The Impact of COVID-19 on Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Organizations across the United States are implementing policies to minimize the potential spread of the coronavirus and protect their health. However, it is also pertinent for employers to review their workers’ compensation insurance for COVID- 19 related claims, as the impact on workers’ compensation system will not be uniform across industries.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rules in Michigan

The threshold for COVID- 19 compensability will differ in each state. Some states may have more general language regarding workplace illnesses and contagious diseases in their statutes, while others have issued specific guidance on COVID- 19 claims.

As Michigan has a wage loss system, to be eligible for any benefits, “a worker must show that the exposure arose out of and in the course of employment like any other work injury and that it has caused a loss of wage-earning capacity in work suitable to qualifications and training.”

The state has also created a First Responder Presumed Coverage Fund, where the injury is presumed for first responders like healthcare practitioners during the outbreak. Note that an application for receiving benefits under the First Responder Presumed Coverage Fund suspends the employee’s workers’ compensation claim against his or her employer.

In light of the above, it is natural that all COVID- 19 related claims are being evaluated on a case to case basis in Michigan. Therefore, employers must submit potential claims with detailed information, such as the description of the incident (as shared by the employee) that led to the infection, whether the employee works in a high-risk role for COVID- 19 (for example, caregivers in hospitals), the chances of the employee contracting the disease from a friend or family member, etc.

For more information on workers’ compensation insurance, you can contact the experts at CIA Insurance and Risk Management. Our team will be happy to assist you.

Post provided by Sophia Najjar, President | Commercial Risk Management (CRM)

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