A small non-profit drug addiction recovery center is thrust into the headlines after an altercation between a counselor and patient.
The patient had forced her way into the counselor’s office and threatened to stab him to death. Several employees witnessed the assault. The recovery center hired outside counselors to meet with distraught employees. The center also enlisted a local public relations consultant to assist with a press release for local newspapers.
The cost of all this? More than $100,000, even though no one was actually hurt.
The above is a fictitious claims scenario but there’s no shortage of real-life workplace violence stories nowadays.
What follows is a brief guide on the types of insurance policies a business should have in place to protect the very people who make that business what it is.
Specialized Policies for Workplace Violence: Emerging Solutions
For starters, some insurers are now offering specialized policies. These can include coverage for crisis management, counseling services for employees, and public relations support to manage the aftermath of an incident.
Some of these, however, may be less comprehensive than others. That’s why these policies work best alongside the following, more traditional policies.
General Liability Insurance: Your Business's Safety Blanket
Imagine General Liability Insurance as a safety blanket that wraps around your business, offering comfort and protection. It's there to catch you and your team when the unexpected happens, turning a potential nightmare into something manageable.
General Liability Insurance typically covers bodily injuries and property damage resulting from various incidents, potentially including some forms of workplace violence. However, we’d advise you to consult with your insurance provider to understand the extent of the coverage in your general liability policy related to violent incidents.
Workers' Compensation Insurance: A Promise to Care for Your Team
When an employee is hurt due to workplace violence, it's a situation that calls for more than just financial support. Workers' Compensation Insurance is about showing your team that their health and recovery matter deeply to you. It's a tangible way of saying, "We're here for you."
This coverage can be particularly important in cases of workplace violence, as it can cover medical expenses, lost wages, and rehabilitation costs for injured employees.
The Empathy Behind EPLI
Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) isn't just about legalities; it's about understanding and addressing the worries and concerns of your team. It's a shield against the unforeseen, yes, but also a statement that you value a fair and safe workplace.
EPLI is designed to protect employers from claims made by employees. It can cover legal fees and settlements for various employment-related issues, including claims related to workplace violence, such as inadequate security or negligence in handling violent incidents.
Business Interruption Insurance: Safeguarding Business Operations
In the aftermath of a violent incident, a business may need to halt operations temporarily. Business Interruption Insurance can cover the loss of income during this period, helping the business stay afloat while it recovers.
Best Practices Beyond Insurance
While insurance is a critical component of risk management, business owners should also adopt best practices to prevent workplace violence. This includes:
- Developing a comprehensive workplace violence prevention program.
- Training employees to recognize and report signs of potential violence.
- Implementing security measures such as access controls and surveillance systems.
- Creating a supportive work environment that addresses employee concerns. This can include investing in Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) that provide employees with confidential access to counseling and support services.
Protecting a business against workplace violence requires a multifaceted approach. Investing in the right insurance policies is essential, but it should be part of a broader strategy that includes prevention, employee training, and a strong organizational culture. By taking these steps, business owners can safeguard their employees and ensure the resilience of their business in the face of potential violence.
The Mahoney Group, based in Mesa, Ariz., is one of the largest independent insurance and employee benefits brokerages in the U.S. For more information, visit our website or call 877-440-3304.
This article is not intended to be exhaustive, nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel or an insurance professional for appropriate advice.