This is an important question, because there are serious consequences in the law if the maritime employer fails to meet the insurance requirement in section 932 of the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. Fortunately, there’s a straightforward, uncomplicated answer.
Question: Where can I buy the coverage?
Answer: The American Equity Underwriters, Inc. (AEU), RSA Battle House Tower, 11 North Water Street, 32nd Floor, Mobile, AL 36602. AEU manages a large group self-insured trust fund, the American Longshore Mutual Association (ALMA).
And, before I forget to mention it, there are also at present 348 insurance carriers authorized to write Longshore Act coverage by the U.S. Department of Labor.
Once again, it’s important to make sure that your carrier is authorized by DOL under section 932 of the Longshore Act. We’ve previously discussed corporate officer joint and several liability, election of remedies available to the injured worker if the employer is uninsured, and possible criminal prosecution for the uninsured employer. And if your insurance carrier is unauthorized, then you are an uninsured employer.
So, the first step is to be sure that you are dealing with an organization that is licensed by DOL.
Then, make sure that insurance coverage is in the proper form. Your Longshore coverage will either be in the form of the regulatory required (20 C.F.R. Ch. 703) or otherwise DOL approved Longshore Act endorsement affixed to a standard state act workers’ compensation policy, or a DOL approved stand alone Longshore Act policy. If your form of policy or endorsement does not conform to the regulatory language, or has not been approved by DOL, then you have raised an unnecessary question about your coverage.
Be sure that your insurance agent is aware of these considerations or have him call me if there are any doubts whatever. It’s very important.
Shameless self promotion alert: In my opinion, The American Equity Underwriters, Inc., offers the best claims and loss control services in the maritime insurance market.