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518026300Shipyard owners are concerned with protecting their businesses from exposure to financial damage, especially in the form of lawsuits and liability issues. As part of their ongoing efforts to insulate their businesses from harm, these conscientious proprietors are checking to make sure that the firms they do business with meet all insurance coverage requirements. If your maritime business lacks the necessary USL&H coverage, you could find yourself facing the harshest of penalties – including the loss of valuable contracts, the imposition of stiff fines, and even actual jail time!

Does your business have the USL&H coverage it needs? Find out by perusing this handy guide on the key facts of Maritime Workers Compensation coverage:

USL&H Is a Requirement to Work on Board Vessels 65' or Greater in Length or at a Dock, Port, or Shipyard

USL&H, which refers to the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, was enacted to provide compensation to employees in the event of their injury or death while performing maritime work on board a vessel or at a dock, port, or shipyard on navigable waters of the United States. USL&H is federally mandated, which means companies that fail to obtain Maritime Workers Compensation coverage as required are subject to stiff penalties that can include fines of up to $10,000 and incarceration in prison for a year. Even more seriously, uninsured employers and company officers may also be held personally and severally liable for compensation and any other benefits that may accrue to an injured employee.

USL&H Is Workers' Comp Coverage for Contractors Working on/with Vessels

USL&H coverage provides benefits similar to Workers' Compensation to contractors performing any maritime work on or with vessels on navigable waters of the United States. Accidental injuries, occupational diseases, and death arising from the employee's employment are covered by Workers' Comp; similar benefits accrue to maritime employees under USL&H coverage. Even contractors’ employees who have "incidental USL&H" exposure, such as electricians, heating and AC contractors, flooring installers, and other personnel performing repairs on equipment located on a boat, are covered under Maritime Workers Compensation if they suffer any damage while performing their duties.

Shipyards Can Require USL&H Coverage for Even a Single Employee

While USL&H benefits are similar to benefits provided by Workers’ Compensation Insurance, the rules are far more stringent. Workers’ Comp is only required for businesses with four or more employees in Florida, other states may vary, including owners unless they are exempt. Contractors that fall under USL&H guidelines, however, need to provide coverage even if only one employee at their company will be performing qualifying work.

Carrying Inadequate Marine Insurance Coverage Can Be Costly

In addition to Maritime Workers Compensation benefits, MHG Insurance Brokers also provide marine general liability insurance, which protects you in the case of liability or property damages to a third party while engaged in marine related operations. Marine general liability insurance is an absolute necessity for any business providing repair or other services on vessels, as even seemingly minor damage to a boat can prove to be expensive. Now that you know the relevant details about USL&H – shipyards are checking if you have it, Federal law requires you to carry it, and there are stiff penalties for companies that do not have it - the experienced Insurance Specialists at MHG Insurance Brokers can help you obtain the USL&H policy that best suits your needs.

At MHG, we understand the unique environmental conditions of working on the sea, as well as the accompanying challenges. We strive to help marine companies find the best, most affordable marine insurance plans to suit each and every employee.

To learn more about USL&H coverage, marine general liability insurance, and other marine insurance plans, call MHG Insurance Brokers at +1 954 828 1819 or visit us online at mhginsurance.com

Does your business have the USL&H coverage it needs? Find out by perusing this handy guide on the key facts of Maritime Workers Compensation coverage:

Auditor Looking At DocumentWorkers’ Compensation, also known as Workers’ Comp, is usually one of the largest expenses for businesses. Since it is something that employers invest so much money into, it’s always a good idea to be prepared for your next audit, and make sure all of your ducks are in a row. The reason an audit is performed is to determine your Workers’ Compensation Insurance premium. Considering the outcome of the audit can result in drastic changes to your premium, you may want to follow these tips on how to prepare your business.

1. Gather all necessary records
To prepare for an audit, you will need to have all paperwork and documents ready and organized before the auditor arrives. They will most likely be looking for payroll records, federal tax reports, unemployment records, individual overtime payments, detailed job descriptions, and use of contractors and subcontractors along with certificates of insurance.

2. Make accurate payroll projections, and keep track throughout the policy year
When making payroll projections, you should try your best to be as calculated as you can be, especially if there are any class codes that apply to your operation. It’s also a good idea to monitor your projections during the policy year in order to know where you stand when the next audit comes around. To make it easy, set up quarterly reviews to compare your projections with your actual payroll.

3. Understand the breakdown of certain payrolls
Not all payrolls are the same. For example, if you employ a marine worker who spends half of their worktime on the water, that time will need to be kept separate from the time in the office because it is considered more risky. The same example can be used for a truck driver who splits time between an office, and on the road. Be sure to file the different payroll tasks by different job descriptions. Also, be sure to list overtime individually, because there is a good chance that overtime may have a discounted premium.

4. Check for certificates of insurance for any contractors or subcontractors
You will be required to show proof that any contractors or subcontractors that you hired had their own Workers’ Compensation Insurance, and were not covered by your company. It is also important to make sure all the dates are aligned for the time they worked for you. Without proper documentation, your company could be charged the premium for the contractor during the time you used them.

5. Be involved with the process
Don’t let them leave without reviewing their work and becoming aware of the impact that the audit could have on your business. Also, make sure you have looked over the worksheet the auditor will ask you to sign, and make sure to keep a copy for your records. If the worksheet has yet to be completed, don’t sign it! This helps keep all surprises down to a minimum.

Points to keep in mind

Dealing with an auditor may not be the friendliest experience. Don’t expect to make friends and go out for drinks after, they are only there to look at your payroll, get the figures they need, and leave. Also, it is good for you to know that most of the time, your insurance agent or broker isn’t involved in an audit unless there is a problem. If you don’t hear from us, don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten about you! The auditor will contact you at the end of your period whether you have renewed or not, and at that time, it is a good idea to keep your agent in the loop of the situation.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance should be a top priority for all businesses. If you would like more information on Risk Management, read our previous blog, “Risk Management: What you Need to Know About Your Insurance Policies”. If you have any questions, or are interested in purchasing Workers’ Compensation Insurance, other types of business insurance, or group health insurance for your employees, please contact us at 954-828-1819 or visit us online at mhginsurance.com. Our insurance specialists have the knowledge and experience to cover your company’s risks appropriately.

Considering the outcome of the audit can result in drastic changes to your workers' comp premium, you may want to follow these tips on how to prepare your business.

157913803Getting injured on the job is a nightmare for all parties involved. Even more so when that injury prohibits you from being able to work. That’s where workers’ compensation insurance comes in, to protect workers and employers in the event of an injury. Having a workers’ comp policy in place is even more crucial in the marine industry thanks to certain rules and regulations put in place to protect workers and those who are at risk. Depending on what category your business or work falls into, it may not be up to the business owner or decision maker to decide whether they need a workers’ comp policy. Thanks to the United States Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA also known as USL&H), those who work in the maritime industry and fall into certain categories, will have coverage that is required by the federal government, not just the state. Having peace of mind when it comes to coverage can help rid your life of the question, “What’s going to happen to me if I’m injured at work?”

What Is It?

The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act is a law that was put in place by the United States federal government to assure the coverage and minimize the impact of injuries and death for employees and their families in the marine industry. It’s no secret that those who work in the marine industry can be seen as higher risk employees due to the jobs they perform. This law requires employers to provide sufficient workers’ compensation coverage since it is often a major expense for most businesses.

What Does It Do?

The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act provides workers’ compensation for anyone working in a marina or on the water. It protects you from injury and occupational disease while on the job. Benefits are only available to those maritime employees who meet certain criteria known as a “Status” and “Situs” test.

Status Test- The Status Test is associated with the with the work that is performed by the employee. Basically, the test decides whether you are performing “maritime” work. This is important because to be eligible for benefits under the act, it must be determined that employees are performing “maritime” work for the employer.

Situs Test- The Situs Test is associated with the location that the employee has performed the work. After determining whether a worker is a maritime employee, they then must determine if the work was performed on, near, or adjacent to navigable water.

How Does This Benefit Me?

The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act gives employees to the power to file claims for injuries that happen while at the workplace. Much of workers’ comp is through state legislation, however being that this one is administered federally, you can have the option to use both your state’s system as well as the federal system, just not at the same time. The Federal Process is a lengthy one, but it’s good to know the coverage is there for when the employees need it. The state coverage can provide benefits while the federal reviews the benefits available under the USL&H laws.

Workers’ compensation insurance should be a top priority for all businesses. If you would like more information on workers’ comp or the LHWCA, or are interested in purchasing a workers’ comp policy, or any other form of property & casualty insurance, or group health insurance for your employees, please contact us at 954-828-1819 or visit us online at mhginsurance.com. Our insurance specialists have the knowledge and experience to cover your company’s risks appropriately. For more information on marine general liability, read our previous blog, “Do You Need a Maine General Liability Policy?

Having a workers’ comp policy in place is crucial in the marine industry. Read more to find out why!

175545573Many people in the insurance industry work hard to avoid the bad reputation that insurance typically carries. However, people often jump to negative conclusions about anything involving insurance. Time and time again, we come across people who have the wrong idea of what an insurance broker is and why they are actually advantageous to the consumer. We have heard they are a waste of time, waste of money, and only care about making their commission. Being a dedicated group of insurance brokers, we can tell you that those descriptions are often false! Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but when we hear information that is incorrect, it encourages us to step in. Do you know what an insurance broker does?

If you know the answer to, then you are already aware of all the benefits of using an insurance broker. If not, learn why you should be using one. Take the time to find a quality, reputable broker to work with you in fulfilling your insurance needs. Not only will it be time well spent in the beginning, but it will also serve you well for the entire time that you have insurance needs, whether you are working on a yacht or wherever your travels may take you.

Brokers Can Offer More of a Selection

One benefit of an insurance broker is the selection of policies and plans. Typically, brokers can help you select insurance from a variety of different companies. Different insurance companies offer different plans, so having access to plans from multiple companies can afford you the opportunity to find the coverage that fits you best.

Also, depending on the insurance brokerage they may sell different types of insurance, allowing you to have a one stop solution for all your insurance needs.

Brokers Do Much More Than Sell Insurance

While brokers may act as the middle man between you and the insurance company, they can be so much more than that. An insurance broker will conduct research for you, file and assist you with the claims process, and work to get you the best coverage option for your situation. Often times a broker has direct connections with decision makers at the insurance companies so you may not have to sit on a 1-800 line for a long time, only to learn someone doesn’t have the authority to help you. Brokers also know which carriers provide consistent service, allowing you to avoid companies that may not deliver the level of care that you deserve at time of claim.

We Work for You

As brokers, we do not work for any insurance company, we work for you! Our goals are to please you, and make sure all you questions and concerns are handled. If you think about it, with all the benefits of using an insurance broker, it is certainly better than just going out and buying a policy from an insurance agent. Will an agent fight for you and your best interests?

Having proper insurance is important in every aspect of life. Whether you are at sea needing international coverage, looking for proper life insurance coverage, going on a vacation, etc. MHG is your specialized broker. Our insurance specialists have the knowledge and experience to find the policy that works best for you. If you are interested in purchasing, or have any questions about marine crew insurance, travel insurance, U.S. life and health, expatriate insurance, or property and casualty, please contact us at +1 954 828 1819 or +44 (0) 1624 678668 or visit us online at mhginsurance.com. For more information on debunking insurance broker myths, read our previous blog, “Debunking 5 Myths About Insurance Brokers”.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but when we hear information that is incorrect, it encourages us to step in. Do you know what an insurance broker does?