COVID-19 Insurance Bulletin - Insurance Centers, Inc. Skip to main content
Insurance

COVID-19 Insurance Bulletin

By January 22, 2021No Comments
Dear Commercial Clients,

 

This week, James Dodrill, WV Insurance Commissioner, communicated guidance regarding COVID-19 Workers’ Compensation Claims. While many businesses are not thinking about COVID-19 as a workplace injury, Dodrill informs us that it is categorized as an occupational disease.

 

From his bulletin dated January 19, 2021 and sent to agencies on January 21, 2021, the following information is highlighted:

 

  • Per WV Code § 23-4-1, every employee who works for companies required to insure for workers’ compensation liabilities has six (6) months from the date of injury, or death, to file a claim. However, employees are encouraged to give written notice as soon as possible after an occupational injury occurs.

 

  • Per WV Code §85-1-3.1, claimants should (1) seek necessary medical care; (2) immediately on the occurrence of the injury or as soon as practicable thereafter give or cause to be given to the employer or any of the employer’s agents a written notice of the occurrence of the injury; and (3) file a workers’ compensation claim or request that one be filed on his or her behalf.

 

  • It is the duty of every employer to report every injury, including claims of occupational disease, within five (5) days of the employer’s receipt of notice from the employee.

 

  • Insurers or self-insured employers are to use due diligence to timely investigate the claim pursuant to WV law to determine compensability of the claim.

 

  • Insurers and self-insured employers will investigate claims for COVID-19 to determine if the injury occurred in the course of and resulting from employee’s covered employment. Employers may not conduct causation investigations until a claim has been processed.

 

  • Employers may not advise employees that they cannot file workers’ compensation claims for COVID-19 and/or threaten retaliation or discrimination. Employers are reminded that employees may not be terminated while off work due to workers’ compensation disease. Employers are reminded that employees may not have their medical insurance decreased or canceled while on workers’ compensation.