Congratulations, You’ve Won the Construction Contract – Now, you Need USL&H

Author, Kevin Howard, CRIS, Account Executive, Rancho Mesa Construction Group

If the title of this article gave you a good chuckle, you most likely have bid a job somewhere near a body of water; then, found out you need U.S. Longshore and Harbor (USL&H) Workers’ Compensation coverage.  You were surely not the first one to overlook this requirement and you definitely will not be the last.

History of USL&H

Let’s begin with a USL&H history lesson to understand why it was implemented, nearly 100 years ago. 

The U.S. Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act was implemented in 1927 to provide compensation to an employee if an injury or death occurred upon navigable waters of the US - including any adjoining pier, wharf, dry dock, terminal, building-way, marine railway or other adjoining area customarily used by an employer in loading, unloading, repairing, dismantling or building a vessel.

The act’s passage compensated maritime workers, including most dock workers and ship builders that were not covered by the Jones Act ( 46 U.S.C. 30004), which only covered seamen, not those who worked in maritime-support industries.  Therefore, USL&H workers' compensation was intended to protect those employees who would otherwise not be covered. 

Moving forward to present day, to avoid conflict, project owners and general contractors alike require subcontractors and vendors to provide USL&H coverage if projects are close to navigable waters. 

Does Every Insurance Carrier Offer USL&H Coverage? 

The answer is no. Not every workers' compensation carrier is filed to offer USL&H.  Depending on the industry, classification codes and payroll size, there is most likely only a handful of options available. With that said, it’s important to know who those insurance carriers are if you plan on bidding a project that requires USL&H.  

Acquiring USL&H Coverage

The first move to acquiring a USL&H policy is to call an insurance representative that has experience in this area. Then, you can develop a game plan that will help you navigate within the USL&H marketplace.

As an eleven-year Best Practices Agency, Rancho Mesa can assist with your USL&H needs. We have been helping clients in the construction field for over 20 years. Contact Rancho Mesa at (619) 937-0164 for more information about this type of policy.