With remote working becoming more of the norm in Georgia and the rest of the country, business owners are asking: what types of insurance do I need for work-from-home employees?
We provide a breakdown below of what it means to work from home, what types of business insurance you may need, and additional considerations you’ll want to keep in mind to protect both employer and employees.
What qualifies as “working from home?”
Working from home, remote working, and telecommuting are often used interchangeably. Technically, employees working from home implies there is a physical office location, where they may work part of the time in addition to out of their house or apartment.
A remote worker is an employee who works from home all the time. Telecommuting is when the work is done mostly outside the office at any other location, with occasional in-office work. Most work-from-home employees are now remote workers.
In any case, risks with working from home can include the employee getting injured, damage or theft to company equipment that is being used at home, or, more commonly, cyber theft or a data breach.
What types of insurance do you need when you have remote workers?
While the types of insurance you’ll need for work-at-home or remote workers will vary depending on the nature of the business, here’s a basic breakdown:
Cyber Liability Insurance
Cyber attacks and data breaches increased considerably when the majority of employees started working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a 2021 study by Tenable, Inc., 74% of organizations attribute damaging cyberattacks to vulnerabilities in technology related to employees working from home.
Cyber liability insurance comes in two forms: first-party, and third-party. First-party cyber liability insurance covers damage your company may suffer from a data breach on your own systems. Third-party cyber liability insurance protects the company if a client or customer sues you over a data breach.
If you happen to be an IT business, first-party and third-party cyber liability insurance policies can often be combined with your E&O (Technical Errors and Omissions) insurance.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance
Georgia requires businesses that employ more than three employees to carry workers’ compensation insurance, or workers’ comp. This insurance protects the company should the employee get injured while on the job. In our state, this does cover remote workers.
The injured employee must prove that the incident occurred during work hours, while they were performing a task that is within the scope of their job. In Georgia, courts tend to favor the injured employee. However, it’s important to note that an injury that occurs during a lunch or scheduled break is not covered in this state.
Additionally, there are injuries that are sustained over time instead of resulting from one occurrence, like carpal tunnel syndrome that can develop from mouse use. Ensuring your employees have a safe working environment, covered more later, plays into preventing long-term injuries like this.
Wondering about contracting COVID while on the job? Technically, illness (including COVID) does fall under workers’ comp, but a claim can be difficult to prove if it can’t be directly tied back to the company. This is one of those gray areas your insurance provider can answer specific questions on.
Commercial Property Insurance
Commercial property insurance covers property that is lost, damaged, or stolen. Business owners need to check if their policy covers business property used off site by remote workers; standard commercial property insurance only covers property on the premises of the office or workplace.
You’ll want to ensure the coverage you choose includes company-owned equipment that workers are using from home. While many employees will have homeowners insurance or renters insurance, these policies will not replace a stolen company laptop. (Some do offer a small add-on business policy.)
On a related note, if employees are using their car during business hours to visit clients or make deliveries, their auto insurance will likely not cover this. This will be a conversation to have with both your employees and insurance provider.
General Liability Insurance
General liability insurance, as the name implies, can cover a variety of claims. This insurance protects the company from damage to a third party caused by the organization or its employees, and can include anything from copyright infringement to property damage.
This is another type of insurance you’ll want to ensure extends to remote employees. As this insurance also covers bodily injury, you’d want to make sure it covers, for example, a client visiting an employee at their home who may slip and fall on a child’s toy.
A Few Other Considerations for Insurance & Working From Home
If you have remote workers who live in another state, the insurance coverage and needs may change.
Insurance needs will differ for work-at-home employees versus if you are self employed and working from home.
Employers may be required – or will want to seriously consider – to ensure employees have a safe place to work, especially if clients are visiting their home.
Additional Steps to Take & Communication, Communication, Communication
The best defense for a company when it comes to remote workers is to make certain they have a safe environment to work in, and that steps have been taken to protect company equipment and assets.
You may want to consider doing a home inspection for your remote employees, or at the very least have an IT professional set up a secure connection between the house or apartment and your company network.
All employee devices need to be as protected as possible from cyber hacking and data breaches. This includes accessing company resources through a VPN (virtual private network), having an updated antivirus program, making sure workers use strong passwords and change them regularly, and training employees on how to avoid scams and recognize phishing emails.
Other safety measures might include confirmation that wires and phone lines are safely secured out of the way of traffic, verifying there’s a working smoke detector in the home, and providing a suitable office chair that is unlikely to result in back pain over extended use.
The other aspect of managing work-from-home employees is primarily centered around communication. Have conversations with your employees to make sure you are all on the same page when it comes to what hours they are working or are on call, and what their expected availability and schedule is going to be.
Ready to Talk? Contact Us Today for Your Business Insurance Needs
Now that you have the basics on what types of insurance and other considerations you’ll need to look into for your remote workforce, get in touch with us today to get started on a customized plan.
We here at R&R Insurance Group have extensive experience with business insurance, and have worked with clients in a variety of industries. As an independent insurance broker, we maintain relationships with top carriers, and can help you find the best coverage for your company.