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Churches and religious institutions are among a group of nonprofit, faith-based organizations that often overlook a workers’ compensation policy. These organizations – specifically smaller churches – often believe that this coverage is not necessary. Although workers’ compensation insurance is not required in Texas, it is recommended that nonprofits obtain this coverage. Below are answers to common myths that clients believe about purchasing a workers’ compensation policy.
This post was written by Care Providers Insurance Services.
Myth #1: I don’t need the insurance because my employees have their own healthcare coverage.
Fact: Healthcare coverage excludes work-related injury. This leaves your clients with major gaps in their insurance coverage.
Myth #2: I am covered by my accident and health policy, employer indemnification agreement or disability policy if I get sued.
Fact: Many buy these policies as cheaper alternatives to workers’ comp. While they provide some benefits to an injured employee, Texas law does not recognize them as substitutes for workers’ comp. The “Sole Remedy” provision under the workers’ compensation law eliminates the potential for an employer to be sued for an accident covered by a workers’ compensation policy. If an employee is injured and receives benefits from an alternative policy to workers’ comp, the organization can still be sued by the injured employee.
Myth #3: The common law defense of assumed risk protects me from lawsuits.
Fact: The first common law defense that organizations use against their workers’ compensation claims is assumed risk . The assumption of risk doctrine provides that an employee who is aware or should be aware of unsafe conditions of employment assumed the risk of injury by remaining on the job and is therefore not entitled to recover damages for the loss. If an employer does not have workers’ compensation coverage, this is typically the organization’s only line of defense against a lawsuit.
An employer should not rely on the assumption of risk when deciding whether or not to purchase workers’ compensation insurance. “Non-subscribers”, or employers who choose not to purchase workers’ compensation coverage, are still required to maintain a safe environment. They must also follow certain procedures to notify their employees or volunteers that workers’ compensation coverage is not provided in their insurance. In the event of a lawsuit, the non-subscriber may be required to pay defense-related legal fees and will lose certain common-law defenses.
If your church does not currently have a Workers Compensation policy, to best protect the church and your employees, please contact us for more information or a quote.
Thank you to Care Providers for partnering with us and allowing us to share this post on our blog. You can find the original post and many more awesome resources on their blog.