Workers compensation insurance market starts to feel the COVID-19 pinch

Workers Compensation insurance - Coronavirus - mask
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The coronavirus is now making itself felt in this additional part of the industry.

Workers compensation insurance companies are now working quickly to keep up with the sudden influx of claims resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.

This has been made all the more complex as the regulatory landscape shifts throughout the country.

Many states have been changing the regulations to which the workers compensation insurance companies must adhere in the face of COVID-19. For instance, the state commission for this coverage gave its unanimous approval to repeal a controversial emergency rule at the end of April. It formed an automatic presumption that any frontline workers who became infected with the coronavirus did so at work, even if they weren’t on the job or had been working remotely.

The National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC) gave its full support to the repeal. NAMIC regional vice president for Great Lakes, Andrew Perkins, pointed out that “The emergency rule was an overreach, both procedurally and legally, and its revocation was in the best interest to ensure a fair process and help employers around the state.”

Other states have seen varying impacts from the pandemic on workers compensation insurance providers.

“So far, the impact has been pretty modest on our book of business,” said California’s State Compensation Insurance Fund senior vice president of communications Jonathan Tudor. He also pointed out that the insurer had received only around 20 claims from policyholders a few weeks prior.

“We haven’t denied any COVID-19 claims and the only claims that hadn’t gotten through turned out to not be COVID-19, so, in other words, an injured worker had made a claim and thought they had COVID-19 and it turned out that they did not … That’s been good for injured workers and it’s good for us so far as an organization – it reflects well on the safety precautions that our employers have put into place,” explained Tudor.

State Fund has also recently announced $165 million in added business and worker support funding for those affected by the pandemic. They have included boosting the size of its essential support fund so that it is now $50 million. Unlike workers Workers Compensation insurance - Coronavirus - maskcompensation insurance, it provides a reimbursement for expenses linked to safety measures and improvements made in the workplace to protect people from COVID-19.

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