Shipyard 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 companies 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 United States 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. It also protects the employer from claims by employees for medical bills and lost wages. USL&H is federally mandated, which means companies that fail to obtain coverage as required are subject to stiff penalties that can include fines of up to $10,000 and incarceration for a year. Even more seriously, uninsured employers and company officers may also be held personally 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 work on or with vessels on navigable waters of the United States. Accidental injuries, occupational diseases, and death arising from 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 subject to the USL&H Workers’ Compensation Act if they suffer any injuries or illness 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, each state has its own requirements. 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 USL&H coverage, 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