Commercial Insurance Profile – March 2021

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How to Manage Employees with Long COVID

The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc upon the UK, including employers across all sectors. But even when employees have seemingly recovered from a case of COVID-19, it is important to recognise the extended effects that the disease may have on them. Long COVID refers to long-term issues that are being lived with by people who have recovered from COVID-19. While many people with COVID-19 generally feel better within a matter of days or weeks, extended health problems may continue for months after the infection has been defeated.

Symptoms of long COVID include, but are not limited to:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain and tightness
  • Problems with memory or concentration
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Difficulty sleeping

During a return-to-work period, organisations should consider lowering expectations and workloads for those who have recently been sick. Pushing employees too hard right away can increase their chance of developing long-term physical or mental health issues. Beyond the initial return process, employers should continue to monitor employees for signs of long COVID. Employers should manage someone with long COVID similarly to how they would manage an employee with any long-term condition. Long-term absences should be proactively managed, and an appropriate level of contact should be maintained between
the absent employee and their superior.

Long COVID can manifest itself in many different ways and may have serious implications on both the physical and mental health of employees. Being aware of who may be at risk for long COVID and how to accommodate them will help employers manage these situations.

Understanding the Civil Liability Act

For years, the UK government has been on the cusp of implementing the Civil Liability Act. This legislation is designed to change how personal injury claims related to road incidents are handled. The act was first introduced as a bill in 2018, but it has not gone into full effect due to a number of different delays. Now, it would appear as though it will finally be implemented in April 2021. With that in mind, it is important for policyholders and providers to understand what will be different.

The Civil Liability Act is intended to discourage fraudulent or exaggerated personal injury claims. Key aspects of the legislation that the government hopes will achieve this goal include:

  •  A reduction in compensation for claims involving soft tissue injuries that affect the victim for less than two years
  • An increase in the small claims limit for car accident-related personal injury claims, from £1,000 to £5,000
  • A requirement for a medical assessment to have been performed prior to a personal injury claim being settle
  • A new online system that will help manage and settle claims under £5,000

According to industry experts, the implementation of the Civil Liability Act will result in approximately 95 per cent of personal injury claims moving from the fast track to the small claims track. This will result in solicitors’ fees not being able to be recovered. As such, solicitors will no longer be able to market themselves as not charging a fee without winning a settlement.

Without being able to recover their fees, solicitors may become less available for claimants. With that in mind, the new online system will assist policyholders in representing themselves in the small claims track.
Given the frequency of personal injury claims resulting from road-related accidents, it is clear that the impact of these changes will be widespread.

For more information on either of these topics, contact your Konsileo broker today.

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