Northeast Metrowest Insurance Agency

Business Insurance FAQs

I am starting a business and need workers compensation insurance. What do I do?

You can get insurance through any insurance agent or broker who handles business insurance, through a direct writer of insurance, or through the Insurance Rating Bureau, (617) 439-9030.

For more information about starting a business in Massachusetts, see Forming a Business Step-by-Step

I am the owner of a very small business, with only a few employees. Do I need workers compensation insurance?
All employers in Massachusetts are required by state law to carry workers’ compensation insurance covering their employees, including themselves if they are an employee of their company. This requirement applies regardless of the number of hours worked in any given week, except that domestic service employees must work a minimum of 16 hours per week in order to require coverage.
I am the owner of a business outside of Massachusetts and have been hired to do some work in Mass. Do I need to get a Massachusetts policy for workers comp?

You are required to cover your employee’s with workers compensation benefits under Massachusetts law. You do not need to buy a policy strictly for Massachusetts, if in your existing workers compensation policy Massachusetts coverage is listed in the Section 3k. However, a notation somewhere else in the policy that “all states are covered” or something similar, is not acceptable.

How does the workers compensation law define an employee?

Section 1 (4) states that an employee is “every person in the service of another under any contract of hire, express or implied, oral or written”. Exceptions include but are not limited to:

Seamen engaged in interstate/foreign commerce;

Salesmen of real estate or consumer goods who work on a commission, or buy/sell basis, other than in a retail establishment, (with a written contract stating they are not treated as an employee under federal tax law);

Taxi drivers who lease their cabs on a fee basis not related to fares collected (and who are not treated as an employee under federal tax law);

Persons engaged in interstate/foreign commerce who are covered by federal law for compensation for injury or death.

Where do I get the first report of injury forms I need to file these reports?

DIA (Department of Industrial Accidents) forms can be obtained either from your insurance company or from the DIA.

Many DIA forms can be printed out directly from their Web site:

You should ensure that your company has an adequate supply on hand at your place of business. All DIA forms are on plain white paper, and can be photocopied.

An employee of mine was injured on the job and then quit; Do I need to file a form 101, and if so, how do I determine the first and fifth lost days?

Yes, if the injury would have resulted in five or more calendar days of disability, you would need to report this accident. The first missed day would be the first day the employee could not eam full wages due to the injury, and the fifth lost day is the fifth calendar day of disability.

What are the penalties for an employer who does not have workers compensation insurance?

Employers operating without insurance are subject to civil fines and/or criminal penalties, including imprisonment, and are subject to a STOP WORK order issued to their business. Under MGL Chapter 152, §25C, civil fines can be up to $250 a day, and criminal penalties include a fine of up to $1500, imprisonment for not more than a year, or both. A recent change to this section also calls for companies who fail to obtain insurance in order to gain an advantage for competitive bidding shall be immediately barred for bidding on state or municipal funded contracts for three years.

I am an employer, and I have a question about the experience modification for my business.

Call the Insurance Rating Bureau, (617) 439-9030.

I am an employer, who can answer a question about the assessment on my workers' compensation insurance?

Call the Office of Administration and Data Processing, at the Department of Industrial Accidents, (617) 727-4900 X 232. They can inform you of your present billing status.

After one of my employees has been injured on the job, how long does the insurance company have to respond?

When an employee has been disabled for five calendar days due to an injury on the job, the employer must then file a First Report of Injury form with the insurance company and the Department of Industrial Accidents. The insurance company then has 14 days to mail a check to the employee; or, if they intend to contest the claim, to send a certified letter denying compensation.

I need to replace an employee who was injured and is collecting workers compensation. Do I have to hold the job open for the employee?

Unless a union contract, or the individual’s contract of hire, requires it, an employer does not have to hold an injured worker’s job open while they are unable to work due to an occupational accident. But Section 75A of the workers’ compensation law does require employers to give preferential treatment in the re-hiring of injured workers when they are ready to return to work. Section 75B requires that employers make all reasonable accommodations to anyone who is deemed to be a qualified handicapped person under Chapter 1518.

All employers must post a NOTICE TO EMPLOYEES on a bulletin board in a suitable public area on their premises. The notice, which is available at all DIA offices, must be completed in its entirety, naming the insurance carrier, their address, the insurance policy number and a contact person to whom injuries or incidents should be reported. This is all public information, and must be readily available to any person who needs it. Failure to provide the information to the employee is a violation of the law.

As an employer what rights do I have during the claim process?

As an employer you pay, through assessments and premiums, for workers’ compensation coverage. While the insurer is legally the interested party during the claims proceeding, the employer will receive notice of a hearing, a lump sum conference or a proceeding involving employer misconduct (Section 28). The employer is required to attend only the Section 28 proceeding. Should the employer have any pertinent information relating to any claims, they should inform their insurer. Employers may attend conference or hearing proceedings, however, they may not participate unless they are called as witnesses For this purpose, all employers are encouraged to maintain well documented records of all accidents and reports including names of witnesses

I am self-employed, the sole employee of a corporation. Do I need workers compensation insurance? What rights do I have during the claim process?

Yes, as an employee of the corporation, even as its only employee, you must carry workers’ compensation insurance.

I worked as a subcontractor, and had money deducted for workers compensation coverage by the general contractor. Can they do that?

Yes, but only if it is provided for in the contract they have with you, or otherwise explicitly provided. General contractors have legitimate concerns about whether you have WC insurance since they can be found liable for claims against them by a subcontractor or their employees. Therefore, you may find that the general contractor requires you to provide proof of coverage, or that you agree to come under their workers’ comp policy with such costs passed on to you.

I am an officer of a corporation. Do I have to be covered by insurance, and how does the stipend paid me figure into the WC insurance premiums?

Contact James Bakery, (617) 439-9030, Ext. 595.

I have a question about qualified loss management. Who can I talk to?

Contact Karen Gibbons, (617) 439-9030, Ext. 528 or Debra Jackson, Ext. 578 

What should I be paying for insurance?

Call the Insurance Rating Bureau, (617) 439-9030. If you feel your rates are too high, you can appeal to the Board of Appeals within the Massachusetts Division of Insurance, (617) 521-7777.

I know someone who is defrauding an insurance company, and laughing about it. What do I do?

Notify the Insurance Fraud Bureau at (617) 439-0439.

If I am an officer of a corporation as well as an employee who does a lot of administrative work, do I have to carry workers compensation on myself?

Yes, All the employees of a corporation must be covered by workers’ compensation insurance.

I'm self-employed, the sole proprietor of my company which is not incorporated. Do I need to get workers compensation insurance for myself?

No, as the sole proprietor of an unincorporated business you would not need to insure yourself. However, as a sole proprietor, you do have the option to elect coverage for yourself. For more information, call us.

I own a small business. The only person working with me is my wife (or son, or brother). Do I need workers compensation insurance?

Yes, family members must be covered by workers’ compensation insurance, even if they are the only employees of the company.

How is 'subcontractor' defined? Is there a simple rule of thumb for deciding who is a subcontractor?

No, questions about subcontractors should be addressed to the Insurance Rating Bureau at (617) 439-9030. These questions are very fact-based, and generally are determined by whether control over the manner and methods of the work is retained by the employer.

If one of my employees uses my facilities to do some purely personal work, would he still be able to claim WC benefits if he was injured?

If what he was involved in was purely personal, then he probably would not be able to claim benefits under his employer’s WC policy. But if it was held that use of his employer’s facilities was part of the compensation for his employment, it could be held that the injury was incident to employment, and thus covered by WC.

Do I have to file a quarterly report (DIA Form 102)?


I need an OSHA log 200. How do I get one?

Call OSHA in Boston, (617) 565-9860