Pandemic Could Impact Insurance Decisions
Thursday, April 15, 2021 01:13 PM

By Adam Puharic, President, Puharic and Assoc.

Employers who persevered through the trials of COVID-19 and closed offices are anxious to turn the page and return workers to a safe and profitable workplace. An often underappreciated part of an employer’s commercial insurance program – Employer Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) – will be tested in new and unanticipated ways as a result of the pandemic.

Now is the time to understand your current coverage, and to contemplate endorsements and higher limits to strengthen what policies are in place now.

Employer Practices Liability Insurance typically defends against claims of employment law or practice violation. This is an evolving field of law and the list of possible allegations continues to expand.

According to Philadelphia Insurance Company, a provider of quality standalone EPLI coverage, common examples of allegations that may lead to claims include age discrimination, wrongful termination, retaliation, and disability discrimination.

As a result of the pandemic, the risk to employers are growing as rules and circumstances change. Ever-changing CDC guidelines make rules like quarantining and self-isolation confusing and difficult to enforce.

Performance reviews become treacherous for employees mandated to work from home while co-workers performing similar jobs work in the office. Family medical leave rules become ripe opportunities for potential conflict.

Employers should contact their insurance agent for an immediate review of the current EPLI coverage.  

Seek standalone coverage over endorsements adding coverage to existing business owners policies. Budget for EPLI spending as a valuable and necessary business protection tool.

Most importantly, every employer should become better educated on how their insurance coverage will respond, and where the gaps in coverage exist