Farm Labor Contractors Insurance Massachusetts Policy Information
Farm Labor Contractors Insurance Massachusetts. Owning and operating a farm, large or small, can be an overwhelming amount of effort. Not only do you have to count on good weather to produce a bountiful yield, but the amount of work is also typically enough; you will have to hire employees to ensure everything gets done throughout your season.
Farm labor contractors recruit and employ farm workers who harvest crops for others. They may be compensated for their services by the farm with the job opening or by the person seeking employment, on either a commission or flat fee basis.
The contractor is responsible for all labor-related issues, including payroll accounting, withholding for all applicable state and federal taxes, workers compensation, and compliance with the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSAWP).
The contractor normally provides transportation for workers to and from the fields. The contractor may also provide housing, clothing, protective gear, food, and other services to the workers.
Whenever you hire employees, it is crucial to think about the legal liabilities that come with hiring that help and the farm labor contractors insurance Massachusetts you will need to protect your workers and operations. You can incur liabilities for any damage to third parties brought about by your employees' neglectful actions, of if your workers get injured.
Farm labor contractors insurance Massachusetts protects your farm workers business from lawsuits with rates as low as $77/mo. Get a fast quote and your certificate of insurance now.
Why Do Farmers Use Farm Labor Contractors?
There are three types of workers that farmers can employ in order to run a successful farm:
- Servant: This could be someone you hire, is a part of your crew, and you have authority over the way this employee conducts themselves on the job.
- Agent: Someone who is hired to conduct pointed business on your behalf. They may also manage affairs such as finances or lead a crew of servants.
- Independent Contractor: Someone you contract in order to accomplish certain tasks on the farm. This contractor will perform the job you need but will follow their own system and methods to get the job done.
What's The Farmer's Liability For Using Massachusetts Farm Labor Contractors?
How do the three types of workers affect your liability concerns in the framework of working on your MA farm?
If you manage the actions of servants you hire, this is known in legalese as a master-servant relationship. You may be liable for the actions of your employee if that employee causes personal injury or any type of damage to the property of any 3rd party. As such, legal liability is not always cut and dry in every case, and judgment is often decided with a judge or jury.
The agent may have duties that are pointed and clear, but their actions or negligence may result in your liability for injury or damage occurring during the course of their task. Depending on the agent's duty, seeking legal advice beforehand can help to mitigate some of these issues.
Independent farm labor contractors typically carry less of a liability risk when hired. Because they are brought in to accomplish specific tasks, they are going to utilize their own system and way of doing things. As a farm employer, you would typically not be responsible for the actions or the result of those actions, that occur due to them.
There are unique situations where you could be legally liable in the event injury or damage occurs:
- High-risk job duty
- Plans for the job that are flawed and can prove to cause injury or damage
All farming work has its risks, and the best course of action to mitigate that risk is to work with your agent to secure a comprehensive farm labor contractors insurance Massachusetts policy that is tailored to your specific operation.
You have options to protect your workers and operations, in the form of worker's compensation insurance and employer liability insurance.
How Does Workers Compensation Work For Farm Labor Contractors?
Workers Compensation Insurance
Virtually every state requires worker's compensation, which has been designed to cover costs associated with an employee's injury on the job. Each state's body of laws and benefits vary. Your broker should know the minimum requirements for your area.
Employer's Liability Insurance
This type of liability insurance will protect you from legal liability of an injury to an employee if Worker's compensation does not cover the incident. There also may be a gap in the coverage for the employee from worker's compensation, and that employee may decide to sue you, the employer, for the difference of the gap in coverage.
Employer's Liability insurance will cover the gaps if you hire farm labor contractors for your operation. Taking into account all types of risks associated with managing and operating your farm, you want the peace of mind that comes in the form of uninterrupted coverage.
What Other Insurance Types Do Farm Labor Contractors Need?
Minimum recommended coverages: Business Personal Property, Employee Dishonesty, Money and Securities, Accounts Receivable, Computers, Valuable Papers and Records, General Liability, Employee Benefits, Umbrella, Commercial Auto Liability and Physical Damage & Hired and Non-owned Auto.
These are just some of the farm labor contractors insurance Massachusetts insurance coverage you might need. Your best course of action is to work with a trusted agent to identify and secure your farm labor contractor's insurance needs.
Your MA agent will know what your state's requirements are and can outline any gap insurance needs you may have based on the way you manage your MA farm operation.
Yes, people steal chickens! Your policy should take into account what would happen in the theft of any of your property, including your animals.
Massachusetts Farm Labor Contractor's Risks & Exposures
Premises liability exposures at the contractor's office are limited. Off premises, workers may damage the farmer's property where they work. Because the contract between the farm labor contractor and farmer may include insurance-related contractual obligations, it should be reviewed carefully.
Personal injury liability exposures are moderate due to the amount of confidential information obtained from job seekers. The labor contractor must take great care to maintain confidentiality when obtaining and releasing information regarding workers and employers.
Workers compensation exposures are very high as farming is labor-intensive. Training, supervision, and communication is important in maintaining a safe work environment. Working around farm machinery, tools and equipment can result in a variety of injuries ranging from minor to severe.
Slips, trips, falls, back injuries, broken bones, foreign objects in the eye, hearing impairment from noise, and muscle strains are common. Exposure to farm chemicals, noxious odors from livestock, and organic dust can lead to respiratory issues. Workers can suffocate in confined spaces such as grain bins, tanks, silos, and pits. Safety harnesses and respiratory protection are required.
Injuries can result from falls from heights and loading and unloading vehicles. Auto-related injuries may occur, especially when workers are transported for long distances. Workers being housed at camps may present a 24-hour exposure.
Property exposures are generally limited to those of an office. Ignition sources include electrical wiring, heating, and air conditioning systems. If the contractor provides housing to the workers, the electrical and plumbing systems should be well maintained and meet current codes.
This housing is usually in isolated areas with little public fire protection and is vacant during the off-season. When housing is provided, common meals are served in a central kitchen area with equipment limited to domestic ranges. Fire extinguishers should be up to date and residents taught to use them effectively.
Crime exposures include employee dishonesty and theft of money and securities. Pre-employment checks should be conducted for any employee handling money. There should be a division of responsibilities, so the same worker is not responsible for receiving money from farmers, paying workers, and reconciling bank statements.
Workers are often paid in cash, requiring a substantial amount of money on payday that may be tempting to both employees and thieves.
Inland marine exposures include accounts receivable if the contractor offers credit to farmers, computers, and valuable papers and records, including employment contracts and all documentation required for MSAWP compliance. Duplicates should be made and kept in an off-site backup facility for easy reproduction following a loss.
Because most farm labor contractors are constantly moving, mobile equipment and transit coverages may be needed for items that accompany the workers.
Business auto exposures are moderate because vehicles are used to transport workers to and from the farms and from one field to another. These trucks, vans and buses may be driven on major interstates as well as on small winding rural roads.
Drivers should have appropriate licenses and acceptable MVRs. Vehicles must be maintained, and records kept in a central location.
Farm Labor Contractors Insurance - The Bottom Line
MA farm labor contractors insurance is designed to comply with labor laws, mitigate your risk and maximize your business' ability to focus on carrying out the operations to make it successful.
Massachusetts Economic Data, Regulations And Limits On Commercial Insurance
If you are thinking about starting a business in the Massachusetts, it's important that you have an understanding of the economic trends and commercial insurance requirements in the state before you set up shop.
Economic trends are important, as they indicate whether or not the area offers a strong economy that will be able to support your business. You also need to know what type of commercial insurance you'll need to carry so that you can plan accordingly and ensure that you are complaint with the law.
To help you determine if the Bay State is the right location for the business you are thinking about opening, below, you'll find an overview of MA's current economic trends, as well as the types of insurance policies you'll need to carry.
Economic Trends For Business Owners In Massachusetts
Unemployment rate is a good indicator of a state's economy. The lower the rate, the more job opportunities there are, which is direct reflection of the health of businesses.
As per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in Massachusetts was 2.8% in December, 2019. That's 0.7% lower than the national average, which was 3.5% in December, 2019. This indicates that the state offers a strong workforce and that there are enough jobs to support the residents of the state.
While regions throughout the area are seeing business growth, there are certain areas in particular that are seeing more growth than others. This includes large metropolitan areas and the regions that surround them, including:
- New Bedford
Several industries are doing very well in the state of Massachusetts; however, there are particular sectors that are seeing more growth than others and are truly thriving in this part of the country. These industries include:
- Advanced manufacturing
- Commercial fishing
- Financial services
- Hospitality tourism
- Information technology
- Medicine and life sciences
If you are thinking about starting a business in any of these industries, chances are good that you will find the success you are looking for in the state of Massachusetts.
Commercial Insurance Requirements In Massachusetts
The Massachusetts Division of Insurance regulates insurance in MA. Massachusetts mandates very few forms of insurance coverage by law. They enforce worker's compensation.
Massachusetts requires you to have worker's compensation insurance if you hire even one employee on a regular basis. This includes part-time employees, family members, minors, and immigrant employees. It is not required for independent contractors, but employees in domestic service must be covered if they work at least 16 hours a week.
Massachusetts also requires all business-owned vehicles to be covered by commercial auto insurance. Other types of business insurance that business owners should carry depend on the specific industry.
Additional Resources For Agribusiness Insurance
Learn about small business agribusiness insurance - a type of commercial insurance protects farmers against loss of, or damage to crops or livestock.
- Dairy Farm
- Equine & Horse Farm
- Farm Labor Contractors
- Livestock & Cattle
- Nursery And Greenhouse
- Poultry Farm
Farming is, and has always been a tough business. There are many uncontrollable factors for farmers to deal with - like the weather, vermin, or other natural catastrophes. Any of these can destroy cash crops, such as corn, cotton, soybeans, and wheat, and put the farmer in a very bad financial situation.
Insurance for agribusiness falls into three general categories:
The first is property insurance on the buildings and the usually substantial amount of business personal property made up of machinery, livestock, equipment and other stock.
The second is liability for both premises and products.
The last is protection for worker injuries. Commercial auto insurance should be written if the operation owns vehicles and especially if it transports its own products.
There are a wide variety of agribusiness insurance options that are available to farmers. These policies allow them to to receive compensation in the event of a poor growing season, dropping prices, cattle disease or catastrophic natural event.
Loss of crops or livestock can financially ruin an agribusiness operation. The crop insurance agrees to indemnify the farmer, rancher or grower against losses which occur during the crop year. Losses have to be caused by things which are unavoidable or beyond the farmer's control - like a drought, freeze and/or disease.
Some policies offer coverage due to adverse weather events such as the inability to plant due to excess moisture or losses due to the quality of the crop.
Minimum recommended small business insurance coverage: Buildings, Business Personal Property, Crop Insurance, Employee Dishonesty, Accounts Receivable, Computers, Goods in Transit, Mobile Equipment, Valuable Papers and Records, General Liability, Environmental Impairment, Umbrella, Business Automobile Liability and Physical Damage, Hired and Non-owned Auto & Workers Compensation.
Other commercial insurance policies to consider: Business Income and Extra Expense, Earthquake, Equipment Breakdown, Farm Owners, Flood, Computer Fraud, Employee Dishonesty, Forgery, Money and Securities, Cyber Liability, Employee Benefits, Employment-related Practices Liability, Product Recall, Underground Storage Tank, Stop Gap Liability and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) (Drones).
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