carry workers' comp, even if you're a sole proprietor. Health insurance providers might deny a claim for injuries that happen on the job.

As for whether workers' comp is required, it depends on your ownership status. For example, sole proprietors and independent contractors aren't required to carry workers' compensation coverage. However, they must comply with the state’s rules for covering their employees. The same is true for LLC members and business partners.

Corporate officers with less than a 10% ownership share are considered employees and therefore must be included in workers’ comp. However, those with a 10% or greater ownership share have the option of excluding themselves from coverage.

Corporate officers and LLC members who wish to be exempt must file a form with their workers’ compensation insurance company.

Can certain employers and employees elect to participate in a business's workers’ comp plan?

Yes, Kansas provides a lot of flexibility for exempt employers or employees to opt into workers’ comp should they find it beneficial. This applies to:

  • Sole proprietors
  • Partners
  • Corporate officers with a 10% or greater ownership share
  • Employers wanting coverage for volunteers or other workers not required to participate
  • Volunteer directors, officers, or trustees in nonprofit entities

Given the high cost of medical bills, it may be a smart business decision to purchase this policy even when it's not required.

How much does workers' compensation insurance cost in Kansas?

A small business owner calculating their workers' comp insurance payments

The average cost of workers’ compensation in Kansas is $47 per month.

Your workers' comp premium is calculated based on a few factors, including:

  • Payroll
  • Location
  • Number of employees
  • Industry and risk factors
  • Coverage limits
  • Claims history

How can Kansas business owners save money on workers' comp?

To save money on workers' comp insurance, it's important to make sure you classify your employees correctly. Employees with desk jobs or other jobs with a low risk of injury cost less to insure. This also helps you avoid misclassification fines.

In some cases, small business owners can choose to buy pay-as-you-go workers' compensation. This type of workers' comp policy has a low upfront premium, and lets you make payments based on your actual payroll instead of estimated payroll. It's useful for businesses that hire seasonal help or have fluctuating numbers of employees.

Finally, a documented safety program can help lower workers' comp costs. A safer workplace means fewer accidents, which helps keep your premium low.

How does workers’ comp work in Kansas?

When an employee suffers a workplace injury or develops an occupational illness, workers' compensation covers the cost of medical care. The treating physician must be approved by the employer. This policy also provides two-thirds of the employee's gross average weekly wage up to a certain limit, starting after a one-week waiting period.

Policies usually include employer's liability insurance, which can help cover legal expenses if an employee blames their employer for an injury. However, the exclusive remedy provision in most workers' comp policies prohibits an employee from suing their employer if they accept workers' comp benefits.

Workers' compensation benefits can include:

  • Medical benefits, such as emergency treatment or physical therapy
  • Temporary total disability benefits
  • Permanent total disability benefits
  • Permanent partial disability benefits
  • Death benefits

The Kansas Department of Labor Workers Compensation Division regulates workers' comp laws in the state.

How is workers' comp purchased in Kansas?

Kansas business owners can compare quotes and purchase a policy from private insurance companies. (Insureon offers this service with its online insurance marketplace.)

If they’re unable to get insurance from commercial insurers, they can buy it from the Kansas Workers’ Compensation Insurance Plan (Assigned Risk Plan), which is administered by the Kansas Insurance Department. You can access this last-resort coverage through your local insurance broker.

Additional ways to get workers’ compensation insurance are through self-insurance and a group-funded pool. To self-insure, employers must demonstrate to the Kansas Department of Labor Workers Compensation Division that they have the financial ability to cover any workers’ comp claims that may arise.

Employers who wish to join a group-funded pool, which has multiple employers as members, must obtain the permission of the Kansas Insurance Department.

What are the penalties for not having workers’ comp insurance in Kansas?

Kansas employers who fail to maintain workers’ compensation insurance for their employees or to pay for expenses related to work injuries and illnesses may be subject to a civil penalty of twice the annual workers’ comp premium or $25,000, whichever is higher.

The State of Kansas can also shut a business down for failure to provide workers’ compensation insurance coverage.

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Workers’ compensation death benefits in Kansas 

The families of Kansas employees who died after sustaining a work-related injury or illness can receive death benefits based on the following guidelines:

  • Survivors need not be U.S. citizens or residents to receive compensation.
  • The weekly benefits are based on 67% of the deceased worker’s average weekly wage, not to exceed the statutory maximum.
  • The minimum death benefit equals 50% of the state’s average weekly wage.
  • Total death benefits may not exceed $300,000, except in cases where the benefits are going to a dependent child under the age of 18.
  • Employers in Kansas (or their insurers) must pay funeral expenses up to $5,000 and all medical and hospital bills relating to the fatal incident.
  • Employers (or their insurance company) must make an initial payment of $40,000 to the surviving legal spouse or totally dependent children or divide the payment equally between them.

Workers’ comp settlements in Kansas

A workers’ compensation settlement is an agreement between the injured employee, employer, and insurer that will terminate a workers’ compensation claim. This benefits both the employee and the employer.

Employees who reach a settlement with their Kansas employer may elect to receive the value of their claim as a lump sum or as a stream of recurring payments based on the lump sum (known as a structured settlement). Under both approaches, employees must release employers from liability for any future payments, often including medical payments.

Workers’ compensation statute of limitations in Kansas

Under the Kansas workers' compensation law, the maximum time allowed for filing a workers’ comp claim is within 200 days from the date of the work-related accident or illness or within 200 days after the employer’s last benefit payment in connection with the incident.

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If you are ready to explore workers’ comp options for your Kansas business, start a free online application today to compare quotes from top-rated insurance carriers.

Updated: February 6, 2024
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