Return To Work Guide

As we near a time when stay-at-home regulations are scaled back and all businesses are allowed to resume full operations, business owners need to decide on an acceptable date to begin reopening. To help with this process, Alper has created a collection of Return To Work materials broken into four sections:
We will continue to update these materials as more information becomes available. Please do not hesitate to reach out to your Alper Representative with questions.

Deciding When It’s Right For You To Reopen

A recent survey by Blank Rome  found that 73% of the companies surveyed have not yet developed a return-to-work strategy. If and when the government allows businesses to reopen, that doesn’t mean COVID-19 is no longer a threat. Some businesses may have greater exposures than others, so you will need to understand the risks and decide when it’s right for you. To help you in this process, consult the Centers for Disease Control, your state’s shelter in place orders and union obligations if any apply. We’ve listed additional organizations’ guidelines that would be helpful: 

CDC Guidelines

EEOC Guidelines

OSHA Guidelines

Executive Order by State

White House Guidelines

City of Chicago Coronavirus Response Center

State of Illinois Coronavirus Response Site

Preparing Your Business To Avoid An Outbreak

Before you reopen your business, you’ll need to think about how you can do so safely. Most businesses will not be able to flip a switch and go from closed to open, but rather will need to reopen in phases. This section provides an overview of how to prepare for reopening. Continue reading

May Benefits Focus

Benefits Focus

We’re finding every week raises a new scenario and its own set of questions that are unique to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our hope is that this issue of Benefits Focus provides clarity surrounding FFCRA compliance, deadline extensions for COBRA and what a return to work plan could look like. Click here to download it.

Our overview of a return to work plan is a great starting point—don’t miss it! However, we also have a more extensive guide to Creating A Return To Work Action Plan that you can download here.

Remember, the Alper Employee Benefits Team is here to answer any questions you have regarding this information or benefits coverage in general, EBTeam@AlperServices.com.

The Effect of COVID-19 on Your Workers’ Comp Premium

WC Premiums May Change Due To COVID-19

We’ve seen many of our Clients change their operations or even halt business activity altogether as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. If your day-to-day business has shifted due to COVID-19, it can impact your workers’ comp premiums. Consider these scenarios:

A business has suspended their operations due to COVID-19 but continues to pay their employees who are home and not working. Is this payroll included in premium calculations for workers’ comp?

Your business has limited operations due to COVID-19 and some employees are temporarily placed in new roles. What classifications would you assign to employees in temporary roles?

Have your business operations changed or been temporarily interrupted due to the pandemic? How does a change in your operations affect your class code and premium?

Our AuditRate Experts can tell you how the coronavirus pandemic impacts your particular business. Please contact the Alper Services AuditRate Team to schedule a consultation:

Michelle Marten, MMarten@AlperServices.com

John Przybylski, JPrzybylski@AlperServices.com

Video Series: Preparing For Now Through When

Preparing For Now Through When Video Series

Our first episode of the video series Preparing For Now Through When is live! In it we hear from Alper Employee Benefits Director Will Pinn about the difference between furloughs, layoffs and a reduction of hours, and how they impact your employee benefits plans. Click here to view.

Each episode of Preparing For Now Through When will examine the questions we are hearing from Clients in our area of expertise as it relates to the coronavirus pandemic. Because the current climate is constantly evolving, please contact your Alper Services representative with your immediate questions.

Alper Webinar: Your Company In A Post-COVID-19 World

Life is not “business as usual” so what will it take to get back to normal once the coronavirus is no longer a threat?

Please join us on Wednesday, April 8 at 9:00am CDT for a complimentary webinar to prepare you and your business for life in a post-COVID-19 world. We have invited several expert speakers to cover the following topics:

  • Business Interruption Loss – Sedgwick
  • Insurance cost cutting measures – Alper Services
  • The impact of COVID-19 on IL workers’ comp – ASA Law Group
  • Workers’ comp exposures while working from home – TC Risk Management Services
  • How to sanitize your workplace before employees return – Indoor Sciences

Click our link to register for the webinar. Space is limited: https://bit.ly/2w6nUnJ

Coronavirus Resources

Alper Services has compiled the following materials based on questions we are receiving and input we’ve gathered from trusted carriers and vendors. We will continue to update this page with valuable information. If you have questions about any of this information, contact your Alper Services Representative.

Click each headline for details

EMPLOYEE BENEFITS

CARES Act Makes Changes to Health Plans

A Sample List of MyWave Connect Compliance Documents
MyWave Connect is a platform Alper will now offer at no charge to all Clients featuring a large library of compliance, HR and benefits admin materials. Contact Priya Shah, PShah@AlperServices.com or your Alper Account Manager for more details.

Emergency Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) vs Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

Department of Labor FAQs: Families First Coronavirus Response Act

COVID-19 Scenarios and Benefits Available Table

Coronavirus vs Flu vs Allergies: A Flowchart

Federal Agencies Issue COVID-19 Relief for Employee Benefit Plans

United HealthCare deferred payment option:
For COVID-19 related payment extension requests, UHC will consider deferred payment requests received directly from the client on an individual case-by-case basis. Please direct your clients to call billing directly at 1-888-842-4571 M-F 8:00am-8:00pm ET to request the extension. Requests submitted by the broker on behalf of the customer will not be accepted.

Aetna deferred payments:
Aetna is allowing clients to defer payments. They have several options:
1. Pay in Full
2. Pay 50% at the beginning of the month and 50% at the end of the month
3. Defer this coming months premium to next month


HUMAN RESOURCES

Guide to Creating a Return to Work Action Plan
Guide to Creating a Return to Work Action Plan – editable document

CARES Act Small Business Loan Overview

Understanding the $2 Trillion Stimulus Package

Guidance on Tax Credits for Coronavirus Paid Sick Leave

Employee Retention Tax Credits for Businesses Impacted by the Coronavirus

DOL FAQs: COVID-19 and the Fair Labor Standards Act

Furlough vs Layoffs

Sample Employee Handbook Pandemic Flu Leave Policy

Sample Telecommuting Policy

Sick With Coronavirus – A Symptom Factsheet

Coronavirus in the Workplace: Compliance for Employers

Definition of “Essential Business” – page 5

Easing Employee Stress During COVID-19

FFCRA Poster – Employee Rights

HIPAA Privacy Rule and the Coronavirus Outbreak


PROPERTY & CASUALTY

The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission Update on Compensability of COVID-19

CNA Alters Vacancy Provisions For First Party Commercial Properties in Light of COVID-19

Grange Insurance COVID-19 Premium Payment Information 

Travelers Billing Relief For U.S. Customers

CHUBB Announces Small Business Support Program

The US Chamber of Commerce Guide to Coronavirus Emergency Loans for Small Business

Cyber Liability and Remote Work Cyber Risks

P&C Claims Covered in Light of the Coronavirus
Things are changing very rapidly. The best course of action is to review the language of your specific policy with your Alper Services Executive, and if you believe you have a claim, to submit it to the carrier for review with the following caveats:

Absent a separate endorsement, standard, Business Interruption insurance excludes losses related to virus or bacterium. While it is arguable that the virus is not the cause of the losses, enforced closings are, the insurance carrier may likely still enforce the exclusion for coverages due to COVID-19.

The exclusion will likely apply despite the Shelter-in-place orders. There has been no Civil Authority order in Illinois yet, but even if there were typically there is no covered cause of loss due to the virus exclusion.

Similarly, Continent Business Interruption Insurance applies if there is a direct physical loss or damage to a supplier which impacts your business. Again, a virus or bacteria exclusion may apply.

However, every policy is different, and the insurance carriers will provide the full analysis to determine if there is coverage for your business losses. Thus, you may elect to file a claim with the understanding that coverage is not guaranteed.

To date, there is no definitive answer regarding Workers’ Comp coverage for COVID-19. It would be difficult to prove that an employee became infected specifically due to work versus all other contacts that he/she may have had at home or in public. An employee may have to show that his/her workplace subjected the employee to a “materially greater” chance of contracting the airborne disease than the general public – this is still speculative.

Currently, some WC carriers are treating COVID-19 claims as indemnity claims for now, but have not yet ruled if they determined if they will extend coverage or not based upon whether the contraction of the disease is “occupational” or not.

Chubb Cancellation and Non-renewal Notices
Chubb will commence a voluntary 60-day hold on cancellation and nonrenewal notices for all of its US and Canada insureds that advise they cannot pay their premiums due to events related to coronavirus except where a longer period may be required by regulatory order. They will continue to bill premiums but will not cancel for non-payment and no late fees will be assessed during this hold. The hold will commence on March 23, 2020. Commercial insureds may contact Chubb directly or reach out to Alper Services to let them know that they will be requesting this accommodation.

Insurance Carrier Billing Assistance

AmTrust Billing Assistance

CHUBB Billing Assistance

Cincinnati Billing Assistance

CNA Billing Assistance

The Hartford Billing Assistance

Liberty Mutual Billing Assistance

Travelers Billing Assistance

 


TRADE CREDIT INSURANCE

Q: Is there a “Force Majeure” clause in my Trade Credit Insurance policy?
A: Amongst the three largest providers, Euler, Coface and Atradius and among a number of Non-Cancellable markets, i.e. AIG, Chubb, FCIA, Allied, Tokio Marine HCC, et al, the answer is NO.

Q: Is there an Exclusion for Virus or Pandemic like in my Property policy?
A: See above.

The following FAQ’s apply to Euler, Coface and Atradius policy holders.

Q: Will “cancellable” carriers “slash & burn” coverage like it’s 2008/2009?
A: It does not appear to be the case. The weakest rated credits in the most stressed industries are being reviewed to potentially reduce or cancel coverage. This is a measured response to the current environment and will adjust as this develops. It’s truly, wait and see.

Q: What value is a policy if carriers are cancelling all my coverage?
A: At the moment, carriers are reducing coverage on the weakest of credits in distressed areas of the economy. You don’t have to stop selling them, but it’s wise to take notice and consider all credit term options. It can be much more expensive to sell and not get paid, than to not sell at all.

Q: If my coverage is cancelled, do I get a premium credit?
A: If coverage is withdrawn you need not report sales for the customer after the date of cancellation. It is not a credit, but you are not paying a premium for something you don’t have.

Q: If coverage is cancelled, do I have any options?
A: Admittedly, in these times your options are limited. But, if coverage is reduced/withdrawn on a key buyer and you believe there’s a case, contact your Account Manager Gary Kirshenbaum at GKirshenbaum@AlperServices.com. He can appeal, and there may be options available, circumstance dependent.


PERSONAL LINES

To note: There is a binding moratorium on purchasing Travel Accident Insurance/Trip Cancellation and Special Event insurance.

Grange Insurance Personal Auto Premium Refund

Shelter-In-Place Payback From Allstate, Esurance and Encompass

Travelers Stay-at-Home Auto Premium Credit Program

Chubb Announces Premium Credit for U.S. Auto Policyholders

Student Loan Repayment Deferral

Tax Day Moved to July 15, 2020