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Transitioning to a Remote Workforce? Here‘s What You Need to Know

2020 has become the year of the remote worker, courtesy of the coronavirus pandemic. Is your business one of the many that has transitioned to remote operations? Have you considered how that change affects your insurance liabilities as a business owner?

McCartin Insurance can help you reassess your risk picture. Managing a remote workforce may be new to you, but as independent agents we have rich expertise in helping business owners manage risk — whether employees work from home or on-site. And because we represent multiple insurance companies, McCartin Insurance can offer you and your business customized coverage based on your unique and changing needs.

In addition, we can offer you resources and advice for developing your

company’s remote work program. It should address, at a minimum:

  1. Safety guidelines for a home office
  2. Designated work, break, and lunch
  3. Safety
  4. Physical inspections of remote workers’ home
  5. The workers’ compensation rules for your state as they apply to remote

Here are a few insurance questions we can help you answer:

Does my commercial general liability policy cover remote employees?

As part of your business insurance package, general liability protects your business against financial loss resulting from bodily injury, advertising injury, and property damage caused by your business or employees. One of our experienced agents can review your policy to be sure that you are still adequately covered while employing remote workers.

If your remote employee must meet business clients from home, it will be your commercial general liability policy that must cover any injury, not the employee’s homeowners insurance. Your agent may suggest additional coverages such as management liability insurance to protect you and your workers from this and other risks not covered by your commercial general liability policy.

Do I need additional business property insurance?

Business property insurance protects the physical location of your business and any tools, equipment and inventory. Your business property policy may exclude or limit the coverage for property that is not located at your business premises. Your agent can help you determine if you need additional coverage for property used off-premises by remote workers.

An employee’s own homeowners policy usually will not cover the loss of business-owned equipment that is damaged or stolen in their home.

Are my remote workers covered by the workers’ compensation insurance my company purchases? It is incumbent on you as an employer to ensure a safe working environment for your employees — whether they work at your business location or from their homes. In general, your workers’ compensation insurance covers all of your workers for illness or injury arising out of or in the course of employment — no matter where they physically work.

However, ensuring a safe working environment for remote workers increases your responsibilities as an employer. In addition, it is more difficult for a remote worker to demonstrate that an injury or illness “arises out of” or occurs “in the course of” employment — your telecommuting policies and procedures will be of critical importance.

Will my cyber liability insurance cover remote employees?

The answer to that question is not simple because cyber policies vary greatly and may contain exclusions that would affect remote workers. And a remote worker using a public or a poorly secured home network could put your entire business at risk and expose your customers’ private information. We can help you be sure you have appropriate cyber liability coverage.

In addition, you must ensure that every device an employee uses is protected from cyber breaches. First, require that employees use only your business-owned devices for work; second, set every employee up with a secure connection from their home office to your business network. You may have to engage the help of an IT specialist, but the investment pales beside the potential costs of a cyberattack.

Let McCartin Insurance help you keep your business and employees safe … anywhere they work.

For more help with your telecommuters, consult these articles:

Inspiring Productivity and Connection with Remote Workers

Ways to Keep Remote Workers Connected and Engaged