by Sarah Bourdeau, Regional President, Main Street America Insurance
During the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses across the country had to pivot quickly to remote work. As we return to a new normal, many companies have embraced the benefits of a permanent work-from-home or hybrid structure. This can present challenges for both businesses and employees, including increased liability and remote working cyber security risks.
From phishing schemes to property damage, remote work can leave your business more vulnerable to pricey claims and your existing insurance policy may not be enough to ensure proper coverage. Here are a few tips for navigating the switch to remote work:
Updating Your Insurance for Remote Employees
When your workers make the switch from the office to home, it exposes the company to additional risk. While your employees likely have homeowners or renters insurance, these policies are not designed to protect against business liabilities. In fact, many policies exclude business coverage.
If you plan to have remote workers long-term, the best thing you can do is review your existing business policy to ensure your coverage includes insurance for remote employees.
Important Coverages Your Business Needs
An independent insurance agent can help you build a policy with the right protections for your business, including:
Cyber Liability Insurance
With the right coverage, cyber liability insurance can protect both your employees and your business from security threats – even if remote employees are responsible for the breach. Your cyber liability insurance covers:
- Legal costs in the event of a lawsuit
- Notification of affected customers or clients
- Fraud monitoring and identity restoration services, and more
Business Liability Insurance
General liability insurance, or business liability insurance, protects your company against many of the most common claims brought against your business, including:
- Bodily injury
- Property damage
- Claims of libel, slander and other advertising injury
Commercial Property Insurance
Onsite or at home, damage to your office equipment is one of the most common, and costly, claims you will face. Commercial property insurance can protect you in the event an employee damages company property, like laptops or other day-to-day devices.
It’s important to check with your independent insurance agent to ensure your commercial liability policy includes coverages for both in-office and remote employees.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance
In most cases, businesses are required to have workers’ compensation coverage in place, and that coverage includes remote workers. In the event of a work-related injury, your workers’ compensation insurance will cover medical bills and lost wages for affected workers.
Additional Steps You Can Take
While ensuring you have the right insurance coverage in place is one of the most important things you can do to protect your business, there are a few other steps you can take for managing remote employees including:
Ensuring a Secure Setup
Conduct a survey to ensure your employees are following health and safety protocols, including using an office space that is well lit and free of fire hazards.
Beefing Up Security
Working remotely opens your employees up to greater risk of data breaches and other cyber security threats. Ensure any employees working from home have up-to-date security software, firewalls and other protections in place to prevent a costly breach.
Focusing on Communication
Have telecommuting policies in place and ensure your remote workers know what’s expected of them. Train your staff on cyber security measures and keep in regular contact to ensure your work from home arrangement is going smoothly. If any issues pop up, resolve them quickly and give your team the tools they need to prevent future problems.
Confirming Their Coverage
While you work on your commercial policies, check that your remote employees have an up-to-date homeowners or renters insurance policy to avoid gaps in coverage that may affect your business.
Taking Time To Check-In
No matter what tools you have in place for your workforce, perhaps one of the most important things business owners and managers can do is be available and to take the time to listen to and anticipate workforce needs. Here are some things managers can do overcome or, better yet, avoid burnout and bring out the best in your team:
- Invest in an ergonomic set up for employees whether in the office or at home.
- Balance workloads and help employees set boundaries so they can better grasp a work-life balance.
- Encourage breaks and vacation time.
- Lead by example and balance your own work-life so that your employees can see that the flexibility and benefits available are not just offered — they’re encouraged.