October 20, 2019

employee coverages

Foreign Voluntary Workers Compensation with Assistance

The manner in which statutory workers compensation responds to injury or illness of workers while outside the state or the country varies from no coverage to no change in coverage.  There may be time limitations.  One issue remains the same – the worker must seek local medical attention in a strange place with no guidance from insurer or employer.  And then the employee must seek reimbursement for expenses billed in another language and without CPD codes.  Foreign voluntary workers compensation generally pays expenses of work related injury or illness outside the United States.  Claims are usually settled “as if” the applicable state law applied.

“Assistance” is a set of services to those traveling outside their country to locate appropriate medical care.  In urgent cases, the assistance company will evacuate an individual to the nearest appropriate medical care, even by aircraft over long distances.  Employers are given information on how to contact the assistance company retained by the insurer.  Employers give the contact information to traveling employees.  Work related assistance expenses are generally paid by the foreign voluntary workers compensation insurer. 

Employers Liability

Many countries have national health and social security schemes which protect workers. Only a handful of countries have laws requiring employers liability on a statutory basis for employees in those countries.  A growing number of countries, notably in the European Union, have legislation creating a gross negligence legal liability of employers. 

For U.S. employees, foreign voluntary workers compensation insurers usually include employers liability following the practice of U.S. statutory policies.  For insureds with employees permanently located overseas, employers liability on the U.S. policy can provide coverage for an employers liability suit brought locally.  Insureds with permanent establishments overseas would normally buy local commercial general liability with an employers liability extension where available, or statutory coverage where required.

Travel Accident and Sickness

Travel Accident and Sickness insurance addresses the issue of a traveling employee who becomes injured or ill in the course of business travel, but not through compensable, work-related injury or illness.  Typically, travel accident and sickness provides emergency medical expense, evacuation, some needs of family members, accidental death and dismemberment and repatriation of remains.  Sometimes insureds will buy travel accident and sickness insurance for non-employees for whom they wish to provide coverage such as university students traveling in a semester abroad program or church volunteers engaged in a short mission abroad. 

When sold on a mono-line basis, Travel Accident and Sickness is often called Business Travel Accident.

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