Worker's Compensation Basic Facts

Brief History

Read a brief history of Wisconsin's Worker's Compensation, why it was adopted and an explanation of some of its special funds.

Wisconsin Workforce, Number of WC Policies, Net Direct Earned Premiums and Premium Rate & Program Integrity

In 2018 Wisconsin's estimated workforce was 3,032,000, and an estimated 2,941,000 were covered by worker's compensation insurance.

In 2018 the number of active worker's compensation policies was 128,452 and the number of linked employers and locations was 279,299.

In 2018 there were 221 entities with a self-insurance order(this number includes government entities).

In 2018 97% of Wisconsin's estimated workforce was covered by a worker's compensation policy. This incredible achievement is due to an ongoing investigative effort by the staff of the WC Division's Bureau of Insurance Programs to bring employers into compliance with the law.

During the two-year period ending June 30, 2019:

  • Uninsured Employer Fund (UEF) Investigators completed 47,458 employer investigations and assessed penalties on 4,193 employers for operating without WC insurance. Also, $9.5 million in penalty assessments were collected from illegally uninsured employers.
  • Approximately $5.2 million in payments were made through the UEF to/on behalf of workers injured while working for illegally uninsured employers during the two-year period ending June 30, 2019.

WC Claim & Indemnity Information

In 2015-18 (claims with 36 months of experience), out of 18 reviewed states, Wisconsin ranked 7th lowest in total costs per all paid claims.

From 2015-18, out of 18 reviewed states, about 20 percent of Wisconsin workers lost more than seven days of work as a result of their injury versus 21 percent in the median state.

For 2015-18 claims at average maturity of 36 months, the average indemnity payment per claim with more than seven days of lost time was $11,502 in Wisconsin, 35 percent lower than the median state.

For 2015/18 claims at an average maturity of 36 months, Wisconsin had the lowest percentage of claims with payments to defense attorneys (15 percent versus 33 percent in the median study state)

At $4,253, the average benefit delivery expense per claim with expenses in Wisconsin was lowest among the study states, when looking at claims with more than seven days of lost time from 2015-18.

In 2017 there were 106 work related fatalities in Wisconsin. Source: United States Department of Labor - Bureau of Labor Statistics, Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries.

Information was obtained from the following sources: DWD Worker's Compensation Division; Wisconsin Compensation Rating Bureau; Worker's Compensation Research Institute