Our Response to COVID-19
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) continues to affect many regions of the world and the full impact of this virus is still unfolding.
AF Group and our brands are committed to taking proactive measures to safeguard employees, customers and others we interact with from the spread of serious illness such as COVID-19, and we continue to monitor the situation and stay abreast of guidance offered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Collectively, we are working to ensure our business remains fully prepared to respond to ensure the health and safety of our agents, customers and injured workers.
Below are several commonly asked questions and resources that will assist you in understanding our response to this unprecedented situation.
For Our Policyholders:
Preparing Your Business
As the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak continues to spread and attract significant media and public attention, we want to provide you with assurance that, as your workers’ compensation provider, we are working diligently to ensure we are prepared to conduct business without interruption during this evolving health situation.
Helping to protect your business and employees is our highest priority, and that’s why we encourage you prepare for COVID-19 (and other potential health risks) by:
- Making sure your business continuity plans are in place to cover any challenges presented by potential large-scale disruptions (including review of work-from-home and travel policies)
- Reviewing best practices related to preparing and maintaining a healthy work environment, such as this information provided by the World Health Organization
- Monitoring the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the latest information on the status, progression and prevention of COVID-19
While the full outcome of this situation is yet unknown, we are confident that together, we can each do our part to protect our workplaces and keep employees safe and healthy.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve your business.
Submitting a Claim
As the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak continues to spread, we’ve started receiving an increased number of inquiries regarding work-related COVID-19 claims. Because coverage varies with workers’ compensation statutes from state-to-state, any case reported would be evaluated based on the specific details/circumstances before determining if the claim was compensable.
Our recommendation is that all potential work-related COVID-19 claims be submitted so our claim representatives can investigate them properly. We have implemented our infectious disease claim handling protocols and compensability will be based on the investigation and fact pattern of each claim, including:
- The individual facts and merits of the actual claim (non-hypothetical)
- The individual workers’ compensation statutes and case law of the specific state
- Any further direction from a political entity
It’s important to note that no one factor will determine whether an COVID-19-related illness is compensable – all reported cases will be evaluated individually. If a claim is reported, but is closed with no applicable claim costs, it will not impact the workers’ compensation premium or experience modifier.
Thank you, as always, for your continued partnership as we work together to keep workplaces safe.
With the continuing spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and subsequent closure of many businesses, we understand that some of our customers will struggle to make timely premium and/or audit payments. As your insurance partner, we want to provide the assurance that we will work with our policyholders to accommodate requests regarding payments or non-pay cancellations.
We are taking several steps to assist in these situations. First, we are suspending all non-pay cancellation actions for 60 days, beginning Monday, March 23, 2020. This should provide respite from financial obligations for businesses especially hurt by reduced business. Additionally, we are committed to working with our policyholders who need to reduce payrolls on a temporary basis. We will also offer payment options for policyholders struggling to make recent audit payments.
Agents are encouraged to contact us — or policyholders can contact us directly — to make arrangements or exceptions, if this becomes necessary. We will review each exception on an individual basis and work with the agent and policyholder to determine an acceptable solution. Note that if we do not receive communication from either the agent or customer, we will follow normal payment and delinquency procedures.
For additional details regarding payroll changes, payment exceptions and on-site Loss Control and Audit visits, please see our frequently asked questions below.
We greatly appreciate your continued partnership as we work together to keep people safe.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: Policyholders are having to reduce or eliminate payrolls due to a rapidly changing business environment. Policyholders have concerns about their ability to pay their insurance premium. How is AF Group going to handle these situations?
A: We are taking several steps to assist in these situations. First, we are suspending all non-pay cancellation actions across all brands for 60 days, beginning Monday, March 23, 2020. This should provide respite from financial obligations for businesses especially hurt by reduced business.
Additionally, we are committed to working with our policyholders who need to reduce payrolls on a temporary basis. We will also offer payment options for policyholders struggling to make recent audit payments.
Q: Some policyholders are having to deploy their employees in new or additional roles to help them cope with the downturn in their business. How will AF Group handle these situations at audit time?
A: We will be as flexible as possible with audits, assuming policyholders keep detailed payroll records of employees whose primary duties have changed. In these situations, we will allow payroll to be split among class codes (e.g., a restaurant worker becomes a driver for home delivery).
Q: There may be delays due to remote work situations in binding coverage on policies that have been quoted with an AF Group company. How will you handle the backdating of policy binding?
A: We will follow our standard backdating process of obtaining a ‘no known loss’ letter to verify the account hasn’t suffered losses during the time period between the bind date and the order.
Q: How will AF Group handle non-renewals of policies during this time?
A: Non-renewals will be handled on a case-by-case basis, but we will try to limit those that occur over the next 60 days. If necessary, we will look at extending coverage on a short-term basis to allow non-renewed policyholders time to secure replacement coverage. Please discuss any pending non-renewals with your business development consultant or underwriter.
Q: How will you handle payroll reporting and payments for policyholders on the AccuPremium pay-as-you-go program?
A: Our AccuPremium servicing company is providing assistance to customers who need to report zero or lower payroll. Also, as mentioned above, we will be suspending all non-pay cancellations for a 60-day period to allow our policyholders additional time to make their payments.
Q: How will we handle onsite requirements for loss control visits?
A: For those insureds who cannot or will not accommodate onsite servicing, we may be willing to delay in person visits or explore alternative options prior to quoting, binding or issuance. Alternatives may include completing a phone or virtual survey. The expectation is that as soon as practical, we will work with policyholders to reschedule onsite visits.
Q: How will AF Group handle onsite premium audits?
A: If an onsite audit is not possible during this time of public health crisis, we will make arrangements to meet at a different location or obtain the needed records electronically. As mentioned above, we will suspend any rules against splitting payroll for individual employees as long as the employer is able to provide documentation of payroll splits during the policy period.
Visiting Our Facilities
In the interest of health and safety, any visitors, contractors or other individuals entering an AF Group facility or office will be required to fill out a questionnaire about their current travel activity prior to being allowed entry.
Expedite Your Payments – Enroll for EFT Today!
March 25, 2020
With the disruptions that COVID-19 continues to cause to standard business practices, we encourage injured workers to utilize our Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) option for receiving payments. Having checks deposited directly into a bank account eliminates the need for in-person banking and minimizes interruption that could occur in the printing and mailing cycle.
Follow these short steps to enroll for EFT:
- Click to your workers’ compensation carrier’s website below
- Select ‘Login’ at the top of the page, then ‘Injured Worker Login’
- Add bank information through the ‘Manage Bank Info’ option in the top right of the menu
Accident Fund: 866-206-5851
United Heartland: 800-258-2667
Third Coast Underwriters: 866-641-2328
Contact our Service Center at the applicable phone number above should you have any questions or issues with enrollment.
*Injured workers with litigated claims do not have online claim access. Please call our Service Center to enroll.
**Please note that EFT is not an option for Wisconsin Districts Mutual Insurance or League of Wisconsin Municipalities Mutual Insurance program claims administered by United Heartland.