WorkMarket Partners to Offer Full Coverage Workers’ Compensation for Freelancers

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WorkMarket has introduced a new insurance service that allows companies to provide workers’ compensation coverage to their independent contract workers, the company announced Thursday. According to the company, this is a “first-of-its-kind” service offering that was created in partnership with a leading insurance carrier.

The so-called gig or freelancer economy has been steadily growing over the last several years. Multiple risk and compliance issues, however, have impeded widespread adoption of this new talent source by large businesses. Worker misclassification problems have been the most publicized and therefore most visible risk and compliance issue, but insurance coverage (e.g., general liability and workers’ comp) has been at least as significant issue for businesses that wish to engage independent contract workers.

The new offering allows businesses that use the WorkMarket platform to extend workers’ compensation coverage to independent contract workers that the company engages through the platform. The no-fault insurance policy protects businesses from exposure to legal actions regardless of fault in an incident. It also assures independent contract workers will have protection if they sustain injuries in the course of their work, though their coverage would not be in effect when engaging with companies that have not signed for this insurance.

Jeff​ ​Wald​,​ ​president​ ​and​ ​co-founder​ ​of​ ​WorkMarket, told us in an interview that the WorkMarket workers’ comp insurance is not a substitute but rather actual workers’ comp issued in connection with workers’ comp boards. Businesses obtain the insurance from WorkMarket; Wald did not say in which states the WorkMarket policies are currently available. In the event of a claim, WorkMarket’s support team is available to handle the entire process, according to the press release.

“Workers’​ ​compensation​ ​for​ ​independent​ ​contractors​ ​is​ ​unique​ ​to​ ​WorkMarket​ ​and represents​ ​a​ ​golden​ ​opportunity​ ​for​ ​businesses​ ​to​ ​further​ ​mitigate​ ​risk​ ​as​ ​they​ ​transition to​ ​an​ ​agile​ ​workforce,”​ ​​Jeff​ ​Wald​. ​

We see this development as yet another step toward making independent contract work more mainstream and acceptable, particularly for larger businesses with greater risk and liability concerns. Over the past several years, the technology infrastructure to enable the greater use of independent workers has been established. To make it all work, solution providers must now provide solutions to manage classification and other risks (such as accidental injuries, as WorkMarket has done) and ensure workers can have access to various insurance and other services which will allow them to be viable, productive providers of work.

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