Although most New York-based businesses have sufficient workers compensation for their employees when they travel throughout the country, they face potential issues when workers travel abroad, even to Puerto Rico or Canada. If an employee were to become involved in a workplace accident in another country, the employer could be stuck with a huge liability issue - including hundreds of thousands of dollars in expenses. That's why having the right amount of coverage is very important.
Each country has its own set of rules and regulations regarding injured employees from another country. Employers therefore have a duty to understand the locations where employees will be traveling and ensure that they have enough workers compensation coverage to protect the employee - and the company - should he or she become injured while working abroad. Some insurers won't cover employees who are injured in another country. In addition, the cost to bring an injured worker back to the United States could exceed $250,000.
When reviewing their insurance policies, employers may want to consider covering endemic disease and repatriation. Endemic disease coverage will pay for medical expenses for diseases such as malaria, which are only specific to certain areas of the world. Repatriation coverage will cover expenses to bring back an ill, injured or deceased worker. Adding this types of coverage is not too expensive - a few thousand dollars a year - considering that it could cost an employer several hundred thousand dollars to go without it.
Although most employers are required to provide workers compensation insurance for employees, many get the minimum amount of coverage possible. This may be legally acceptable, but it may not be enough when an employer has employees who travel often. Without adequate coverage, employers end up footing the bill - and they may not even be aware of the additional coverage required.
Source: Employee Benefit News, "Employee travel exposes potential workers' compensation issues," Brian McDermott, May 28, 2014