The Scope of Workers Comp Coverage for the Maritime Industry

Federal and state laws have a role in protecting both employers and employees when an injury or illness occurs that is work-related. For employees with a physical presence on U.S. land, workers compensation coverage is the insurance that finances any medical costs related to an injury or illness that occurred from an on-the-job incident, but the coverage for those working on sailing or shipping vessels in the water is more complicated.

Defining Maritime Employer’s Liability

For those who work on vessels that are they neither own nor operate, maritime insurance is an important coverage. This provides injury and illness coverage for those who are employed to work on ships or around waterways. This coverage comes in response to the Jones Act and Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Comp Act, which made injured employees eligible to sue an employer for negligence. The scope of application for this liability insurance applies to the following:

  • National fish observatories
  • Scientific research or survey way conducted around or on the water
  • Drilling work
  • Artisan contractors working onboard a vessel while it’s underway
  • Marine construction projects
  • Seismic survey work

These categories are not all-inclusive of maritime employer coverage, and special inclusions can be made to insure those who are not deemed a part of the crew or acting as captain.

Injury lawsuits are expensive, and insurance helps bear the brunt of the expense. Maritime-specific policies address the unique exposures of the industry.