As the average age of positive COVID-19 cases continues to get younger, we’ve seen more of the population that has contracted the virus but may be asymptomatic.
For the people that test positive and are quarantined, but do not need to be hospitalized for an extended period, the federal government has come up with guidelines, called the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. In most scenarios, positive employees qualify for two weeks of paid sick leave, which is not chargeable to workers’ compensation.
Part of the risk management strategy for potential COVID-19 cases that would be charged under workers’ compensation is to understand the guidelines in all jurisdictions as each state manages workers' compensation differently.
For a positive case that has been filed under workers’ compensation, the risk management team works closely with the claims unit and the insured to make sure a proper investigation is completed. With a respiratory illness, it can be difficult to prove how an employee contracted it. If it’s presumed that a person contracted it at work, it falls to jurisdictional laws of how it would be covered under workers’ compensation. If someone is a critical care nurse, as an example, the odds are it may be compensable. If someone is an office worker and there are no confirmed positive cases in the office, it is far more difficult to prove it was contracted at work.
SUNZ works very closely with insureds to understand the likelihood of a COVID-19 case becoming a claim. We have specialists in every jurisdiction to evaluate the status of a report and whether it should be compensable for that specific location.