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Basics: Who is required to carry workers′ compensation insurance coverage?

Every employer that has five or more employees must insure its workers′ compensation obligations with an insurance carrier that is authorized to write such insurance in the state of Missouri by the Department of Commerce and Insurance (DCI) or meet the Division of Workers′ Compensation requirements to self-insure its liabilities. Construction industry employers that erect, alter, demolish or repair improvements are required to carry workers′ compensation insurance if they have one or more employees.The statutory definition of "employee" includes both full and part-time employees, and includes every person in the service of an employer under any contract of hire, express or implied, oral or written, or under any appointment or election, including executive officers of a corporation.

Sole proprietors and partners are not themselves covered unless they elect to be covered. On the other hand, close family member-employees and members of limited liability companies are presumed to be covered unless they opt out.

The Workers′ Compensation Act does exempt a very small and very specific group of employees, which includes farm laborers, domestic servants, certain real estate agents and direct sellers and commercial motor-carrier owner-operators. Please refer to Section 287.090 RSMo for additional information.

Employers that don′t have the required number of employees or who have employees in the exempt categories may nevertheless "elect" to come under the law by purchasing and accepting a valid workers′ compensation insurance policy or endorsement. The election takes effect on the effective date of the workers′ compensation insurance policy or endorsement and continues while the policy or endorsement remains in effect. The exempt employer may withdraw the workers′ compensation coverage by cancellation or nonrenewal of the workers′ compensation insurance policy or endorsement.

Exempt employers that decide not to purchase workers compensation insurance or to self-insure remain potentially exposed to civil lawsuits brought by employees who are injured during work.

If you have further questions please contact the Division′s toll-free number 800-775-2667.

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