The Basics of the Longshore Act

Not every employee is guaranteed workers’ comp coverage in the traditional sense of the word. Most workers’ comp policies exclude coverage for employees that work in or around water. In these situations, federal law mandates that company’s carry U.S. Longshore and Harbor coverage to address employee injuries. This coverage is for maritime workers in employment locations in or around U.S. navigable waters. Some states may allow for dual coverage between a workers’ comp policy and USL and H coverage.

Getting Coverage

When it comes to getting USL&H coverage, you may be able to add an endorsement to your existing workers’ comp plan. However, not all insurers are willing or able to underwrite these additional risks. The application of this coverage extends to a number of situations, including:

  • Marine railways
  • Terminals
  • Dry docks
  • Wharfs
  • Piers

It can also include any adjacent areas where the building, repair, dismantling, or loading and unloading of a vessel is taking place. These numerous job locations also include a variety of different personnel, with longshore or maritime workers including categories of shipbuilders, repairmen, construction crews for wharfs, dock workers, warehouse or forklift personnel, to name a few.

Failing to provide the required amount of coverage can lead to steep fines and consequences. Since the law is complex and the challenges many, it is best to work with an insurance agent specializing in USL&H coverage to ensure your company has what it needs.