The coronavirus has changed our lives personally and professionally. It continues to change it almost daily and probably will for months to come. As that relates to Workers' Compensation, your employers are facing challenges they have never seen. I wanted to share with you some of the things we are seeing over the past week that you should all consider:
- Employers are changing their operations to keep their businesses open.
Examples include restaurants who are delivering now that didn’t before; selling products they didn’t before (cleaner, toilet paper, hand sanitizer) and having employees work from home who didn’t before – do they have the proper safety practices in place to deal with these new exposures? You should be getting an update from your customers to see how their operations have adapted.
- Carriers are suspending physical premium audits and utilizing phone, email and paper audits instead.
- Carrier loss control inspections are suspended or being done virtually. This will affect your ability to get quotes done in time if inspections are mandated but can’t get completed.
- We’re getting many questions as to whether or not there is coverage for their employees who contract the virus? This is going to vary by state and circumstances. The same basic tests of coverage will apply regardless of the “injury." Was it at work and in the course of their job? Some states put the burden on the employee (VA) to prove this and others on the carrier (CA). There are state DOI’s that may have a final say on this if they force carriers to cover this exposure as well as federal backstop “TRIA” type legislation that might affect coverage decisions as well.
- Carrier appetites are changing – We have already started to see carriers say that they are no longer writing businesses in the healthcare space due to the higher current risk for contracting COVID-19. These include hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities and home health accounts. There is still a market for it at this time but players are leaving the market so expect pricing to firm up.
- Billing options are being changed mid-term – Carriers are determined not to have policies cancel if at all possible so many are saying that they will alter pay plans by extending terms, reducing deposits, suppressing premiums for 1-2 months and reducing payrolls without the typical 941 requirements as these would be of little value given the recent steep drop off in business.
As you can see from the above, the Workers' Compensation market is facing a lot of challenges over the next few months until this crisis abates but All Risks is on top of these changes, communicating daily with our carrier underwriters and their management and adjusting to the “new normal." Our WC team is available to help you navigate these changing times!
About Jim Mitchell:
Jim Mitchell, CPCU, CIC, AAI, has more than 30 years’ experience in the insurance industry. As Vice President, Jim joined All Risks, Ltd. in 2005 to oversee sales, underwriting and support of Workers’ Compensation coverage. His team of dedicated Workers’ Compensation Brokers and Underwriters around the country wrote more than $120M in premium in 2019. With top carrier status and exclusive access to many market relationships, his team has the ability to help retailers on a variety of Workers’ Comp placements. Underwriters are adept at managing a broad range of account sizes ranging from $1,000 to greater than $1M.