Do Employers Have Insurance For Sexual Harassment And Sexual Assault?

Thanks in part to the ever-present #MeToo movement, the number of public cases against high-profile defendants accused of sexual harassment or sexual assault has grown exponentially over the past few years. Perhaps this is why we have received so many inquiries from readers who want to know whether or not large companies and corporations can buy insurance to protect themselves from the unwanted sexual advancements of their employees.

The answer is yes.

This will leave a foul taste in some people’s mouths, but for anything that can affect a business’s profits there is an insurance clause to cover it. There are a few different types of insurance that covers claims for sexual harassment or assault, such as an employment practices liability insurance policy (EPLI). Another possible avenue of protection is basic liability policy for directors and officers (D&O).

Not every claim will result in compensation — because the facts matter. Allegations of harassment or assault must meet the definitions provided by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). According to this definition, sexual harassment is indicative of “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment, unreasonable interferes with an individual’s work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.”

We should make a few aspects of such a case clear based on this definition. First, the harassment or assault must be proved by factual evidence. Mere allegations are not enough. 

Vice President Marie-France Gelot of Lockton Northeast wrote, “Whether or not a claimant is able to actually make a case proving that sexual harassment occurred, the reality is that the bulk of liability faced by companies accused of such conduct is not generated after a jury trial. It is generated by attorneys’ fees in litigation, win or lose. In the current environment, this is a critical point; any perceived harassment can result in six-figure liability for a company, regardless of whether a judge or jury would ultimately find the harassment unlawful.”

That means that companies still pick up insurance simply based on the fact that a mere allegation can cost many hundreds of thousands of dollars — even if actual evidence of misconduct does not exist. This is in part due to the fact that any lawsuit will likely involve attorney’s fees for the other side, and a sexual abuse attorney can be pricey for a victim. 

Those seeking insurance — or those seeking damages for sexual harassment or assault — should remain keenly aware that the national conversation on this type of abuse is ongoing and that rapid-fire changes to laws in jurisdictions around the country and the world remain constant. That means that insurance adjusters are more likely than not to continue adjusting policies to reduce the possibility of collection from either side (because insurance only works properly if insurance companies cover aspects of everyday life that don’t often result in a good case). 

Gelot confirmed as much when she said, “It remains to be seen if EPLI insurers will react to the momentous changes occurring in the national conversation on sexual harassment in the workplace by limiting the scope of the coverage or making it more expensive.”

What Happens If You Don’t Have Insurance While In Quarantine?

There is a small amount of good news that has come out in the last few weeks: if you get tested for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, you won’t be charged. However, if you test positive — it’s bad news whether you have insurance or not. Those with insurance can expect to pay thousands in out-of-pocket premiums, deductibles, copay, etc. Those without insurance can expect to pay tens of thousands in medical costs.

In other words, failing to procure insurance during this dangerous viral outbreak could cost you your livelihood. With millions of Americans already filing for unemployment benefits, we can expect that the number of insured will plummet. If you haven’t already started to see the economic cost of COVID-19, then you will soon.

There’s another small piece of almost-good news. President Trump is considering opening Obamacare applications during the outbreak. Although he’s doing this even as his administration sends the ACA to the Supreme Court to rule on whether or not the law is constitutional. He’s doing everything in his power to dismantle one of the greatest financial remedies to this crisis. 

It’s almost as if the world is screaming for him to stop.

Coupled with the news that President Trump wants to lift restrictions for travel and businesses as soon as possible, and it’s not difficult to see the writing on the wall: America is in for a world of hurt.

There are few legal remedies available to you when you cannot afford insurance in this time of crisis, whether it be health, home, or car insurance. Do your best to find coverage. If you can’t, then apply for unemployment and wait for the government to send you a check or two. Give a qualified insurance or employment lawyer a call to see if there are any obvious legal resolutions for your individual situation.

Did your boss fire you because you were sick?

Did someone purposely infect you with the virus?

Do you blame your employer for failing to take the right safety precautions?

Were you forced to work while sick?

All of these provide you with limited options for compensation, but at least they exist. There will be tens of thousands — or potentially even millions — of lawsuits in the coming months and years due to the coronavirus outbreak and the likely global recession that follows. We will do everything in our power to make you whole again. But first we need to hear your story!

Insurance Litigation Expected To Surge Because Of Coronavirus

Many victims of coronavirus have been subjected to isolated treatment — and not always by choice. More often, quarantine situations are mandatory actions as a matter of course. But survivors of the novel sickness have begun to receive their bills. And when you were forced into isolated treatment, you might not actually expect a bill. This has left a lot of people asking whether or not insurance will cover treatment.

And for those of us who practice insurance law, different questions arise: will the number of new insurance cases skyrocket because people receive bills for treatment they didn’t actually want. 

Keep this in mind: the American system of medicine is steeped in choice. If you need treatment, you choose to go get it. Don’t have the money? Don’t want to risk a big bill? Many people avoid the hospital. But when someone screams “coronavirus” they don’t have a choice. They receive treatment whether they like it or not. Those who don’t have enough insurance are still subject to the insane costs of long-term care. That means new lawsuits are coming.

And that’s just health insurance!

A shocking number of Americans have already canceled international travel plans because of the spread of the virus, which is quickly spiraling out of control. Many didn’t have a choice in the matter, because of increased travel restrictions and bans to and from places like China. That means that people will also have questions and concerns about whether travel insurance will cover their broken travel plans. 

Most coverage isn’t absolute. That’s the point of insurance, after all. You’re paying a third-party to protect you from something, but that third party has only one job, really: to tell you no when you come calling.

That’s why it’s so important to read up on the insurance plan you want to buy. If you don’t see the word “pandemic” in the insurance agreement, you might be out of luck.

What’s covered? Generally, you won’t be covered by your travel insurance when the airline decides to cancel one of their flights. Usually, though, an airline will reimburse you whenever they remove a flight from the roster. It pays to check. Reimbursement might not include travel booked on the other end of the flight, though.

If you’re the one choosing to cancel your trip, then you’re almost never covered.

However, if you contract the virus or some other sickness, you’re almost always covered. If you’re put in quarantine, then you’re almost always covered — even if you never come down with the sickness. 

All insurance plans have limits and exclusions, so discuss them with the provider whenever something gets in the way of travel plans. All else aside, you might benefit from calling an insurance lawyer for help.

Do Undocumented Immigrants Really Get Free Health Insurance? What Does It Cost You And Me?

Many 2020 Democratic contenders for the presidency have endorsed plans to provide healthcare and insurance benefits to all Americans — and all undocumented immigrants who are already living in the country, legally or not. No, they don’t already have free health insurance. But the cost of providing them healthcare on the taxpayers dime would certainly be “expensive” depending on your frame of reference, what plan you’re using, and how many people enroll.

The Republican argument is simple: they’re against nearly all entitlements across the board regardless of whether they’re going to actual United States citizens or undocumented immigrants. According to them, giving out freebies will make people less likely to contribute in the future. They also contend that the free “handouts” will lure immigrants into the country who wouldn’t otherwise want to come.

Many arguments that can only be seen as scare tactics have suggested that our population could double or even triple if such laws were to go into effect, and of course they contend that America can’t possibly pay for it. But that’s not true, either.

For most Americans, the argument holds quite a lot of weight — but it’s never held much truth. There’s an incredibly strong stigma surrounding those who survive on handouts. In general, those who rely on help from the government really do need that help. Few people actually choose to live that way for no reason, and the government severely restricts handouts to further reduce the number of those who do.

But of course increasing the number of people who are entitled to free healthcare (no one is yet), would increase the costs of those programs. According to the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), there are about 4.9 million undocumented immigrants living “below 400 percent of the poverty threshold.” They don’t have access to insurance.

Were they given access to programs, taxpayers would pay at least $10 billion per year according to CIS. At the high end of the spectrum, it could cost $23 billion per year.

To put big numbers we cannot even comprehend into perspective, the 2019 U.S. federal budget requested expenditures of $4.407 trillion. Over $693 billion of that is discretionary spending that goes to the military. Much of all spending is mandatory, but well under half is based on discretion. Over half of that goes to the military (not including veterans’ benefits). Other big pieces of the discretionary pie are government, education, healthcare, housing, and international affairs.

But none of those programs come close to costing as little as what we would pay to expand what Democrats see as universal human rights toward undocumented immigrants. And here’s another aspect to consider: the amount we provide individuals and companies in tax breaks slightly exceeds all discretionary spending. Stop giving out tax breaks — and suddenly the United States would see a budget surplus once again.

Health Insurance Rate Drops Among Americans For First Time In A Decade

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the number of uninsured Americans has risen since Obamacare was introduced a decade ago. The number of uninsured went from 7.9 percent to 8.5 percent in 2017 and 2018. That means about 2 million more people are now without health insurance thanks to the Trump administration’s relaxed regulations and gutting of previous Obamacare laws.

Also relevant, this is the first time uninsured rates have increased since the recession hit hardest during 2008 and 2009. It’s important to note because the economy is continuing to grow, while the unemployed and poverty rates continue to fall. In 2018, about 27.5 million people went without health insurance. The number will likely grow during Trump’s presidency. Even with years of inflation, the median household income is staying the same.

Some have attributed the increasing rate of uninsured to the repeal of Obamacare’s health insurance mandate, which penalized those who went without with a stiff fine. Other critics say that the law didn’t really motivate anyone to seek health insurance anyway.

One of the more concerning aspects of this increased rate of uninsured is the children who fall within that statistic. According to Census data points, about a million young people aged 18 and younger are now without insurance compared to the same time two years ago.

Joan Alker, the executive director of the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, said: “Prior to the Trump administration assuming office, reducing the number of uninsured children was a national success story. Unless things change immediately, this progress is at risk — and our children and their families will pay the price.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “President Trump’s cruel health care sabotage has left two million more people without health insurance, forced to live in constant fear of an accident or injury that could spell financial ruin for their families.”

Some analysts believe that Trump’s “public charge” rule is also compelling immigrants to stop seeking coverage or drop coverage they already have, rather than risk being deported from the United States because they need help.

The Kaiser Family Foundation’s Rachel Garfield explained, “We’ve heard a lot of anecdotal reports and even started to see some data that either immigrant families are declining to renew their coverage or not enrolling.”

The Trump administration has sought to reduce Obamacare standards by approving Medicaid work requirements in nine states to reduce the number of people who are eligible. 18,000 people in Arkansas lost their Medicaid in 2018 as a result of Trump’s changes. More states will see the new regulations go into effect soon.

Flood Insurance Rates Rising Under Trumps Plan

The Trump Administration intends to roll out a new way to calculate flood risk in the next comings weeks under the National Flood Insurance Program which could cause flood insurance premiums to rise and property values to fall. Instead of focusing on whether or not a property is inside or outside of the 100-year flood plain, FEMA plans to use private sector data to calculate the “real” flood threat for each home and set the costs of flood insurance based on that data.

The change can be a good and bad thing for homeowners. On one hand, it would be the first real major advancement to improve the understanding of flood risk giving homeowners a proper evaluation of the likelihood of a flood in their home. On the other hand, communities that weren’t in the flood zone or near the flood zone could be facing the need to have flood insurance by the government. An unexpected cost that many families might not be able to handle.

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) currently covers 5 million people as of 2017. Even with the increase in flooding due to climate change, that’s 10% lower than properties covered in 2009. The House Committee on Financial Services will hold a hearing tomorrow on reauthorizing the NIFP. In 2012, the government tried to reform NIFP but failed to do so after a public outcry. The reason for the reform is that claims often outpaced premiums which caused the NIFP to have a debt of $30 billion in 2017. The current model that determines rates do not take into consideration flooding from intense rainfall. The new risk assessment system will take things like that under consideration when determining rates.

The goal is to have more transparent rates so people will get insurance coverage. The impact on what this will have on property values has yet to be seen but it will be interesting once the new premiums roll out.

Why Is Having Life Insurance So Important?

As you age, you start to understand the increased importance of having life insurance. No matter how well you have planned for your financial future with Lenzo and Reis, New Jersey Employment Attorneys, you cannot sufficiently prepare for unexpected death without proper life insurance coverage.

1. Protect Your Loved Ones.

The main reason you are going to want to adequately prepare for an unexpected death by getting life insurance for yourself is to properly protect your loved ones. If your loved ones are relying on you for their financial support, it is going to be absolutely necessary to get the right life insurance coverage. This is particularly important if you have young children that rely on your financial support because they will be vulnerable if something were to happen to you and you could no longer provide for them. Additionally, it is equally important for those families that might find it difficult to sustain a certain standard of living if one of the partner’s incomes disappeared overnight.

2. Leave More For Your Children.

Another big reason you would want to consider investing in something like life insurance is to provide a greater inheritance for your children. Being able to leave an inheritance for your children is one of the main reasons you would want to purchase a life insurance policy. By naming your children as beneficiaries, you will be able to help them secure a better future for themselves if something were to happen to you. This alone is going to allow your children to have a much more stable financial future which can really help them in the long run.

3. Avoid Being a Burden.

If you are someone that has a lot of debt, you are going to want to be sure to invest in the proper life insurance coverage to adequately cover them. Otherwise, any debts that you might have are going to be forced on to your family. You don’t want to leave a financial burden on your family if at all possible. By getting adequate coverage that is going to sufficiently cover any and all debts that you might have once you die, you should be able to alleviate the burden of debt. Along with this, your death is going to come with a lot of foreseen and unforeseen expenses including but not limited to burial expenses, funeral costs, and more. Thus, you will want to be sure that you have the proper insurance coverage that can help cover all of the expenses.

Overall, there are plenty of reasons you will want to make the investment in life insurance. Not only is it going to help reduce the financial burden on your family, but it can help you set up your children for a better and much more secure financial future. If you have a family, there is absolutely no reason to go without proper life insurance coverage with the affordable options available to choose from.

Everything You Didn’t Know Was Covered By Homeowners Insurance

Sometimes it can seem like insurance is a silly creation only meant to make businessmen a lot of money. Maybe it is, and maybe it does. Other times it can come in quite handy, and not always in the situations you think. Here are a few uncommon–but (sometimes) helpful–situations in which you might be covered by your homeowners’ insurance!

 

  • Space Shuttles. If you survive an emergency space shuttle landing or the debris from a lost vehicle high above, then your homeowners’ insurance has you covered. You’ll be able to grab a hotel and eat on the dime of your insurance company, so don’t let these unlikely scenarios get you down. You’re also protected from blimp and helicopter accidents. And other homes.
  • Bikes. You have to opt-in to this kind of coverage. If you do, your bike is protected up to 3,000 miles from your home. In other words, if you take your bike on vacation in the states, chances are you can get a replacement if it’s stolen. The same kind of coverage protects you from lost luggage.
  • Dogs. Depending on the breed, your homeowners’ insurance will cover a family-owned dog bite. Considering these attacks are relatively commonplace, this is definitely one to keep in mind.
  • Accidents. You can be held personally liable for accidents that affect a neighbor’s property, but your homeowners insurance will likely help pay medical, funeral, and legal expenses incurred as a result. A tree in your yard might have fallen on their house, but at least you won’t have to pay for it.
  • Children. Kids are also sort of treated as if they fall under the accident clause. If your children haven’t reached thirteen-years-old, then any damage they cause to your property is covered by your insurance. Who knew?
  • Children, again. If your kids are in college, chances are they’re going to have to deal with stolen property sooner or later. It happens. The good news is this: your homeowners’ insurance covers that property.
  • Stones. Not the normal kind, but the graveyard kind. If someone vandalized a family grave away from home, you’re still covered for thousands of dollars of damage. Another one to remember.

 

The list goes on, so do some research when looking over your homeowners’ insurance policy. Take advantage when you can!

 

How A DUI Impacts Your Insurance

Being pulled over for a DUI requires that you call a DUI defense attorney immediately. However, if you are convicted of a DUI, there are several repercussions ranging from losing our license, breathalyzer installation. Yet, one thing that many are not prepared for is how immensely your car insurance will be impacted by this conviction.

Most states require to fill out a form known as an SR-22 with the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles. This form gets sent to your insurance. They then usually classify you as a high-risk driver or chose to drop you completely, even if you have no prior accidents or anything else on your driving record. When you are moved to a high-risk policy, insurance can double sometimes triple its rates.

Depending on what state that you live in, a DUI can stay on your driving record from 3 to 7 years making switching auto policies almost impossible. Keep in mind the infraction will stay on your criminal record forever.

In the event that you get into an accident while you are driving under the influence, you can be dropped from the policy as well. It depends on which liability coverage you had but most insurance companies believe that DUI is intentional not accident and are probably not even covered under your insurance.

 

Travel Insurance From Your Credit Card Provider

When most people think about the rewards associated with owning a credit card, they imagine reward points, cashback, and air miles. Did you know, however, that many credit cards now come with free travel insurance? When you use those cards to pay for trips, not only do you earn points and air miles, you also get free complimentary travel insurance coverage. The insurance typically covers lost luggage claims and the cost of medical treatment in the event of an illness or accidental injury.

Perhaps one of the most popular cards for seasoned international travelers is the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card. When the card is used to pay for travel costs, spenders can enjoy lots of benefits including a reimbursement of up to $10,000 in the event that a trip has to be canceled due to unforeseen circumstances. The card also provides up to $500 of cover for travel delays and cover for lost or stolen baggage. Furthermore, the travel insurance benefits extend to a cardholder’s immediate family members, even when the main cardholder is not the one traveling. Unfortunately, the card does have a steep annual fee of $450, so you need to be a frequent traveler in order to justify the fee.

The Citi Prestige credit card is another card that is popular with frequent travelers. It providers baggage delay cover of up to $500 per traveler. Make sure you read the terms and conditions carefully, as the insurance benefits do not cover items purchased during the trip.

The American Express Platinum credit card is arguably the best card for providing medical emergency insurance cover during a trip abroad. A cardholder can call the Premium Global Assistance Hotline at any time during their trip if they require medical attention. The hotline team will coordinate medical evacuation from the site of injury or illness. Falling seriously ill while overseas is one of many international travelers’ biggest fears, as the cost of international healthcare can be thousands of dollars. The Platinum Card From Amex offers travelers peace of mind.

So, before you book your next travel plans, make sure you check whether any of the credit cards you already have offer free travel insurance. If none of them do, it might be worth applying for a new credit card that does. A benefit like this could help you to save a lot of money when it comes to obtaining insurance for your international travel. What’s more, some of the best credit cards also offer zero fees on all foreign currency transactions.