Orlando, Fla.—The workers compensation social contract is a part of a social contract embedded in each individual state’s law, although their systems may vary from one state to another. It all started when the industrial expansion that took place in the United States during the 19th century was accompanied by a significant increase in workplace accidents. It is the type of insurance that provides benefits to employees who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses, helping to pay for medical care, lost wages and more, although benefits can vary from one state to another.
Today, workers compensation coverage is required for employers in all other states, including Florida, except for the state of Texas, where employers are allowed to opt out the state’s system. In the case of Texas, about one-third of the employers are non-subscribers. In the event of a serious accident, those that opt out of the system can be sued by employees for failure to provide a safe workplace. These non-subscribers tend to be smaller companies.
These years 2020-21 in particular, COVID-19 presents a unique situation given the amount of “essential workers” who are at a high risk of exposure to the virus while at work.
A workers compensation coverage typically does not cover routine illnesses like a cold or flu because they can’t be tied to work related causes. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) said, at least 18 states had policies that presume first responders’ chronic lung or respiratory illnesses are work-related and therefore covered.
In the case of COVID-19 some states have extended coverage to include first responders, health care workers, and other essential employees.
Those states are required to amend the their policy to accept an infection with COVID-19 for some workers— who are deemed essential or in any of the two other categories— would be presumed to be work-related.
However, there are concerns from both employers and insurers, that these presumption policies will increase costs for employers when unjustified claims become successful, right when their businesses are experiencing significant financial challenges. This added to the burden of having to prove whether the infection was or was not work-related.
The NCCI maintains lists of statutory standards, and a COVID-19 regulatory and legislative activity which are updated on a weekly basis.
Workers compensation insurance must be bought as a separate policy. Although in-home business and business owners policies (BOPs) are sold as package policies, they don't include coverage for workers' injuries. Our experienced insurance agents at Garzor, can help you find the option that best suits your business needs and keep you well covered.
At Garzor Insurance our experienced professionals are dedicated to providing commercial insurance coverage for businesses in Florida as well as Georgia, Texas, and now many other states across the U.S.A. If you have questions about business insurance, or any other commercial insurance aspects, please do not hesitate to visit us online at Garzor Insurance, or you may want to call us directly at (321) 206-8035.
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