Colorado business owners may see insurance premium reduced this year if a bill introduced by Rep. Spencer Swam, R-Centennial, and Sen. Cheri Jahn, D-Wheat Ridge, makes its way to the governor’s desk.
Passing unanimously in the House, HB 13-1025 seeks to give businesses the option of upping the deductible on their workers’ compensation policies.
Workers’ compensation insurance is a required program paid for by business owners. It provides employees with medical treatment and partial wage replacement while being treated or recovering from a work-related injury or occupational disease.
Businesses electing to raise their deductible would save money on their premiums, according to Swalm.
“Insurance costs are rising and this bill helps businesses adapt to the challenges they currently face,” he said. “I was glad to see such a strong business bill pass the House and receive bipartisan support.”
Swalm also thinks the trade-off would increase workplace safety, by giving businesses an incentive to create and maintain safe work environments through improved workplace safety and more thorough training.
Current workers’ compensation law allows employers a deductible of up to $5,000 in a workers’ compensation policy. The new bill does not specify just how much businesses could up their deductible, but defers the amount to a decision be made by the insurance commissioner.
If passed, the law would take effect July 1 and would apply to all new and renewing policies.
In Colorado, businesses that do not maintain current workers’ compensation insurance can be ordered by the state to cease operations, as well as incur fines of up to $250 per day for the first violation and up to $500 per day for subsequent violations.
The bill now moves to the state Senate for further consideration.
Swalm is no stranger to insurance. He has served as the chair of the legislative committee of the Colorado State Association of Health Underwriters and is currently an employee benefits executive with The Wright Group, one of Colorado’s largest commercial insurance and benefits consultants.