As businesses have navigated the COVID-19 pandemic over the course of 2020, many were forced to shift to a remote workforce temporarily. As the pandemic continues, employers and employees have adjusted to this new way of working, and many companies are now considering shifting to this model permanently. This change can provide many benefits, including reduced overhead, increased communication, improved employee satisfaction, and reduced carbon footprint. However, there are impacts to risk exposure as well.
Companies considering a long-term remote workforce strategy should review their insurance policies to identify any gaps or coverage issues. Below are 3 significant areas of insurance coverage to consider:
- Cyber Insurance
With employees working on individual home networks as opposed to one central network in the office, a company is more exposed to cyber hacks and privacy issues, which have only increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the past, many companies have relied on limited cyber coverage within their traditional business policies, however companies moving to a permanent remote workforce should consider purchasing dedicated cyber insurance. Cyber policies typically insure against a company’s losses and its liability to third parties resulting from a failure or breach of network security, and can be configured to include personal devices (like employee-owned cell phones, tablets and laptops) as well.
- General and Employers’ Liability Insurance
With a typical workforce, employers’ liability insurance generally covers employees or contractors who are injured at the workplace or on a jobsite. Companies whose workforce is now remote should review their policy to ensure that their coverage aligns with their definition of “covered workers” in their respective “workplaces”.
- Property Insurance
Typically, property insurance covers locations that a company owns or rents, as well as property within those locations, including computers and the valuable data housed on them. However, coverage usually limits or excludes property outside those locations—which can be an issue when the workforce is using these property items in their homes or other locations. Companies transitioning to a permanent remote workforce should review their property insurance to ensure that they have adequate coverage under new working conditions.
As remote working quickly becomes the new normal for many businesses, its important to consider new exposure to risk, and review, modify, and supplement your insurance coverage to mitigate this risk. If you have any questions on this matter, leave a comment below, or feel free to contact me directly. I’m happy to help!