Are you Traveling Bare? UPDATED

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Ensure your travel is covered for workers’ compensation by checking with us prior to making arrangements

There are many reasons why a special district might send employees abroad or out of state on business. A park district might send a team as tour guides on a trip to Europe. Firefighters might travel to help put out wildfires in neighboring states. A water district might send an engineer to a symposium in another country. No matter the reason, it is important that members notify the Pool of the travel prior to making the arrangements.

Many districts are not aware that employees traveling on district business internationally may not be covered for workers’ compensation if the destination is on Pool’s insurance carrier’s restricted list. During a given coverage year insurance carriers place restrictions on what countries are or are not eligible for coverage.

shutterstock_145804052There can be many reasons why a country, region, or other political subdivision is listed on the restricted rolls. These can include political or social unrest, virulent disease, risk of terrorism, ongoing war, or geopolitical tensions which could endanger those traveling.

The reason why most of the countries are restricted may seem obvious, especially in cases like North Korea or Afghanistan. However, some districts have still approved travel for their employees to countries they may not have initially considered dangerous. While many people travel for leisure to countries like the Philippines, and others travel to do humanitarian work in countries like Haiti, these places are not considered safe and are therefore excluded from coverage.

To be clear, the Pool does not dictate a member’s travel decisions. However we want members to understand that there may be no workers’ compensation coverage if the destination is on the restricted list. We recommend that members call the Pool prior to making any foreign travel arrangements in order to verify coverage. The list of restricted countries is updated frequently, so even if a country is not listed here, it could be added later. This is especially true given recent terrorist attacks in countries like France or Belgium, or the rise of easily transmissible diseases like the Zika virus or chikungunya in places like Brazil. These are common travel destinations and it is important to verify you have coverage before you send anyone overseas.

If the Pool’s coverage is not available for given travel, there are other services that a district should consider for sanctioned employee travel abroad. If you call us prior to making your plans, we can help connect you with those services.

shutterstock_147584642The Pool has very broad workers’ compensation coverage, even with these restrictions. Although we are self-insured in Colorado, we have an extending endorsement allowing for coverage to employees who may travel to other states outside of Colorado. This only excludes the four “monopolistic” states: Ohio, North Dakota, Washington, and Wyoming. These states do not allow private insurance for workers’ compensation so instead, the state or a state sponsored agency is the only entity that can provide workers’ compensation unless specific conditions are met. If your district has any travel planned to those four states, it is imperative that you check with the Pool and with those state authorities to comply with regulations in advance.

Fortunately, most fire districts have intergovernmental agreements and federal wildfire call outs that usually make the process of going into one of the monopolistic states much easier than it may be for other types of districts.

Additionally, employees who travel outside Colorado must be on a temporary assignment from their employer, with ‘temporary’ generally defined as a duration of not more than six months. If an employee is out of state for a prolonged period of time, they may be ineligible for coverage. Contact us if you have an employee in that situation.

Turning back to the foreign coverage extended in the Pool’s workers’ compensation coverage, we also cover endemic disease and repatriation. This allows employees, who may contract an infectious disease from a given geographic area or population group, to be brought back to the U.S. from the country traveled to at an expense in an amount up to $50,000 with respect to any one employee.

As a member of the Pool, your district can rest assured that your workers’ compensation coverage is very broad. However, it is important for districts to remain diligent on the most current changes so that your employees are always covered wherever they may travel.

Below is the most recent list of restricted travel countries and regions. As we indicated before, this list may change at virtually any time. Below is the most current list provided by the SNCC. Please contact us for the most up-to-date information.

  • Afghanistan
  • Algeria
  • Belarus
  • Burkina Faso
  • Burma
  • Cameroon
  • Central African Republic
  • Chad
  • Columbia
  • Cote d’Ivoire
  • Cuba
  • Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Djibouti
  • El Salvador
  • Eritrea
  • Honduras
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Israel
  • Kenya
  • Lebanon
  • Libya
  • Mali
  • Mauritania
  • Niger
  • Nigeria
  • North Korea
  • Pakistan
  • Philippines
  • Republic of South Sudan
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Somalia
  • Sudan
  • Syria
  • Turkey
  • Ukraine
  • Venezuela
  • West Bank and Gaza
  • Yemen
  • Zimbabwe
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