by Alison Neumann

The Importance of Longshoreman Coverage


If you own a business and work near navigable waters, it is very likely that you need Longshoreman coverage.  This coverage is for your worker’s compensation policy to protect your employees who work on or near navigable waters of the United States, including employees working in any capacity near the water.  Working near the water can include anything from loading and unloading a vessel, doing work on a vessel, repair work, construction, and much more.

The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) is similar to the Jones Act, but it was created for a different category of workers.  It came into federal law in 1927 to protect both compensation and medical benefits to any employee injured on the job while upon navigable waters of the United States.  There have been several amendments to the law since it was originally issued, but the purpose behind it remains the same.

If your business and employees do any kind of work on or near navigable waters, it is imperative you have this endorsement added to your workers compensation policy.  Not doing so will leave your business, and possibly yourself, open to very large lawsuits and fines.  If you choose not to carry this coverage and an employee suffers an injury that arises in a claim, you could be subject to a fine of up to $10,000, imprisonment of up to 1 year, or both, including lawsuits the injured worker initiates with the possibility to reach into the millions and last for decades.

At 3,288 miles, Michigan has more shoreline for navigable waters than any other state in the U.S. except for Alaska, and it has the longest freshwater coastline by far.  That gives employers innumerable opportunities for work on or near the water, requiring Longshoreman coverage on the workers compensation policy.

For precautionary means, insurance agents recommend that employers add the endorsement to their workers compensation policy on an “if any” basis for minimal or no additional premium.  To see if this is an endorsement you should have on your workers compensation policy, or for any business insurance inquiries, contact your agent today.

References:

https://www.dol.gov/owcp/dlhwc/FAQ/lsfaqs.htm#content

https://www.irmi.com/articles/expert-commentary/a-review-of-the-longshore-and-harbor-workers-compensation-act

https://www.michigan.gov/som/0,4669,7-192-26847-103397–,00.html

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