Workers Compensation Voluntary Compensation Endorsement – Is it for Volunteers?

WC 00 03 11 A is titled Voluntary Compensation and Employers Liability Coverage Endorsement. It’s an endorsement, a change to the policy, that can be applied to a basic NCCI workers compensation policy. Many agents, company underwriting departments and employers are confused by this endorsement. Don’t be fooled by the name! The word “voluntary,” as used in this policy endorsement, does not refer to volunteers! When reading this endorsement think of the term voluntary as meaning not required or mandated. But hold on, it may, under circumstances, be used to provide benefits to volunteers. Let’s take a minute to learn what this endorsement does and why it’s used.

This endorsement adds voluntary compensation insurance to the policy. It’s designed to provide coverage that may otherwise be excluded by workers compensation statute. Most workers compensation statutes exempt certain types of employment or occupations from workers compensation law. Typical exempt occupations would be:

  • Domestic Workers;
  • Farm Workers;
  • Casual Workers;
  • and Volunteers.

When added to the standard workers compensation policy, this endorsement will obligate the insurance company to pay on behalf of the insured an amount equal to the benefits that would have been provided if those listed on the endorsement schedule were subject to the workers compensation statute of that state. So when a group of otherwise exempt occupations are scheduled on the endorsement coverage may then apply to employees of that group. Volunteers are permitted to be included but only where allowed by state law.  A key point here is that this endorsement obligates the insurance company to pay on a voluntary basis. It does not make those listed on the schedule subject to the workers compensation law.

It applies to bodily injury caused by an accident or disease and includes death resulting from such. It goes on to state that the injury must be sustained by an employee of the group described on the policy; that the injury must have occurred out of and in the course of employment related to work in a state listed on the schedule; that the injury must occur in the United States, territories or possessions, or Canada but also extends to injuries that occur elsewhere if the employee is a US or Canadian citizen temporarily away; must occur during the policy period and specifically if disease must be caused or aggravated by conditions of employment and that the last day of last exposure must occur during the policy period. Wow!

Let’s recap, to apply:

  • Injured employee must be a part of the group described in the schedule
  • Injury must be out of and in the course of employment in a state listed in the schedule
  • Injury must occur in the US, etc. but may occur outside if the employee is a citizen
  • Must occur during the policy period
  • And if disease, must be caused by or aggravated by conditions of employment and that the last day of the last exposure must be during the policy period.

Special conditions required before payment is made:

  • They must in writing release the employer and carrier from all responsibility;
  • Transfer to the carrier all rights of recovery from others;
  • Provide all help and cooperate with the carrier to do everything they can to help recover from others.
  • Failure to do these things will cause the carriers duty to pay to end.

So if all those conditions are met the policy will pay:

  • An amount that’s equal to the benefits that would have applied if they were subject to the workers compensation statutes for the states shown in the schedule.
  • Those amounts to the persons entitled to them.

 Employers Liability Insurance , Part Two, also applies to BI covered by the endorsement.

So what’s this endorsement really for? To provide coverage to those who would normally be excluded from workers comp laws. You can voluntarily provide coverage to those typically exempt occupations:

  • Domestic workers;
  • Farm Workers;
  • Casual Workers;
  • and Volunteers, where allowed by law.

It provides coverage to employees while outside the United States or Canada. It provides voluntary payment of the benefits that would be required in the state of hire for the employee. It’s for employees who are temporarily traveling outside the country. It’s not for those on permanent posts in other countries.

As a final note on this topic, endemic disease coverage and repatriation expense can also be separately endorsed to the policy.

So if you are an employer with employees traveling for work outside the United States be sure to check with your insurance agent and insurance company to make sure your exposures for foreign travel have been properly handled!

Hope this helps out!