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Topic: Workers Comp insurance 

1.  Workers Comp insurance

Posted 10-30-2017 11:30
Do any small firm owners out there carry workers comp for themselves?
When I hired my first employee years ago, the policy included me as well.
Eventually it occurred to me to ask whether I was required to carry it for myself and when I learned that it was optional, I dropped it.

I've never been able to get a clear answer as to why a firm owner would pay for coverage that is not required-does anyone have any insights or experience with this?  My understanding is that Workers Comp coverage protects the employer from claims, but if I'm the employer, why would I need protection from myself?

Scott Rappe AIA, LEED AP
Kuklinski + Rappe Architects
Chicago IL

2.  RE: Workers Comp insurance

Posted 10-31-2017 17:26
I have been required to carry Worker's Compensation coverage by a municipal client.  We are a small firm, two owners and a production person, and they required everyone to be covered.  It was added to our existing policy, and the cost wasn't too bad.  It is my understanding that it would cover any of us for a job-related injury.

Jane Kittner AIA
Kittner & Pate Design Associates
Waco TX

3.  RE: Workers Comp insurance

Posted 11-01-2017 18:04
What galls me is having to pay unemployment tax when i am a sole practitioner and can't fire myself.

Thad Broom, AIA

Thad Broom AIA
Thad A. Broom AIA, P.C.
Virginia Beach VA

4.  RE: Workers Comp insurance

Posted 11-03-2017 10:04
Regarding unemployment tax for sole practitioners, my experience since 1982 is that you are not an employee. However, your signature shows that you are a P.C. which is believe is a Private Corporation, so you are not a sole practitioner, but a employees of your Private Corporation. So you made yourself a corporation hoping to protect against liability and you are paying for it with unemployment tax. Also however, if you stamped a set of drawings, no P.C. shields you from liability.

Theodore Streibert AIA
Streibert Associates Architects
Chatham MA

5.  RE: Workers Comp insurance

Posted 10-31-2017 17:30

For our firm with two owners and ten staff, we have been prohibited from carrying Workers' Compensation coverage on anyone that has significant ownership.


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Scott Ryan

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6.  RE: Workers Comp insurance

Posted 11-02-2017 08:56

My firm has two partners and 6 staff members. The partners aren't covered by Worker's Comp, only the employees.  You might want to check with your insurance company.  It would be a shame to pay for something you won't receive benefits for.




Pamela Gillen, AIA 



Esoarc Studio

103 W. Broad St. Suite 200

Falls Church, VA 22046



703-637-2381 Direct




7.  RE: Workers Comp insurance

Posted 10-31-2017 17:32
It may depend on just what your state's version of worker's compensation covers.

If you are injured "at work" - your chair loses a caster and you fall over and hit your head, or you miss a rung on a ladder at a jobsite and break your leg - if you are "at work", will your personal medical insurance cover it?  If you're unable to continue your career as an architect, will your state's version of worker's comp help you with retraining?

Over here in Washington, I understand that both might be covered.

best regards,
Joel Niemi
- Architect

8.  RE: Workers Comp insurance

Posted 10-31-2017 17:42
We were required to carry Worker Comp in order to do work for the University of Minnesota. You will need to carry Worker’s Comp if you clients say you need to carry it.

It has has of late seemed a little crazy. We have no employees. We pay $200 a year to carry the insurance which can pay us nothing so that we could do more work in the future for the University.

9.  RE: Workers Comp insurance

Posted 10-31-2017 18:09

Hi Ron,

My wife and I are partners and only employees of our firm.  A few years back we had a public client and their overseeing agency had asked for our workers compensation coverage.  We checked into it and we were not required to have the coverage as long as we provided a letter to the agency stating that we were the only employees and for that reason we did not have workers compensation coverage which we did. 



John Fallon, AIA


Fallon+Pacheco Architects

399 Broad Street

Bloomfield, New Jersey  07003

Fax: 973.748.0899

Tel:  973.748.5040




10.  RE: Workers Comp insurance

Posted 10-31-2017 18:16
I don't know if it varies by the State, but I've never carried it in my 30 years in business here in Colorado.  I've always relied upon my own health insurance.

Robert Larsen AIA
Robert R. Larsen, A.I.A.
Denver CO

11.  RE: Workers Comp insurance

Posted 10-31-2017 18:22

Check with your state.  Most cases the owner is not required to have workers comp.  I had one client that insisted that I have workers comp, even though not required by state I am in.  I simply billed them for it.


Sean J Bujold, AIA


12.  RE: Workers Comp insurance

Posted 11-01-2017 09:24
A friend of mine who was an employer and employee of his firm was injured in a car crash while returning to his office. His injuries were severe. He carried workers comp on himself as an employee of his firm. Workers comp contributed to his expenses and also compensated him for his injury.

We aren't required to provide workers comp on our selves, but his experience gives a good reason to do so.

Ralph Rorem AIA
Ralph R Architect, LTD
Kankakee IL