Social Work Services Insurance Alaska Policy Information
Social Work Services Insurance Alaska Social work service providers deal with complex issues and even more demanding clients. Like most professionals that work with the public, they are susceptible to mistakes, and when these slips happen, lawsuits follow.
Social service organizations provide assistance relating to a specific social issue, or group of related social issues, to their clients. Each organization has a specified purpose relating to counseling, education, financial aid, job placement, rehabilitation, vocational training, or welfare. Some provide food or shelter.
Facilities for offices, retail stores, and warehouses may be owned or leased from others. Most social service agencies are nonprofit and are funded primarily through donations and fundraising activities. Some have permanent profit-making operations to fund the organizations as a whole, such as retail stores or recycling centers. A large portion of labor may be voluntary.
Geographic exposure may be local, state, national, or international.
As a social work provider, these lawsuits will target you and not just your employees. This is why you must invest in social work services insurance Alaska that will protect your organization against these claims. No matter how small your risk exposure, getting coverage is a good idea if you want to be careful.
Social work services insurance Alaska protects your organization from lawsuits with rates as low as $27/mo. Get a fast quote and your certificate of insurance now.
Everyday Risks A Social Workers Face
The best coverage for your business depends on the type of social work services that you provide. Many people try to spread their coverage by taking on both professional liability and general liability policies. Getting both means that they get the best coverage for their businesses. Although in most cases, a custom social work services insurance Alaska plan will be tailored to meet your needs. Below are some examples of risks covered by a social worker insurance policy:
Risk of Subpoena: AK social workers should always be ready for subpoenas because they work with people going through difficult times. Sometimes they may be called upon to answer questions when things go wrong. Social work services insurance Alaska will cover you through the proceedings.
Sexual Impropriety: You and your employees should be covered against sexual impropriety charges. This is a serious risk that can permanently destroy a business or career in social work. The policy protects you against charges of sexual misconduct, up to the limit of liability.
License protection: If a client or any other person complains about your conduct to the AK state licensing board, you may need to defend your license and practice. This process can cost you thousands of dollars in legal fees. But with a valid social work services insurance Alaska coverage, you will be reimbursed for all expenses if your policy covers the incident.
Malpractice: There are best practices that guide social workers while providing services to the public. Sometimes a claim can be filed against your business or employees for breach of practice. Malpractice coverage for social workers is crucial and must be thoroughly crafted to mitigate the risks faced in their line of work. This is one of the main risks that social workers must be prepared for as the policy will provide defense coverage whether a claim is valid or not. Even if you don't need a social worker malpractice coverage, you will be asked for it when you sign up to offer professional social work services.
Breach of Confidence: Also known as an Information Privacy Coverage (HIPAA). The HIPAA coverage if necessary if you or your employees violate privacy protection laws. Violation of confidential personal information is not in compliance with HIPAA and can lead to lawsuits, fines, and loss of business. Many times when HIPAA laws are broken, it is unintentional; however, the circumstances surrounding the breach will not exempt you from liability.
Basic Social Work Services Coverage
Professional Liability Coverage: Also known as errors and omissions insurance (E and O), a professional liability coverage is paramount while carrying out social work. If you are sued for an error or omission in the course of your profession, a general liability policy will not cover you. This is why social workers require a professional liability policy. Bodily injury or damage to another persons' property are all covered by the policy, and you will be protected against claims and lawsuits arising from the work you do.
For example, some social workers who diagnose and treat patients could sometimes provide an incorrect diagnosis. This can lead to a more serious medical condition and sometimes death. In this situation, many social workers could lose their license, but as a service provider, you do not have to go out of business. Even if you have internal controls to protect yourself and your employees, your policy will help cover legal expenses when such a claim arises.
Contractual Liability: It is common practice for social work service providers to be offered a contract by a third party. These types of contracts will require you to assume responsibility for a third parties liabilities. Your social work services insurance Alaska policy should also cover this transfer of liability.
Alaska Social Service Organization's Risks & Exposures
Premises liability exposure is moderate at offices, donation locations, processing locations, warehouses, retail locations, or residential facilities due to the number of visitors. Donation locations must be easily accessible for convenient drop-off, with security to prevent unauthorized access while the premises is closed.
Retail stores have frequent visitors who can be injured by slips and falls. Aisles must be adequate and free of debris with flooring in good condition, no frayed or worn spots on carpet, and no cracks or holes in flooring. Steps and uneven floor surfaces should be prominently marked. Sufficient exits must be provided and be well marked with backup lighting systems in case of power failure. Heavier items such as appliances should be kept on easily-reached shelves so that customers do not pull items down on themselves.
Crowd control may be a concern if the store offers special cut-rate sales during peak seasons. Residential facilities must be equipped with hard-wired smoke detectors in each unit. Safety and security of each client is critical. As with the retail operations, flooring must be in good condition, and sufficient exits provided with backup lighting in the case of emergency. Parking lots and sidewalks need to be in good repair with snow and ice removed, and generally level and free of exposure to slips and falls. There should be appropriate security for the area.
If the business is open after dark, lighting must be adequate. If the organization responds to emergencies, exposures can be high at disaster sites due to emergency operations where volunteers are brought together to aid in recovery. Shelters may be set up in remote locations without adequate utility services. The shelter must be secure for those in its care. Because the public is being served, life safety concerns are critical.
If there are camps or other children's activities, instructors must be trained in appropriate methods of caring for the safety of the children. If janitorial services or other operations are performed off-premises, property damage may result to customers' property.
Professional liability exposure could be extensive depending on services provided. The assistance to at-risk individuals may include evaluations by psychologists and psychiatrists. The most serious situations will relate to children, criminal offenders and alcohol/drug rehabilitation counselors. Physical and occupational therapists may be on staff to assist in the development of clients' job-related motor skills.
Personal injury exposures include violating the privacy of clients, libel and slander, wrongful eviction, of invasion of the right of private occupancy of a living unit.
Abuse and molestation exposure is very high due to the supervision of children and other at-risk individuals. No coverage is available for the abuser. While there is some coverage available in the standard market for the institution where the abuse takes place, it is very restricted. More complete coverage should be purchased for the institution through specialized markets.
The institution must take all care possible to protect clients from predatory employees and volunteers through criminal background checks, training, monitoring, and supervision, and report all allegations of abuse to the proper authorities. Shelters must be monitored to prevent incidents of client-on-client abuse.
Directors' and officers' exposure can be substantial. There should be published policies and procedures that are consistently followed, especially as they relate to membership, membership revocation, the election of officers, and removal of officers.
Products exposure can be high if the organization restores and repairs donated items. Because extensive modification may take place, the organization could be considered the manufacturer of an item that causes damage.
Workers compensation exposure may include clerical employees who may develop repetitive motion injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome, warehouse and retail store workers who can slip and fall or incur back injuries from lifting, and custodians who can develop respiratory ailments or contact dermatitis from working with chemicals to maintain the premises. Shelter house workers must be able to handle unruly individuals and may be exposed to contagious disease from clients.
Because the primary goal of the organization is to help clients become self-sufficient, all such training must be well documented. There is a special concern with working with the disabled because of the potential for making an already difficult physical situation worse. Workers must be supplied with appropriate safety gear and be adequately supervised based on the type of job and the level of disability.
Instruction in proper lifting techniques must be provided, along with appropriate equipment for the situation. Handling donations may include exposure to hazardous substances, insects or vermin, or communicable diseases. Equipment used for repair operations should be appropriately maintained to prevent injury. In any retail business, hold-ups may occur. Employees should be trained to respond in a prescribed manner.
Property exposures can include offices, donation centers, processing centers, retail stores, warehouses, or residential facilities. Ignition sources include electrical wiring, heating, and air conditioning systems. Operations may be in older buildings. All heating and electrical wiring should be up to date and meet current codes for the occupancy. Some provide housing for clients who are monitored and receive various forms of assistance. Rules and guidelines must be in place and enforced since many of the clients may not be accustomed to caring for themselves, personal property, or the property of others.
All residential units should have hard-wired smoke detectors. Warehouse storage should have proper shelving, wide aisle-ways and separation of flammables from combustibles. Cleaning and mending clothing can produce dust which adds to fire loads. Restoration of furniture will include flammable liquids such as adhesives, paint, and varnish. Work on donated automobiles may involve the use of grinding, spray painting or welding. These must be conducted away from combustibles.
If food services are provided, there should be controls such as automatic shut-off devices and temperature controls in place and maintained. Valuation of the donated items at the time of loss could be a concern and should be considered when coverage is written. Donation centers may be targets for thieves or vandals. Adequate security should be in place after hours to deter pilferage or dumping.
Crime exposure comes from employee dishonesty and theft of money and securities from cash drawers at retail stores. Background checks should be conducted on all employees and volunteers handling money. Employee dishonesty coverage should be expanded to include volunteers as employees. Money should be regularly collected and moved away from the collection area, preferably to a safe on premises.
Bank drops should be made throughout the day to prevent a buildup of cash on premises. There must be a separation of duties between persons handling deposits and disbursements and reconciling bank statements. Audits should be periodically conducted, preferably by an outside firm.
Inland marine exposure includes accounts receivable for donor lists, work done for business partners, and government services provided, computers for office work and job training, and valuable papers and records for donors' records, employment records, and documentation for government and private grants. All records must be duplicated and kept off site for easy restoration in the event of a loss. Goods in transit coverage will be needed if the organization transports donated goods to processing facilities and retail stores or takes supplies to emergency sites.
Business auto exposure may be limited to hired and nonownership for employees or volunteers running errands. If there are owned vehicles used to collect donations, take items to warehouses, or transport clients, the exposure increases. All drivers must have a license appropriate for the vehicle being driven and acceptable MVRs. All vehicles must be maintained, and records of the maintenance must be kept at a central location.
AK Social Work Services Insurance
Social work is a fulfilling career that requires personal commitment. However, helping others can expose you to unexpected risks. As a AK social work service provider or worker, you need professional liability coverage to mitigate these risks.
Alaska Economic Data, Regulations And Limits On Commercial Insurance
If you're an entrepreneur who is thinking about starting a business in Alaska, it's important to have a basic understanding of the state's overall economy before you set up shop. Regardless of how high-quality the products and services you are planning on offering may be, if the location where you open your organization doesn't offer a target market that your products and services will appeal to, chances of success are slim. Furthermore, if a workforce isn't available to support your business, you'll have a hard time staying afloat.
With that said, it's important for business-minded individuals who are thinking about starting a company in Alaska to familiarize themselves with the state's economy; it's also a good idea to have an understanding of the commercial insurance requirements.
Following is an overview of economic trends and commercial insurance policies that business owners are required to carry in The Last Frontier.
Economic Trends For Business Owners In Alaska
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in Alaska was 6.1% in December of 2019. While that's significantly higher than the national unemployment rate, which was 3.4% in December, 2019, it's lower than it was one year prior, when the rate of unemployment was 6.5% in December of 2018. Though the workforce is growing slower than it is in other states, economists do predict that the rate will continue to decline in the coming years.
Despite Alaska's remoteness and cold climate, it's actually a great start to start a business. According to the Tax Foundation, Alaska is the second most tax-friendly state for business owners in the United States, as there's no individual income tax or state sales tax. Additionally, Alaska has the second highest rate of new business owners, as well as the second highest percentage of available employees (as per 2016).
As in most states, the best spots to start a business in Alaska are the state's biggest cities and the surrounding areas. This includes Anchorage, Juneau, and Fairbanks. Other key areas that are seeing a boost in business development in recent years include Homer, Sitka, Prudhoe Bay, and Ketchikan.
While there are several industries that are experiencing growth in The Last Frontier, specific sectors thrive more than others. Businesses that are related to the following industries are booming in AK:
- Fishing, which is also one of the largest contributors to the state's economy.
- Mining, which provides more than 4,500 jobs in Alaska.
- Petroleum, which is responsible for 34% of jobs in the state. In fact, Prudhoe Bay is North America's largest oil field.
- Tourism is the second largest private sector employer in the state. Each year, millions of people from around the globe travel to Alaska to marvel at the numerous natural wonders that can be found here.
Commercial Insurance Requirements In Alaska
The Alaska Division of Insurance regulates insurance in AK. Alaska mandates very few forms of insurance coverage by law. They enforce worker's compensation.
Alaska requires you to have worker's compensation insurance if you hire even one employee on a regular basis. This includes part-time employees, family members, minors, and immigrant employees. It is not required for independent contractors or domestic employees, though you should check to make sure any contractors you have are true contractors, and not employees.
Alaska also requires all business-owned vehicles to be covered by commercial auto insurance. Other types of business insurance that business owners should carry depend on the specific industry.
Additional Resources For Non-Profit Insurance
Find useful articles on business insurance for non-profit 501(c)(3) organizations, charities and associations.
- Animal Shelter & Pet Rescue
- Classic & Collector Car Clubs
- Credit Union
- Fraternal Organization
- Labor Union
- Parent Teacher Organization
- Public Administration
- Social Work Services
- Youth Groups
For 501(c) Non-Profits - Directors And Officers Liability Insurance has become an increasingly important policy to have. D&O coverage protects insured directors or officers against claims involving allegations of wrongful acts occurring while performing their duties as such. The insurance is divided into two separate coverages:
Side A coverage reimburses the individual directors and officers for payments made for loss each has incurred because of wrongful acts.
Side B coverage reimburses the corporation for the payments it has made on behalf of the directors or officers themselves.
General Liability is a foundational policy for almost any business. Most companies do not have any control over the final cost of injuries to a person injured because of their operations, products, or services. The person injured may be a young child, a blue-collar worker, a surgeon, or a homeless person.
The cost of the injuries may be comparatively minor or run into the millions of dollars, depending on the person and the extent of his or her injuries. Do you have sufficient assets to pay such a loss?
Commercial general liability insurance is designed to help you protect your assets with three main coverages:
- Coverage A: Bodily Injury and Property Damage Liability
- Coverage B: Personal and Advertising Injury Liability
- Coverage C: Medical Payments
Minimum recommended small business insurance coverage: Building, Business Personal Property, Business Income and Extra Expense, Employee Dishonesty, Money and Securities, Computers, Valuable Papers and Records, General Liability, Directors and Officers Liability, Employee Benefits, Professional, Umbrella, Hired and Non-owned Auto & Workers Compensation.
Other commercial insurance policies to consider: Earthquake, Equipment Breakdown, Flood, Computer Fraud, Forgery, Fine Arts, Musical Instruments, Commercial Articles Floater, Computers, Cyber Liability, Employment-related Practices, Business Auto Liability and Physical Damage and Stop Gap Liability.
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Also find Alaska insurance agents & brokers and learn about Alaska small business insurance requirements for general liability, business property, commercial auto & workers compensation including AK business insurance costs. Call us (907) 531-9001.