Workers’ Compensation vs. Workplace Violence Coverage

Acts of violence and other injuries are the third-leading cause of fatal occupational injuries in the US. Not only that, but these fatalities are increasing, rising from 705 fatalities in 2020 to 761 fatalities in 2021. Intentional injuries by a person, the largest subcategory of workplace violence, increased by 10.3% in 2021.

The reality is that workplace violence is a constant threat—one that costs employers, workers, and the economy billions of dollars each year. This is because businesses must protect themselves and their workers, including through workers’ compensation and general commercial liability coverage. How do these compensation programs work, and do businesses also need workplace violence coverage to ensure they are protected?

What does workers’ compensation entail?

In most states, businesses are required to buy workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. The insurance pays out if a work-related illness or injury is confirmed.

Workers’ compensation is primarily focused on aiding federal workers and their dependents. It may also include other specified groups that have been injured at work or have acquired an occupational disease. Compensation is administered by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs and includes four major disability compensation programs:

  • Wage replacement benefits: While not available to every injured worker, workers’ compensation can replace some of the wages lost because of the inability to continue work. The degree to which wages are replaced depends on the state in which the worker is employed.
  • Medical treatment: Insurance can cover reasonable medical care costs. This may include treatment by physicians, psychologists, chiropractors, or other medical professionals.
  • Vocational rehabilitation: Workers that have experienced workplace injuries may be eligible for services that help them regain the ability to make a living through employment.
  • Other benefits: There are many other potential benefits, such as funeral or memorial expenses.

While workers are automatically eligible for workers’ compensation, there are exclusions. These could include the worker being intoxicated or using other substances or if the injury happened during a fight (unless the fight was about work). Commuting costs are also typically excluded.

Also read: Top 10 Things to Look for in an Active Assailant Insurance Policy

Where does general commercial liability coverage come in?

On the other hand, a commercial general liability policy is more focused on covering the business and protecting it from non-professional negligence. It typically covers property damage to another’s belongings or bodily injuries to visitors at your business.

This type of insurance covers the following:

  • Third-Party Medical Costs Coverage
  • Third-Party Property Damage Or Bodily Injury
  • Third-Party Personal Injury

It’s important to highlight that general commercial liability only covers third-party claims, so this coverage does not protect your property from damage or your employees if they are injured. As a result, most businesses will invest in both workers’ compensation and general commercial liability coverage, aiming to protect their employees and business as best they can.

Workers’ compensation protects your employees from work-related injuries or sickness, and general commercial liability coverage protects your business from damages it may cause. However, there are still costs associated with workplace violence that these two types of coverage don’t address.

Workplace violence coverage

This is where workplace violence coverage comes in. It covers the expenses that a company incurs from violent incidents, such as:

  • Hiring independent security: Businesses may seek to reduce the risk of future workplace violence, relying on third-party security to protect their property and employees.
  • Death benefits to survivors: The victims’ families may be entitled to death benefits, helping with funeral arrangements and other associated expenses.
  • Costs associated with business interruption: Restoring operations to the level that existed before the incident may have high costs, such as property repairs and replacement of workers.
  • Public relations experts: Businesses looking to repair their image may invest in public relations consultants, counseling for their teams, forensic analysts, and more.

Ultimately, businesses doing business everywhere are at risk of workplace violence. Of the 277 million employed persons globally, 8.5% have experienced physical violence or harassment at their workplace. 70% of these incidents took place in the last five years.

Also read: Should you Invest in Active Shooter Liability Insurance?

Are workers’ compensation and general commercial liability coverage enough?

Businesses need to know their property and employees are adequately protected, but workers’ compensation and general commercial liability coverage do not cover every expense. Workplace violence insurance is needed to fully safeguard a business from the real and increasing threat of violent incidents at work.

McGowan Program Administrators is a leading provider of Workplace Violence Coverage products nationwide. By carefully reviewing and analyzing the current landscape, we have identified the best ways for businesses to feel comfortable that their risks are being addressed while ensuring adequate care for your workers and business following a violent incident. Contact us today to learn more about Workplace Violence Coverage that meets the unique needs of your business.

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