Workers’ compensation insurance in Florida and roughly 40 other states, use a classification code system designed by the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) to rate insurance premiums differently for groups of employees. There are roughly 600 class codes, and the two main codes used for employees in the landscaping industry are 0042 and 9102.
I often encounter landscape maintenance businesses that have their employees misclassified and are able to not only receive a 50% reduction on their current insurance premiums, but are also able to file for reimbursements from overpayments on previous workers compensation policies.
These experiences and multiple other questions about how these classification codes may be used together on a policy, have brought to my attention a need to communicate specific information to the landscaping industry about the uses 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 employees primarily engaged in planning, clearing, grading, laying of sod, seeding, and planting necessary for landscape installation operations. Planting of trees, shrubs, and flowers are classified to this code along with general gardening activities.
Class Code 9102 – Applies to employees that perform maintenance of lawns, grounds, and gardens. “The maintenance may involve lawn mowing, raking, application of liquid or granular fertilizer, spraying and trimming of shrubs or small trees from the ground, and thatching or aerating. If any one or all of the above operations are performed by a lawn maintenance risk classified to Code 9102, then minor and incidental landscaping operations performed by the same risk, such as the replacement of dead shrubs, the planting of a few flowers, and the placing of rock or brick as edging designs are included under Code 9102. This minor landscaping operation is distinguished from work performed by an insured at a job or location where the primary work at the job or location is landscaping. Since lawn spraying is a maintenance operation, a risk engaged exclusively in work of this nature is classified to Code 9102.”
In Florida, the 2010 rates for theses class codes 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 businesses in the landscaping industry, this emphasizes the importance of distinguishing between the two classification codes.
In many states, employees that engage in both landscape installation and landscape maintenance activities can have their corresponding payroll divided between the class codes if proper records are maintained. Consult with your insurance agent for the specific classification rules in your local state. According to the state exception wording under the 9102 class code, Florida landscaping businesses can use class code 0042 and 9102 on their workers’ compensation policy only if those “operations described by these classifications are conducted by separate crews.”