Workers’ compensation insurance in Florida and about 40 other states uses a classification code system designed by the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) to rate insurance premiums differently for groups of workers. There are about 600 class codes and the two main codes used for landscape architecture workers are 0042 and 9102.
I often come across landscape maintenance companies that have misclassified their workers and can not only receive a 50% discount on their current insurance premiums, but also request refunds of overpayments on previous workers’ compensation policies.
These experiences, and multiple other questions about how to use these classification codes together on a policy, have alerted me to the need to communicate specific information to Landscaping regarding the use of workers’ compensation codes 0042 and 9102.
First, let’s start with a brief description of each classification code with quotes from NCCI’s official descriptions:
Class Code 0042 – Applies to workers primarily engaged in planning, clearing, leveling, sod laying, sowing and planting required for landscaping work. Planting trees, shrubs and flowers is covered by this code, along with general gardening activities.
Class Code 9102 – Applies to employees who maintain lawns, grounds and gardens. “Maintenance may include mowing the lawn, raking, applying liquid or granular fertilizers, spraying and pruning shrubs or small trees from the ground, and spreading or aerating. If any or all of the above operations are carried out due to a risk of lawn care classified under code 9102 then minor and occasional landscaping work carried out with the same risk, such as replacing dead shrubs, planting some flowers and placing stones or bricks as edging designs, fall under code 9102. landscaping is distinguished from work that is performed by an insured on a job or site where the primary work on the job or site is landscaping. Since lawn spraying is a maintenance operation, a hazard associated solely with this type of work is classified under Code 9102.”
In Florida, thesis class rates in 2010 are 6.36 for code 0042 and 3.49 for code 9102. In the other states, class code 0042 also has a significantly higher rating than class code 9102. For landscape architecture companies, this highlights the importance of distinguish between the two classification codes.
In many states, workers engaged in both landscape installation and landscape maintenance can have their corresponding payroll divided by class codes if proper records are kept. Consult your insurance agent for the specific classification rules in your local state. Under the state’s exception wording under the class code 9102, Florida landscaping firms can only use class code 0042 and 9102 in their employees’ compensation policies if those “operations described by these classifications are performed by separate crews.”