Workers Compensation Insurance

While you are working on general liability insurance, you should also reach out to your workers compensation broker or insurer to inform them of your plans to launch a farmers’ market. If you have staff members who will work on-site at a farmers’ market, your workers compensation carrier may insist on changing their classification to one commonly used for farmers’ market managers. This may result in higher premiums for those employees, but the increased costs are preferable to risking your workers’ compensation insurance coverage should you have a claim for an employee accident in a farmers’ market.

The most common rating classification assigned to a farmers’ market manager is 9016(1) Amusement or Recreational Facilities N.O.C. (Not otherwise classified.) The definition of this classification states that these employees are responsible for the “care, custody and maintenance of premises; operation of elevators or heating, lighting or power apparatus — including police, watchpersons, musicians, box office employees, ticket sellers or gate attendants.” The outdoor nature of farmers’ markets and the responsibility of market managers to oversee the premises make this the most appropriate classification according to the state of California’s Workers Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau (WCIRB).

This is an expensive classification for employers. WCIRB set the “pure premium rate” at $7.21 for every $100 in payroll expenses for 2014. The pure premium rate is used by insurers as the basis for the rates they charge, before adding their administrative fees, discounts, and applying the experience modification that is unique to each employer based upon its workers compensation history.

For comparison, the WCIRB pure premium rate for clerical office employees, a common nonprofit position, is $0.55 (Administrative Assistant, 8810(1)).

The risk management guide from the University of California Small Farm Program also contains useful information about workers compensation insurance.

A Guide to Opening Small Farmers' Markets in San Jose, California