The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak continues to be a top-of-mind concern for organizations and individuals across the globe. As COVID-19 becomes increasingly widespread, it’s not only raising fears about the well-being of the general public, but it’s also calling into question how insurance policies—like workers’ compensation coverage—will or won’t respond. In this article, we provide a general overview of insurance considerations as they relate to COVID-19.
In instances where an employee believes they contracted COVID-19 at work, a number of workers’ compensation considerations come into play. Generally, in terms of COVID-19, claims are evaluated on a case-by-case basis and coverage may only be triggered if both of the following are true:
For COVID-19 claims, it’s important to remember that every situation is different. When it comes to compensability, you’ll need to evaluate what jobs or tasks an employee was performing when they were exposed to COVID-19.
For example, health care businesses may be able to show when and how an employee got sick from COVID-19 during the course of their work more confidently than a construction firm. Typically, proving whether or not an employee contracted COVID-19 during their employment will be exceedingly difficult in most circumstances.
Additionally, states are going to have different thresholds for COVID-19 compensability. Some states may have more general language regarding workplace illnesses, and communicable and contagious diseases in their statutes, while others have issued specific guidance on COVID-19 claims. While many state laws allow compensation for “occupational diseases” that arise out of and in the course of employment, many state statutes exclude “ordinary diseases of life.”
Still, employers that are dealing with a COVID-19 workers’ compensation claim should report it to their insurance carrier. When reporting potential claims:
Again, claims will be assessed individually, and a number of outside factors will determine whether or not workers’ compensation coverage applies. Employers should review guidance from their state workers’ compensation board and speak with their insurance agent to learn more about how their coverage may or may not respond to COVID-19 claims.
For more information, contact us at Neckerman Insurance Services today.
This article is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel or an insurance professional for appropriate advice. © 2020 Zywave, Inc.