18 Mar What’s Missing From Your Workers’ Compensation Policy
Does your business have remote workers located in a different state? Why you should review your workers’ compensation policy.
Over the past two years, businesses and employers have had to review and address existing workplace practices, business strategies, and safety protocols because of the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the main concerns employers have faced involves the safety of the work from home environment and workers’ compensation insurance.
To limit the spread of the virus, many businesses closed their offices and transitioned employees to remote work. With a number of employees and employers embracing this work option, many employers will continue to offer remote work or a hybrid option moving forward. An increase in remote work/telecommuting provides opportunities for employees to work further from their place of physical employment, including in different states. This embracing of remote work has enabled employers to hire employees from other states, expanding their net of potential employees, and has allowed current employees to move to other states while retaining a career at the same company. While this has been a great benefit to employers and employees, there are implications to your insurance program that should be discussed with your agent when offering this work option.
While remote and telecommuting workers are typically covered under workers’ compensation policies (if the injury or illness occurs while an employee is completing a work task during work hour), each state has their own requirements. In order to comply with state laws and avoid any coverage gaps, it is important to inform your insurance agent of the locations of remote employees so these states can be listed on the policy, if warranted by the exposure. States may have different benefit levels or maximum benefit amounts. If the state that the employee was injured in is not listed on the workers’ compensation policy, this may lead to a gap in coverage or even a denied claim.
There are also several states – North Dakota, Ohio, Wyoming, and Washington – that are monopolistic, meaning workers compensation coverage would have to be obtained from the appropriate state, and stopgap coverage for these states would need to be added to your workers compensation policy. It’s important that you fully understand your rights, your worker’s rights, and how to best protect your business and their financial security from the costly expenses that can occur after an accident or injury occurs. Workers’ compensation policy options help protect your business and your employees from medical expenses, lost income or wages, rehabilitation costs, death benefits, and much more.
The best way to lower the cost of workers’ compensation claims is to avoid work-related injuries and illnesses altogether. The two most frequent categories of injuries that claims examiners see with work from home injuries are cumulative injuries (usually resulting from poor ergonomics) and slips, trips, and falls (which are some of the most frequently reported accidents in the US, according to the National Safety Council). Ergonomics involves designing the workplace to fit the needs of the worker rather than trying to make the worker adjust to the workplace. This has been especially important throughout the pandemic as workers created makeshift workstations in their homes, some of whom have remained working remotely over the past two years. Addressing and promoting good ergonomic design has been shown to increase work quality and production as well as worker well-being.
Consider adding workplace safety initiatives to encourage your employees to maintain a safe working environment and reduce injury risks. Reinforce best practices for safety and conduct, such as employee training on how to properly use equipment, how to avoid slips, trips, and falls, and how to set up an ergonomically designed work from home environment. Maintain open communication with your employees as well as your insurance agent so you are prepared and covered for potential risk. If your company has remote employees in states other than your main office location, please advise your agent so we can discuss further and make any needed changes to your policy.
Understanding your business’ workers’ compensation insurance needs can be tough. That is why Clark Insurance’s agents will be there to help your business through every step of the process. From finding the right policy, to delivering quality safety & risk inspections and trainings, to filing a claim, you can feel confident and secure knowing that you are protected through Clark Insurance. We are here to help – contact us today!
- Working from Home – Provided by our carrier partner MEMIC
- Top 10 Workers’ Comp Questions – Provided by our carrier partner The Hartford
- Workers’ Compensation, Recognize & Reduce Risk – Provided by our carrier partner Arbella
- The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Needs of Your Business – Learn more from your team at Clark Insurance