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articles image_0007_103.jpgOccupational Accident Insurance Could Be the Answer in the “Gig Economy”

May 24, 2018

The workplace in America has shifted in recent years. What used to be a fairly straightforward organization of employers and employees has transformed to a large degree toward on-demand workers coordinated by employers, staffing management agencies, and online entities. This type of work organization is often referred to as the “gig economy”; workers being paid by job rather than receiving an hourly wage, or workers that log into an online app or platform to conduct their work. In some cases, these employer/employee arrangements can lead to significant hurdles when it comes to a business protecting both its assets and its employees from liability claims. 

Worker-Based Insurance

In traditional workplace environments, workers’ compensation insurance may be required by state or local law. This type of insurance program is usually state-administered and is designed to cover the employee’s costs associated with lost wages and medical expenses arising from a workplace injury. In the gig economy, many such workers are classified as independent contractors, eliminating them from the coverage and benefits afforded to them by workers’ compensation insurance as they are not considered direct employees of a given company.

General liability insurance (GLI), such as that held by staffing companies, covers liabilities associated with injuries and/or damage to workplace buildings and equipment. This insurance is designed to protect against third-party claims, and does little if anything to compensate workers for on-the-job injuries.

Occupational Accident Insurance, or OAI, is a potential solution. This specialized type of insurance policy is not often required by law, yet it provides both employer and employee with certain levels of financial protection in the case of workplace accidents and their associated injuries. Employees covered under plans of these type can include traditional company employees as well as independent contractors or those employees managed by a staffing company. OAI is a standard for many industries that use contractors for workplace duties, including trucking companies, manufacturing facilities, and delivery services, to name only a few.

Benefits of Occupational Accident Insurance

As another layer of protection for employers and employees alike, Occupational Accident Insurance (OAI) offers several benefits. OAI plans typically cost less to implement and administer than workers’ compensation insurance plans, and can allow the employer to set coverage limits for individual employees (including independent contractors or piecework employees).

A typical OAI plan may include benefits that cover:

  • Medical expenses associated with workplace injuries
  • Accidental death
  • Survivors
  • Temporary or permanent disability

While the policies and terms of OAI are more complex than workers’ compensation insurance, they do offer more flexibility than many other types of worker insurance plans. A qualified insurance agent can help businesses determine their level of risk, their workplace configuration, and employee status to locate policies that meet the specific needs of each company. With occupational accident insurance policies, both employers and employees can enjoy protection against the losses associated with workplace accidents that result in property damage, injury, or even accidental death. ◼

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