Crawford & Company has announced that it has published a whitepaper on COVID-19’s effects on the workers’ compensation industry, and that an executive from its US operations will be retiring.
The whitepaper, produced by Crawford & Company division Broadspire, views the pandemic issue through the lens of workers’ compensation. The report noted that, on paper, workers’ compensation covers only illnesses or diseases that are “occupational” – the medical issues must arise out of and be in the course and scope of the employment. The medical issue must also arise out of or be caused by conditions particular to the work.
However, the definition of occupational illnesses/diseases varies from state to state. Another consideration is if “patient zero” in a non-healthcare workplace spreads it to other employees – depending on the jurisdiction, coworkers could file a claim if they caught the disease from that one infected individual.
“Taking the above excerpts into account, claims for airborne diseases such as COVID-19 are layered and complex,” the whitepaper concluded. “The ability to assess where the exposure took place is difficult, and as the disease spreads the exposure outside of employment, the burden of proof is placed on the employee.”
The whitepaper also had something to say about general liability claims filed by customers against employers, whose infected employees exposed clients to the coronavirus.
“Generally speaking, a general liability claim filed by a customer, client or supplier would be difficult to prove,” the paper said. “A key element in determining liability would be if an employee knew they were sick with COVID-19 when knowingly coming into contact with other individuals.”
Crawford & Company also listed some strategies on how employers can address the infection risk among employees.
Aside from the whitepaper, Crawford & Company revealed that Terry Hunt has announced his retirement from his role as US president of global technical services, effective May 15, 2020. Hunt has spent 27 years at Crawford, and has held numerous senior positions since joining in 1990.