How to provide insurance to a remote workforce
Remote work is a flexible working arrangement allowing employees to work offsite or from another remote location outside corporate offices.
It’s also often referred to as “telecommuting or teleworking” as it’s done via an internet and phone connection and “work from home” (WFH) since most workers do this from their house, apartment, or place of residence.
It has significantly transformed the professional landscape nowadays. It reduces commutation costs, ensures work-life balance, and provides access to career opportunities. However, while it’s a great tool for employee flexibility, employers still face challenges. One of these is how to insure these remote employees.
How can employers provide insurance to their remote workforce? Here’s a simple guide.
Learn more about insurance for remote work
Research has always been the key. If the company already offers insurance, check the extent of its coverage. Many renowned insurance companies flexibly adapt to the trends and may already have alternative plans to WFH culture.
Conversely, if the company is still planning to provide insurance, opt for an insurance company that offers policies across state lines or international plans. Thanks to many online insurance marketplaces, looking for these options is easier nowadays.
For example, you can get quotes from Assurance.com. This website navigates individuals and companies to various insurance coverage options based on their insurance goals and personal finance needs. It also enables them to compare and shop plans conveniently, helping them save effort and time.
Besides comparing rates and coverages, check a plan’s localization and specificity. Ensure that it will offer equitable benefits to your remote employees, regardless of their locations and identities.
Know all your options
There are a range of approaches employers can take when providing insurance for remote workers. They usually differ in the insurance policy they provide and how they benefit the administration, whether directly or via a third party. Options to consider include:
- Global health insurance. It’s specifically designed to meet the insurance needs of a remote workforce, so it’s highly recommended for WFH employees, digital nomads, and freelancers. However, it can be costly.
- Business travel insurance. It’s designed to cover employees who often travel, whether locally or internationally. It covers emergencies and, in some cases, repatriation (the return of someone or something to their home country). However, it may not include routine medical care or coverage when an employee gets hurt in their place of residence abroad.
- Medical insurance stipend. It’s a uniform sum of money employers provide to their remote employees for buying insurance plans in their local areas themselves. It’s a good option if companies wish to avoid legal and tax obligations involved in setting up insurance for remote employees.
- Through Professional Employment Organizations (PEO). These serve as partners of an employer who lives in another country. They act as “the employer of record” (EOR) in the areas where the remote workers reside and process and provide local insurance for them on behalf of the employer.
- Traditional insurance. This is a common option, but only if the remote workforce is within the same country where an employer and insurance company operate. With this, the employer has to engage with a local insurance provider directly.
Consult a professional for advice
Asking for professional advice is especially critical if employers plan to or already have embraced the WFH culture. Specifically, consulting local companies helps enlighten employers on what constitutes comprehensive coverage in various insurance markets.
However, consider seeking advice from an insurance consulting company instead of an insurance company representative. Most insurance agents are biased against their company’s products, so they falsely lead insurance buyers to invest in them when there could be better options.
Insurance consulting companies, in contrast, guide individuals and companies through the broad and complicated insurance market. They often recommend the most suitable and comprehensive coverage based on an insurance buyer’s needs and budget.
Communicate with your team
Encourage self-identification within the team. It fosters a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) culture and helps an employer choose a more personalized insurance plan for them. Doing so doesn’t immediately pose legal risks as long as employees do it voluntarily and the information requested is legal.
Demographic information from a team is also often requested by insurance companies. This is called the “employee census.” It helps estimate the coverage and health care costs a company’s team will likely incur.
However, the employee census should only include standard personal information, such as the employee’s name, age, date of birth, number of dependents, and zip code. It shouldn’t include race, sexual orientation, religion, citizenship or immigration status, or health status.
Once suitable insurance coverage is decided, be transparent and discuss it with the remote employees before purchasing the plan. This enlightens an employer about what could be lacking and ensures that the workforce understands and gets the most out of the coverage.
Remote work has forced employers to reassess benefits
The nature of remote work has forced employers to reassess approaches to employee benefits packages. Companies are now trying out the new wave of WFH-friendly insurance plans to ensure the retention of good employees and prevent potential financial loss.