On behalf of everyone at Austin & Co. we want to extend our warm thoughts and support during this difficult time. We hope that everyone in our community, and their loved ones, remain safe and healthy.
The insurance considerations relating to COVID-19 are changing almost daily. Below are some important updates relating to educational institutions. We are available for phone or video conference on any of these topics. Please let us know if we can support your institution in any way.
Commercial Automobile Lay-up Credits
Some carriers are offering “lay up credits”, knowing that school vehicles are generally out of use for an extended period. Each insurance company has their own criteria, but if your school is no longer operating a given auto, a credit can be applied to your premium charge. Please contact your Commercial Client Service Representative or Commercial Account Executive for more information. Note that we will need to collect a listing of the applicable vehicles and some additional information.
Remote Professional Services
If your school continues to deliver services that include those offered by credentialed practitioners (including nurses, psychologists, speech pathologists, occupational therapists, social workers, and trainers), then please note there are some considerations. Importantly, the malpractice insurance provided by your program is traditionally limited to “in school” and “person to person” dialogue. Traditionally, the coverage does not extend to remote or out-of-school services. The carriers have agreed to some temporary concessions, but those concessions for remote work are carefully limited. For example, it may be necessary to limit your staff to working by video conference or another visual medium. The coverage often does not extend for remote work provided by audio only (phone call) services.
Schools that plan to take advantage of remote professional services should take care to have proper controls including HIPAA compliance, acknowledgements and signed waivers (perhaps with an electronic signature).
Workers’ Compensation Payroll Levels
Your Workers Compensation premium is based upon an estimated payroll that you provided for your current policy. That figure is then adjusted retroactively using an audit process. If your school has reduced staff, or expects to do so during this policy term – you may wish to reduce that estimated payroll amount. If you have remaining premium installments, then the installment amounts would be reduced. Otherwise the audit process will reduce your retroactive costs. In addition, we encourage you to carefully consider the estimated payroll that you wish to use for the upcoming renewal term.
Premium Payment Flexibility
In cooperation with The New York Department of Financial Services, the insurance carriers are now offering more flexible payment and installment terms. You will receive additional electronic correspondence from our firm and from your insurance carriers. In most cases, it is possible to arrange more installments and more time to pay. Contact your Commercial Client Representative or Commercial Account Executive for more details.
This topic has been intensely reviewed by regulators and government at large. Both Federal and NY State governments are considering legislative or other actions that may provide some relief to your loss of income due to COVID-19. There are some proposals that would direct the carriers to make payment for policyholders that incur new temporary expenses, or if those parties have an interruption in revenue. The bills are in their early stages, but they appear to be gaining traction. We will continue to provide updates on any coverage available. You will also receive a mailing from your insurance carrier that explains how your coverage does/does not currently apply.
If you have any questions, please contact your Austin & Co. commercial representative directly or complete the contact us form.
Austin & Co., Inc. is not responsible for the content, guidance, views, opinions, statements, offers, or other material provided by third-party websites or applications made accessible via the services provided hereunder that are not owned or controlled by Austin & Co., Inc. Austin & Co., Inc. has no control over, and assumes no responsibility for the products, services, content, privacy policies or practices of any third-party website regardless of the subject matter. Austin & Co., Inc. does not warrant or represent that any content is compliant with federal, state or local laws and regulations. Austin & Co., Inc. does not endorse, is not responsible for, and makes no representations or warranties regarding, such content or its accuracy, provider ability or fitness for any particular purpose, and Austin & Co., Inc. shall not be liable for any harm resulting from or in connection with reliance on any such content, including, but not limited to, claims for discrimination, labor or employment law violations, imposition of penalties, ERISA or tax violations, HIPAA violations, fraud, or misrepresentation.