Covid-19 continues to change everyday life, with new restrictions and practices coming and going on almost a daily basis. Businesses have seen dramatic changes to their working practices and have had to adapt these rapidly to an unprecedented and unexpected situation.
With any dramatic change comes new challenges and unseen, unintended consequences, and the insurance world is no different. Liability insurers are already starting to predict what the consequences of these changes will be for injury claims.
The expectation is that the market will begin to see a shift in the areas where employees and third parties will make claims against businesses, many of these related to how businesses have been forced to adapt to the added pressures of keeping both workforce and public safe from Covid-19. Indeed, some insurers are already seeing increases in ‘ambulance chaser’ solicitors advertising services for Covid-19 related claims!
There are several key areas insurers have already identified:
- Insurers expect there will be a rise in manual handling injuries arising from lone working or distancing rules, citing a lack of supervision or appropriate training for rapidly changing processes.
- Home working claims may also rise as employers come to grips with a new way of working, as employees may look to claim for injuries in the home while on work time or face musculoskeletal injuries from inadequate workspaces and set ups.
- Respiratory illnesses will undoubtedly increase from workforce and public alike, not just from the immediate consequences of Covid-19 diagnosis, but also the latent long-term effects which continue to become apparent
- Psychological injuries, in particular occupational stress and mental health, are likely to rise especially as awareness towards mental health issues increases, as employers struggle to see the signs of stress remotely and employees may be worried about coming forward with issues surrounding their workloads for fears of job loss
- Third Party claims from the public, especially in relation to known property defects or perceived lack of Covid-19 protections, are also expected to rise as the economy continues to struggle, with a reduction in jobs and income making people more willing to claim where they may not have done so before, especially if solicitors advertising for Covid-19 related claims becomes the norm
What can be done to help mitigate these claims?
- Update current risk assessments to accommodate new working practices and ensure personal protective equipment and now working practice training is given and recorded as appropriate
- Ensure your accident books are filled out fully and kept up to date and obtain any witness details you can where reasonable and possible
- Keep relevant documentation to show you have been keeping up to date with Covid-19 guidance and implemented changes and protections as required
- Ensure risk assessments are undertaken for those now working from home, to make sure their working environment is as comfortable as possible and that employees have the correct equipment to work safely and effectively
- Retain frequent contact with employees – video calls, while potentially unpopular, may mean it is easier to read body language and see the signs of stress
- Regularly inspect your property and Covid-19 protections, log any defects, and ensure maintenance or any required action is undertaken in as timely a manner as possible.
If you would like to talk to ProAktive about your commercial insurance requirements, you can contact us on 01302 341 344 or 0114 243 9914.
By Sam Harby Dip CII – Commercial Account Handler