How Safe is Safe?: The Impact of COVID on Employer Practices Liability

In addition to the multiple and myriad changes already introduced to the business community by COVID-19, employers may now add possible increased liability and costs, perhaps ironically due to policies instituted to help stem the spread of the virus.

According to a 2021 report conducted in part by the Insurance Information Institute, employers need to be aware of the impact of the pandemic, particularly a shift in the burden of proof onto the employer for certain types of claimants and the changing exposure from people working from home.

Workers compensation saw five consecutive years through 2019 where that line of business posted an underwriting gain, but the institute-sponsored study said that trend could change with COVID-19.  Employer practices liability insurance (EPLI) – separate from workers compensation – has the potential to feel an impact from the pandemic, as well.

Mask-wearing mandates, vaccination or regular COVID testing requirements, increased flexibility and the associated variables of home-based work, plus similar pandemic safeguards, may fall prey to varying levels of adherence.

This lack of clarity has the potential for coverage-related issues, should employees become infected and require ongoing treatment for the virus.  Similarly, this uncertainty feeds into the increased premium costs for employers to adequately protect their businesses.

As new variants of the COVID virus develop and spread – even as vaccines become more refined and effective – the pandemic will continue to have wide, deep, and continuous ripple effects on all aspects of business, including EPLI and workers compensation insurance.

For more information on these matters and how to properly prepare, contact the professionals at The Reschini Group today.

Copyright 2022 The Reschini Group

The Reschini Group provides these updates for information only, and does not provide legal advice.  To make decisions regarding insurance matters, please consult directly with a licensed insurance professional or firm.