RAS continues to monitor news about the evolving spread of the COVID-19 around the United States and our region.
Insured Support During COVID-19 Pandemic
In this difficult time, RAS appreciates that many of its insureds may experience disruption of varying degree. In recognition of these pandemic-related hardships, RAS offers its support and will make reasonable accommodations to its insureds by extending premium payment timeframes, waiving associated fees, and allowing mid-term audits of payroll for premium adjustments. RAS will keep these accommodation measures in place for as long as is reasonable to do so. Please contact your agent, or RAS directly at 800.732.1486 option 3 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org, to request specific accommodations. And, please stay safe in this trying time.
COVID-19 – Unemployment Benefit Assistance Information
Many employers may be confronted with numerous HR questions related to employee absences, voluntary or involuntary, as well as workplace closures, related to the outbreak of COVID-19 in the US and its effect on commercial workplaces. In certain instances, employees may be eligible to file for unemployment benefits. To assist in evaluating these topics, please visit your particular jurisdiction’s guidance. See reference links provided below (listed alphabetically):
COVID-19 – Workers’ Compensation State Resources
Recommendations for Employers
With the rapidly evolving situation with the COVID-19 outbreak, RAS is providing interim guidance to its insured employers on possible steps for them to take in their workplaces and business operational practices. It is RAS’s recommendation and a best practice to review and follow the advice of experts such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Accordingly, in this guide are some bullet points to follow along with links to the information developed by these organizations specifically for business preparedness.
RAS has developed Best Practices to assist employers when dealing with and managing COVID-19 to help them reduce their risk of employers’ liability related claims.
Dealing With and Managing the COVID-19 Pandemic
Sample Safety Plan
Return to Work Protocol Memo Template
Applicable OSHA Standards
School Reopening – Steps to Take When a Student or Employee Becomes Ill or Tests Positive
School Reopening – Employee Safety Considerations (updated 7/24/20)
Exposure to COVID-19 and Workers’ Compensation Compensability Issue
There is no universal rule on the compensability of COVID-19 claims and it is too new to have any reported case law to turn to for guidance. As general rule, while it is possible for COVID-19 to be a compensable workers’ compensation injury or an occupational disease, compensability will depend upon the facts of each case, the jurisdiction’s definition of injury and/or occupational disease and that jurisdiction’s case law. As always, the burden of proof will lie with the Employee.
Employer Reporting Instructions
RAS wants to encourage our employers to let us know if an employee tests positive for COVID-19 or is suspected of having been exposed. Because COVID-19 is an ordinary disease of life, and as with all reported claims, a thorough and complete investigation will be necessary to determine work-relatedness and compensability involving COVID-19 exposures.
Additional COVID 19 Resources
CDC: COVID-19 Cases in the U.S. – Click on a state that goes to the Department of Health website.