by Drew Roberts, CPCU, ARM
Florida issued the new workers’ compensation rates for 2009, which gave businesses an average rate decrease of 18.6 percent. The new rates will be used on all policies issued after January 1st, 2009. For Florida landscaping business, the 2009 rates were also lower than the 2008 rates, making it the fifth straight decrease with a total premium savings of over 60% from the workers’ compensation rates in 2004. Below are the applicable workers comp classifications for landscapers and their corresponding 2009 rates:
- 0042 - This classification code is applied to businesses that are primarily engaged in installing landscapes. The classification includes planning, clearing, grading and planting necessary for landscaping operations. It also includes the installation of sod. The clearing and grading done by these insureds is of the fine type necessary for finishing operations and does not result in changes to the contour of the land. This classification cannot be used in Florida along with the class code 9102 unless the operations are conducted by separate work crews. Please contact our office for more information regarding the use of both classification codes on the same policy. The Florida rate for this classification in 2008 was 8.70 and in 2009 it is now 7.11 dollars for every 100 dollars of remuneration.
- 9102 - This classification code is assigned to insureds engaged in the lawn maintenance business. Code 9102 is also applied to all employees engaged in the operation of public parks. For landscapers, the essential difference between the application of Code 0042 and Code 9102 is that Code 0042 applies to work involving new landscaping installations whereas Code 9102 applies to work involving the maintenance of existing landscaping and/or lawn maintenance. Insureds that perform maintenance of lawns, grounds, and gardens include work that may involve lawn mowing, raking, application of liquid or granular fertilizer, spraying and trimming of shrubs or small trees from the ground, and thatching or aerating. The Florida rate for this classification in 2008 was 4.86 and in 2009 it is now 4.20 dollars for every 100 dollars of remuneration.
- 0106 - This classification code is applied to employees and businesses that prune and trim trees from above the ground. This code is applicable by job site to tree pruning contracts requiring any above-ground level work and it also applies to the whole contract including, but not limited to, chipping and cleanup activities regardless of whether or not a separate contract is written for tree pruning or lawn maintenance and another contract is written for chipping or cleanup. Incidental tree removal on a developed site conducted in connection with tree pruning, spraying, and repairing operations is also assigned to Code 0106. This classification includes risks contracting exclusively to remove immediate tree hazards due to natural catastrophes. Tree hazard cleanup may involve removing dead trees; trees or branches that are leaning on trees, power lines, or other structures; trees with broken or cracked stems; or large, dead or broken limbs that are still attached to a tree. The Florida rate for this classification in 2008 was 15.96 and in 2009 it is now 12.95 dollars for every 100 dollars of remuneration.
- 5183 - This classification code is applied to employees and businesses that are engaged in plumbing work that is otherwise unclassified by the Basic Manual. For landscapers, this code is used for installation of underground lawn sprinkler systems. Trenching work performed by the same contractor engaged in the installation of underground pipes for sprinkler systems is assigned to this classification since trenching work is an integral part of the underground sprinkler installation work. Such operations may be performed using either a vibrating plow or a pipe pulling machine, which knives the ground to a depth of 12 to 18 inches and to a width comparable to that of the piping being used. The piping is then automatically inserted into the ground. The Florida rate for this classification in 2008 was 6.75 and in 2009 it is now 5.14 dollars for every 100 dollars of remuneration.
The employees and operations of most landscaping businesses are classified into the codes listed above. Depending on the nature of work performed, other classification codes may apply to the business. Code 8810 (2009 rate: 0.28) is used for employees that only do clerical work and 8742 (2009 rate: 0.49) is used for those employees that only have sales duties. If you would like more information about these classifications or information on how your own employees should be classified, please do not hesitate to contact our office or request a workers’ compensation quote online.
*These rates may not last all year, as there have been discussions towards new rates due to a recent workers’ compensation court case that will allow larger lawyer fees in the claim handling process. We will keep you updated on any changes.