When employees work from home, is it necessary to list all employees’ home addresses as a workplace for workers compensation to apply?
Q: When employees work from home, is it necessary to list all employees' home addresses as a workplace for workers compensation to apply? Is there an endorsement that would stipulate that all homes are covered locations?
Response 1: It is necessary to add at least one location for each state where employees work. Usually, you do not need to list each remote employee's home address. The specific employee's address is not a key coverage issue if their home is in the same state as the employer.
For coverage and rating purposes, you should review all worksites, including those of remote employees, at least once per year, even if the insurer does not issue an endorsement for every location.
There are three reasons to do this:
1) Coverage. If an employee is working remotely from their home in a different state from their employer, that state needs to be added to the workers comp policy. If it is not added, they may be uninsured. Missing states in which employees work remotely is a very common mistake.
2) Classification. Pennsylvania's workers comp code requires that “clerical office employees work exclusively in a separate building or on separate floors or in departments on such floors which are separated from all other workplaces of the employer," according to the ISO's Premium Audit Advisory Service (PAAS) workers comp manual. The rules in other states are similar to Pennsylvania's rules. Telecommuting has increased dramatically over the past two years, and many employees and job classifications that did not qualify as clerical in the past may now meet this requirement.
3) Claims. An insurer may want to know all the locations where employees are working to properly respond to claims. The number of home office and other locations that will be listed by endorsement can vary by insurer and client. Last week, I participated in a conversation where an insurer and contractor agreed to endorse 400 additional locations onto a workers comp policy without adding any states. Although all the policyholder's owned locations and states were already listed and covered on the policy, most of these contractor employees work at remote customer locations. In order to analyze claims in the future and provide meaningful loss control, they want every worksite listed.
Response 2: In most states, whatever state is listed in Item 3.A represents the benefits all employees can get—even if they're mining asteroids between Mars and Jupiter.
Response 3: The Information Page is the named insured's representations. Workers comp is state-based, not location-based. All states where there are locations should be listed in Item 3.A. As far as listing employee addresses on the Information Page, in the “Other workplaces not shown above" field, you should list, “Various, as employees work from home within the states listed in 3.A."
Response 4: As you of course know, employees must be covered by workers comp insurance wherever they are based. What they are doing is key, rather than where they are doing it, so all home addresses do not need to be listed.
That said, more communication is better than less, so make sure the underwriter knows the extent to which employees are working from home. It doesn't hurt to offer assistance to employees to make their home workplace safe, with ergonomic measures for instance.
Depending on the work and the ease of tracking performance, systems might be established so that the causes and circumstances of injuries can be directly related to working on the job. Employees should also be sure that their homeowners insurer is aware of their status so at-
Response 5: Coverage is provided in the states listed, not the addresses listed. Unless there is some weird underwriting requirement placed by the carrier, there is no need to list anything other than the covered states.
This question was originally submitted by an agent through the Big “I" Virtual University's (VU) Ask an Expert service, with responses curated from multiple VU faculty members. Answers to other coverage questions are available on the VU website. If you need help accessing the website, request login information.
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