Following are common coverage questions the Trust has received from members. Every situation has different facts and must be evaluated individually. If you think you might have a claim, please submit it to the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust so we can determine whether coverage applies. Keep in mind, these guidelines only apply to organizations that are covered by the Trust. If you obtain coverage elsewhere, consult with your carrier.
Q1: If an employee or emergency response volunteer is exposed to COVID-19, does workers’ compensation coverage respond?
A1: Workers’ compensation only applies to injuries and diseases that arise out of work. There is no coverage for exposure to a disease under Minnesota’s workers’ compensation law. If an individual is quarantined due to an exposure, workers’ compensation coverage won’t apply.
Under the Governor’s Emergency Executive Order 20-05, financial assistance is available for some people who are required to self-quarantine or isolate because of exposure to COVID-19. According to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, a person who works in a position covered by unemployment insurance may be entitled to unemployment compensation if their employer requires they self-quarantine or a health care professional advises they do so, and they are not receiving paid leave equivalent to their normal rate of pay. This would also apply to emergency response volunteers (see Q2 for definition) who are also employed in a covered position.
Q2: If an employee or emergency response volunteer contracts COVID-19, does workers’ compensation coverage respond?
A2: If an employee or emergency response volunteer contracts COVID-19 as the result of an exposure at work, the city should file a First Report of Injury and submit it to the Trust. The Trust will evaluate the claim and determine whether it’s compensable under state law.
Emergency response volunteers are included in the city’s workers’ compensation coverage, as long as they are registered with and under the direction and control of the city. Paid on-call emergency volunteers (such as paid on-call firefighters, paid on-call ambulance attendants, and paid on-call first responders) are treated the same as other emergency response volunteers (including volunteer firefighters, volunteer ambulance attendants, volunteer first responders, law enforcement assistance volunteers, emergency management volunteers, disaster assistance volunteers, and civil defense volunteers). If these individuals are injured or contract COVID-19, whether it’s while responding to a COVID-19 emergency or not, workers’ compensation would respond.
Q3: What happens if the Trust determines an employee or emergency response volunteer contracted COVID-19 while working?
A3: The individual will be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits if they are a non-emergency employee, emergency employee (including police, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, and ambulance), or emergency response volunteer (see Q2 for definition). All these individuals would be eligible for necessary, reasonable, and related workers’ compensation medical benefits and lost time benefits.
Regarding emergency response volunteers, if they’re unable to work in their normal occupation because they contracted COVID-19 while volunteering for the city, indemnity benefits (or lost time benefits or wage replacement) are calculated as follows: If the volunteer only receives an expense reimbursement from the city, indemnity benefits are based on the greater of their regular employment earnings or an imputed full-time wage for a similar position. If the volunteer receives a wage from the city, benefits are based on the total wage plus the volunteer’s regular employment earnings.
Q4: If our city enlists the help of other types of volunteers to assist with a COVID-19 emergency, are they covered if they are injured or contract COVID-19 while working?
A4: Other volunteers – those not defined as emergency response volunteers (see Q2 for definition) – that are injured while performing services for the city are protected under the volunteer accident coverage provided to all members of the Trust’s workers’ compensation program. While benefits are more limited, some protection for city volunteers is available on a no-fault basis. The city should file the Volunteer Accident Form and submit it to the Trust.
Q5: If a city shuts down a city building due to COVID-19 voluntarily or involuntarily, does the Trust provide coverage for loss of revenue?
A5: “Loss of revenue” coverage is not available when a city building is closed for this reason. This type of coverage only applies when there is the necessary suspension of operations caused by direct physical loss or damage to covered property.
Q6: If a city incurs costs to remediate COVID-19 that’s been detected in a city building, is there any coverage?
A6: This claim is generally not covered. There is coverage for organic pathogen cleanup expenses necessary to prevent the spread of an outbreak, but the organic pathogen needs to be either: 1) A disease for which federal isolation and quarantine is authorized by an Executive Order; or 2) Defined by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as a communicable disease of public health significance. COVID-19 is not currently on either list, but the Trust continues to monitor.
Q7: Is there coverage for expenses related to the proactive sanitation of city buildings or vehicles?
A7: The Trust does not provide reimbursement for these kinds of expenses.
A8: The Trust doesn’t provide event cancellation coverage, but insurance may be available through another insurance provider. This coverage usually needs to be purchased well in advance of the event.
Q9: If a city enlists the help of volunteers to assist with a COVID-19 emergency, are they covered if they get sued?
A9. Volunteers are covered under the city’s liability coverage as long as they are acting on behalf of the city and subject to the city’s direction and control.
A10: The Trust offers extraordinary expense coverage for unforeseeable events that are unanticipated, necessary to protect public health and safety or fulfill legal obligations and not otherwise covered. Amounts advanced must be paid back within five years. There are guidelines, restrictions, and details for this coverage. Please contact us for details.