What's the verdict on Ebola and workers' comp? We've gathered a roundup of what industry leaders are saying on this topic, as well as broader insurance issues. While Ebola and workers comp claims might be a relatively negligible issue, the larger issue of protecting workers from infectious disease is always one worth considering. Plus, there are other ways that Ebola may impact the business environment in general and business insurance specifically: business travel, supply chain disruptions, business interruptions, liability, malpractice and new coverage options, to name a few considerations.
Workers at highest risk would be health care and humanitarian workers in the countries most directly affected, Here in the U.S., hospital staff, public health personnel, humanitarian workers and first responders would be on the front lines for any additional outbreaks. Other workers with potential exposure might include waste disposal workers, cleaning staff, morticians, laboratory researchers and scientists, airline workers and business travelers.
Before we look at some of the insurance and prevention considerations, a little perspective from Vox by way of a brief and compelling video.
But remember, when you scare people enough, facts don't always matter. Case in point: A Maine teacher who was placed on leave after visiting Dallas -- even though she had no contact whatsoever with anyone associated with the Ebola outbreak. Journalist Maryn McKenna logs more Ebola overreactions under the category of Ebolanoia on her blog "Further Adventures of Germ Girl." (Her articles on Ebola at Wired at worth following.)
Ebola, Workers Comp & Other Insurance Considerations
Christopher J. Boggs of Insurance Journal takes a nuts & bolts look at the two-part litmus test of compensability under workers comp and how Ebola claims would stack up in Is Ebola Compensable Under Workers' Compensation?
Dave DePaolo looks at Ebola & Work Comp and expresses concern about our capacity to handle an outbreak, noting that "If ever there was a situation where there should be no distinction between workers' compensation medical treatment and general health, the current Ebola situation is it. Delivery of medical care in workers' compensation is just fine for broken bones, even for something like black lung disease.
The way medical care in workers' compensation is delivered creates a real, and significant, national health problem when confronted with a potential pandemic like Ebola."
Katie Siegel of Risk & Insurance says that although risk to US health care workers remains low, an Ebola outbreak could pose a workers' comp risk to the industry: Ebola's Impact on the Health Care Industry
MARSH offers an overview of Six Types of Insurance Coverage That May Apply to Ebola, with workers' comp at the top of the list.
Dr. Steven N. Weisbart, CLU discusses the insurance industry ramifications of the spread of the Ebola virus, from life/health implications to property/casualty in Insurance Information Institute: Facts and Perspectives on the Ebola Pandemic .
Logan Payne of Lockton has issued a whitepaper, Ebola Outbreak: Risk Management and Insurance Considerations. He looks at the real impact on companies with operations in the affected areas: "...oil and gas operators, mining companies, and humanitarian aid organizations as well as those who rely on the raw materials or commodities in the area. The outbreak of Ebola has caused curfews to be enforced in countries like Liberia as well as voluntary evacuation of employees by many companies, causing work sites and retail locations to completely cease operation. Global supply chains have been disrupted as ports and borders are partially or completely closed, and companies across Western Africa have closed their doors. In general, many companies have seen an abrupt halt in productivity coupled with a rise in prices for many critical services in countries like Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea."
Melissa Hillebrand of PropertyCasualty360 offers a list of what you may not know ib 30 Ebola facts that will make you cringe, plus 7 ways to manage the risk. She covers how how the Ebola virus impacts economies and supply chains, insurance issues including evacuation, exposures and policy exclusions, and what you and your companies can do to prevent and control Ebola risk.
Arthur D. Postal of Property Casualty 360 looks at what Ebola will mean for the P&C industry over the long term.
At Business Insurance, Douglas McLeod says that Ace excludes Ebola claims for some new and renewal general liability policies. Sarah Vesey discusses new insurance coverage options related to Ebola: Brokers launch business interruption cover for Ebola, other pandemics
Related: Ebola: Insurance's new way to deal with an outbreak and Businesses wrestle with insurance in Ebola's wake
Joe Palazzola of the Wall St Journal Lawblog explains why Ebola suits against Texas Hospital likely wouldn't be easy to win.
Thomas Benjamin Huggett of Littler looks at The Ebola Exposure: U.S. Workplace Considerations
Michael Oliver Eckard and Jean Kim of Ogletree Deakins discuss Emerging Concerns for Healthcare Facilities and Employers
General Information on Ebola
Facts, FAQs, signs & symptoms, transmission, prevention, treatment, clinical guidance, updates & more
WHO: Ebola Virus Disease
Here's how you can (and can't) get Ebola
15 charts, maps, and photos that explain the Ebola outbreak
Worker Health & Safety
National Institutes on Health: Ebola Virus Disease: Information for U.S. Healthcare Workers
NYCOSH: Essential Information for Aircraft Cabin Cleaners and Cargo Handlers
NIH: Guidance for Safe Handling of Human Remains of Ebola Patients in U. S. Hospitals and Mortuaries
CDC: Health care workers: Could it be Ebola?
CDC: Detailed Hospital Checklist for Ebola Preparedness
MA Nursing Association- Ebola: Screening and Managing a Patient While Protecting Yourself
WHO: Ebola Virus Disease: Occupational Safety and Health - joint WHO/ILO briefing note for workers and employers
NYCOSH: Essential Information for Workers
Ebola Medical Waste Management
Travel health notices
Infectious Diseases Related To Travel
In closing, Josh Cable of EHS Today reminds us that risk is relative. He offers a gallery of Safety and Health Threats that Are Deadlier than Ebola