Working near the water has its own set of exposures for a business to deal with. The United States Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation (USL&H) act is essential for businesses running projects near the water. In a previous post, we discussed when the coverage is necessary: dock builders, marine contractors, ship repairers and other marine businesses will need this coverage. In fact, USL&H insurance is actually required in some instances; long story short, if you’re operating near the water, your general workers’ compensation insurance isn’t going to give your clients the coverage that they need.

If you aren’t sure about what USL&H entails, have no fear. This blog is going to break down the USL&H act for you. With USL&H, this is what to expect.

What Happens When You Fail to Have Coverage

According to this particular act, every maritime employer should have this coverage through someone authorized through the U.S. Department of Labor. If not, they need to have a note saying that they are allowed to self-insure. If a business fails to have this coverage in place, getting fined $10,000 is just one of the things that’s going to unfortunately happen.

If there’s an injured employee or a death that happens, that business is going to be held at fault for the accident. In this case, the business would not be able to claim as a defense that this was caused through a fellow servant; simply put, the employer is entirely liable, be it the president, secretary or treasurer, along with the corporation as a whole. On top of a $10,000 fine, it’s also possible to get up to a year of jail time. A $300,000 workers compensation loss can quickly turn into a $3 million liability loss, leaving corporate officers to defend themselves. This is why it’s so important to make sure that the employer and employees are both equally covered.

USL&H Coverage Jurisdiction

It doesn’t have to be hard to tell when a claim falls under the jurisdiction of USL&H insurance. Here’s some key factors that’ll help any insurance agent and business know what this coverage is based upon:

  1. If an injury or death resulting from an accident occurs in the United States navigable waters or an adjoining pier, wharf, dry dock, terminal, building way, marine railway or other adjoining areas used for loading, unloading, repairing dismantling or building a vessel, then it’s covered by USL&H.
  2. Any person performing maritime employment and is not specifically excluded from Longshore Act coverage is covered. This includes those engaged in longshore operations such as winch operators, hold workers, marine clerks, dock workers, forklift operators and warehouse workers that are an integral part to the loading and unloading process. Harbor workers are also covered such as ship builders, ship repairers, pile drivers and other maritime workers involved in construction or sewers.

About Merrimac Marine Insurance

At Merrimac Marine, we are dedicated to providing insurance for the marine industry to protect your clients’ business and assets. For more information about our products and programs, contact our specialists today at (800) 681-1998.