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Bruce Sackrison's Insurance Matters: Workers’ Comp and COVID-19, is it covered?
Insurance Matters

Bruce Sackrison's Insurance Matters: Workers’ Comp and COVID-19, is it covered?

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Bruce Sackrison

Bruce Sackrison is a Napa Valley Register columnist who will write about property and casualty insurance matters.

The main purpose of workers’ compensation is to cover the cost of medical bills and loss of wages should an employee get injured while on the job.

There are times, though, when heart disease, stroke, cancer, or other illnesses are contracted due to the work environment.

California’s workers’ comp system requires employers to provide benefits such as medical care and disability to employees who have suffered some of these illnesses due to occupational hazards.

The year of 2020 has demanded change from all of us, in both home life and the workplace.

Many who used to spend part of the day commuting are now set up to work in their own homes.

Yet there are still large numbers of folks who fit into the category of essential workers. These essential workers include a wide variety of laborers including first responders, police, and medical personnel, as well as people like the grocery store clerk, or your bus driver.

So, how does the coronavirus fit into the picture when it comes to perils in the workforce? If you are infected while on the job, will you be able to receive any benefits from workers’ comp?

Governor Gavin Newsom has recently signed a bill that will make it easier for some employees to receive help if they test positive with COVID-19.

Instead of putting the responsibility on the employee to prove the virus was contracted while on the job, the burden of proof falls on the insurance company or place of employment to prove that it was not.

The new rules apply if an employee tests positive with the virus within 14 days of performing at their workplace. The employer then has 30 days to rebut the claim.

This all sounds great for the essential workers, but most employers are not as thrilled.

The new rules were passed as an emergency bill, bypassing the typical starting date of Jan. 1, going into effect immediately. Employers now face rising costs of workers’ compensation insurance rates as claims are made.

This is happening during a critical time when California business owners are already struggling to keep people employed.

Both employers and employees are wondering if these changes are even necessary since the government has already put relief plans in place to compensate for lost wages due to the virus.

If you have any questions about this topic, feel free to contact me. Whether you are a business owner or an employee, we can discuss how these changes are affecting the California workforce, and if the new bill is beneficial for you.



Watch now: Navigating flu season during COVID-19

Bruce Sackrison is an insurance property and casualty broker affiliated with Professional Insurance Associates. He is at 707-931-0186 or bruces@sackifs.com.

Bruce Sackrison is an insurance property and casualty broker affiliated with Professional Insurance Associates. He is at 707-931-0186 or bruces@sackifs.com.

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