Transitioning to a Remote Workforce? Here‘s What You Need to Know

Transitioning to remote workforce

Is your business one of the many that have transitioned to remote operations? Have you considered how that change affects your insurance liabilities as a business owner?

Your independent insurance agent can help you reassess your risk picture. Managing a remote workforce may be new to you, but independent agents have rich expertise in helping business owners manage risk — whether employees work from home or on-site. And because they represent multiple insurance companies, agents can offer you and your business customized coverage based on your unique and changing needs.

In addition, your agent can offer you resources and advice for developing your company’s remote work program. It should address, at a minimum:

  1. Safety guidelines for a home office setup
  2. Designated work, break, and lunch times
  3. Safety training
  4. Physical inspections of remote workers’ home offices
  5. The workers’ compensation rules for your state as they apply to remote workers

Here are a few insurance questions your agent can help you answer:

Does My Commercial General Liability Policy Cover Remote Employees?

As part of your business insurance package, general liability protects your business against financial loss resulting from bodily injury, advertising injury, and property damage caused by your business or employees. Your agent can review your policy to be sure that you are still adequately covered while employing remote workers.

If your remote employee must meet business clients from home, it will be your commercial general liability policy that must cover any injury, not the employee’s homeowners insurance. Your agent may suggest additional coverages such as management liability insurance to protect you and your workers from this and other risks not covered by your commercial general liability policy.


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Do I Need Additional Business Property Insurance?

Business property insurance protects the physical location of your business, and any tools, equipment, and inventory. Your business property policy may exclude or limit the coverage for property that is not located at your business premises. Your agent can help you determine if you need additional coverage for property used off-premises by remote workers.

An employee’s own homeowners policy usually will not cover the loss of business-owned equipment that is damaged or stolen in their home.

Are My Remote Workers Covered by the Workers’ Compensation Insurance My Company Purchases?

It is incumbent on you as an employer to ensure a safe working environment for your employees — whether they work at your business location or from their homes. In general, your workers’ compensation insurance covers all of your workers for illness or injury arising out of or in the course of employment — no matter where they physically work.

However, ensuring a safe working environment for remote workers increases your responsibilities as an employer. In addition, it is more difficult for a remote worker to demonstrate that an injury or illness “arises out of” or occurs “in the course of” employment — your telecommuting policies and procedures will be of critical importance.

Will My Cyber Liability Insurance Cover Remote Employees?

The answer to that question is not simple because cyber policies vary greatly and may contain exclusions that would affect remote workers. And a remote worker using a public or a poorly secured home network could put your entire business at risk and expose your customers’ private information. Your agent can help you be sure you have appropriate cyber liability coverage.

In addition, you must ensure that every device an employee uses is protected from cyber breaches. First, require that employees use only your business-owned devices for work, and second, set every employee up with a secure connection from their home office to your business network. You may have to engage the help of an IT specialist, but the investment pales beside the potential costs of a cyberattack.

Let help you keep your business and employees safe … anywhere they work.

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