By Lisa R. Paul, CPCU
President, CEO
Paul Hanson Partners Specialty Insurance Solutions

Several times every year, a mover calls our firm gravely concerned about a large workers’ compensation claim from a casual hire employee picked up at origin or destination. How this coverage is addressed by your insurer depends on whether the driver who arranged for the casual hire is an employee driver or owner operator so we will address this issue for both case scenarios.

Employee Driver Picks Up Casual Hire/Helper

If your employee driver picks up a casual hire/helper, then your firm is construed to be the employer and your workers’ compensation policy that includes all states coverage from an insurer that is licensed and admitted to write workers’ compensation coverage in all states, then you could be uninsured for this accident.

For example, many state workers’ compensation pools and funds will only provide coverage in the state where your permanent employees reside or where your permanent employees may be working temporarily. Specifically excluded would be temporary casual/helpers that are hired in another state. The key questions to ask your broker/insurer are:

  • Is my workers’ compensation provider licensed and admitted to write workers’ compensation in all states?

    For example, if you are a mover in California and the casual/helper was picked up and injured in Pennsylvania and your insurer does not write workers’ compensation in Pennsylvania, they will not be able to respond on your behalf to the Pennsylvania Labor Commission. The responsibility to hire an attorney and defend and pay this claim would be your company’s responsibility.

  • Does my worker’s compensation policy provide coverage in all states?

    Once that you have confirmed that your insurer can represent you and is admitted in every state to write workers’ compensation make sure that your policy confirms it. this coverage can be granted by either 1) listing in Item 3A of your workers’ compensation policy every state for which coverage applies or by including the words “All States” in the description or 2) by endorsing the policy with an “All States” coverage endorsement.

    It is very important that your workers’ compensation policy reflect these two items because most insurance brokers when asked if their clients have “All State” protection will respond with the affirmative. What they may mean is that your employee driver has coverage in all states he/she is working temporarily, not specifically that other employees picked up as casual/helpers hired in other states have coverage. Only one of the two above additions to your policy confirms that correct coverage is in place.

Employers or Owner Operators who are Domiciled in Washington, Ohio, Wyoming and North Dakota Beware!

Employers or Owner Operators who are domiciled in Washington, Ohio, Wyoming and North Dakota and have no branch locations in any other states are securing their workers’ compensation coverage from a monopolistic state fund. None of these state funds will provide coverage for casual/helpers who are hired by employee drivers or independent contractors.

If you are an employer who either is not current insured for “All States” coverage or are domiciled in one of the monopolistic state funds, there are “All States” program that can be purchased in the insurance marketplace. coverage is provided to drivers or owner operators that are qualified to haul interstate and a flat monthly premium can be charged.

Most van lines are revising their insurance requirements to assure that all agents and owner operators have correct “All States” coverage. Our firm has provided management consulting to a large number of national van lines on this issue while working to develop proper endorsements to make sure agents, owner operators and van lines are properly protected.

For more information on the CMSA Group Workers’ Compensation Plan for agents and workers’ compensation owner operators, Lisa Paul can be reached at Paul Hanson Partners Specialty Insurance Solutions at (800) 852-1968: FAX (707) 252-5905. The CMSA Group Plan the only plan in California that affords agents this All States coverage at no additional cost!