When looking to future insights for any market, part of the process is analyzing the wins, losses, pain points, and missed marks of the last year. A standard year may take into consideration aspects like claim frequency, claim costs, revenues, premiums, and so on. But as with most things these days, it’s no longer a “normal” year. While these details will be taken into account for 2022, the changes in these details will differ from those of a normal year. The effects of COVID-19 have been compared to the great depression, SARS, and the financial crisis of 2008 all wrapped into one. In other words- it’s been colossal. For worker’s compensation, that means new guidelines for compliance, new coverage, and the need to be highly adaptable.
More employers are opting for a remote workforce. Whether due to the recent COVID-19 health crisis's challenges, costs associated with a more traditional workspace, keeping your talent on the team after a move, or other issues with a conventional commute to the office more employers than ever are taking advantage of the availability of technology and the possibility of having remote team members.
Medical marijuana is still a controversial subject in the field of employment, even as it becomes less controversial generally. Thirty-three states now provide for legal medical marijuana. Many of those states legalized medical marijuana after the success of ballot measures in statewide elections. At the same time, the drug remains a controlled substance at the federal level and the Controlled Substances Act states that marijuana has no commonly accepted medical usage.
While the world steps through the global pandemic, we know our clients are facing the same questions, concerns, and decisions that we are grappling with. The collective safety of our employees, families, clients, and your business interests weigh heavily on everyone’s mind. Disaster planning can only take you so far when experiencing anything of this magnitude.
How does insurance play into the events unfolding? Insurance policies address coverage in general terms. The specific circumstances around each loss or situation will determine whether or not coverage applies. However, in general terms, we’d like to share an overview of the potential claims issues in various lines of coverage and how those policies might respond.
In most civil cases, courts are careful to ensure that plaintiffs cannot benefit from a double recovery. That is to say, plaintiffs do not get to recover for the same injury twice. The purpose of a negligence lawsuit is to restore a person to the state they were in prior to suffering their injuries by compensating them for those injuries. This is one reason why insurance companies retain rights of subrogation.
Workers compensation is often defined as an exclusive remedy for employees injured on the job. Like with all laws however, there are exceptions. Intentional injuries have long existed as one of those exceptions to the exclusive remedy rule for workers’ compensation. Now, a recent ruling by the Supreme Court of Oklahoma has the potential to substantially expand that exception, leaving certain safety-indifferent employers facing greater exposure to lawsuits when an employee is injured.
Workers compensation is supposed to protect employers from lawsuits brought by their employees. In exchange for a system of a no fault liability for on the job injuries, employers secure freedom from negligence lawsuits brought by employees that might yield much higher payouts. This protection, however, is not absolute. Like with any rule, there are exceptions.
Action over cases have become increasingly common over the past two decades. These cases involve employees collecting worker’s compensation from their employer, and then suing a third party that caused their injuries through negligence who had a contractual indemnity clause with the employer that covers the lawsuit. The prevalence of these suits have led insurance companies to take action by issuing new endorsements aimed at protecting themselves.
Lawsuits are expensive... and they only ever get more costly as time goes on. To reduce delays, state governments have searched for ways to fairly apportion damages for certain types of accidents without having injured parties resort to filing lawsuits for some time. Workers' Compensation is one example of a system that states have used to avoid and prevent lawsuits in the specific field of workplace injuries by eliminating any requirement for fault or negligence.