Q: Carriers are Independent Contractors. Why would we want to sponsor an Accident Insurance program?
A: In most cases, Independent Contractors pursue litigation when an On-Route accident occurs and there is no insurance coverage available to pay medical expenses. At that point, plaintiffs' attorneys sue, attempting to prove employee status, entitling their client to worker's compensation coverage. It is always the Newspaper's burden to prove Independent Contractor Status. If the medical bills associated with an On-Route accident are paid, there is no incentive to sue.
Q: How do Distribution Companies and Newspaper publishers benefit?
A: By utilizing our Accident Insurance Plans and enrolling all Contractors, you build a wall of protection between your company and the lawsuits that materialize if insurance coverage is not present.
Q: How can I make enrollment mandatory?
A: You can easily reach 100% enrollment by requiring a provision in your Independent Contractor agreement that states while the Delivery Contract is in force, the Independent Contractor must provide and maintain Accident Insurance protection for themselves, any Substitute and/or Helper(s) with a minimum of $250,000.00 medical coverage. This provision permits the Independent Contractor to obtain coverage from any source they desire or they can enroll in the plan offered by Wilson Gregory. In the event of noncompliance, it becomes a Breach of Contract issue not an employee/employer issue. We would be glad to provide contact language upon request.
Q: Doesn't this look as if we're providing "benefits" to our Independent Contractors?
A: No, on the contrary, a recent case at Phoenix Newspapers, Phoenix, AZ originally found Independent Contractor's were employees of the Newspaper. One of the original contentions was our Accident Insurance Plan constituted a "benefit" to Independent Contractor's. Defense council successfully argued that Accident Insurance was not a benefit because Independent Contractors pay the premiums themselves and the policy was a limited accident only plan. In this case Accident Insurance was found indicative of Independent Contractor Status, the appeals board agreed and overturned the original decision.
Q: Are our corporate attorneys aware of the value of Accident Insurance?
A: Probably not. Independent Contractor law varies by state and is so convoluted and fragmented that it's always best to use recognized experts in the field. Ask your corporate council to confer with industry experts when devising a plan to protect your Newspaper and Independent Contractor Status. We would be glad to provide recommendations upon request.
Q: Who is eligible?
A: Any type of Independent Contractor, spouses, children & dependents ages 9-90 are eligible to enroll. One half benefits are paid to Contractors over age 65 since they are eligible for Medicare.
Q: What is covered?
A: Coverage extends to bodily injury incurred as the direct and independent result of accidents only. Medical conditions and illnesses are not covered. Insured Contractors are covered 24-hours a day both On-Route and Off-Route. 24-hour benefits include Loss of Life, Weekly Disability and Basic Medical coverage. 24-hour benefits pay in addition to other insurance. On-Route benefits coordinate with primary insurance if applicable. If no primary source of insurance exists, benefits are paid from first dollar up to the policy maximum.
Q: What does "Publisher Protection" mean?
A: Over 90% of all reported Claims are the result of On-Route accidents. On-Route coverage is where you need it most. It’s the wall of protection between the Contractor and the Newspaper. One common denominator in all our plans is that they utilize some form of On-Route excess medical coverage designed not only to protect the Independent Contractor from serious On-Route injury but also to help strengthen the Independent Contractor relationship and method of distribution. On-Route medical excess amounts range from none to a maximum of $250,000.00.The $250,000.00 threshold of coverage is absolutely what you need to sufficiently protect your Newspaper and your Contractors.