Questions and Answers


What makes my employees eligible for benefits under Longshore?

Injured employees must past two tests: 1) the location of the work must be on navigable waters of the US. or in an “adjoining areaff and 2) the work cannot be excluded under the Act. These are defined in Sections 903(a) and 902 (3) respectively of the Act. Click here for a full copy of the Act

How does Longshore cover my employees?

Longshore works very much like workers compensation except that in lieu of being run by each state individually it is administered by the federal government. Longshore coverage is most commonly provided by endorsing the W.C. policy as there is no coverage for Longshore benefits in the unendorsed policy.

Many states allow officers to be excluded or have a minimum number of employees before I am required to buy workers compensation insurance. Do these follow through to Longshore?

These do not follow through to Longshore. One part time Longshore employee is enough to trigger the need for coverage. Corporate officers doing any form of Longshore work are also required to be covered.

If I have Longshore insurance, do I need WC coverage as well?

Yes. Most businesses will have employees who do not qualify for Longshore benefits (clerical/sales etc) but even if you do not have these classes of employees W.C. provides the insurance necessary to do business in a particular state. The good news is that in most cases with a combined
W.C. Longshore policy the only charge for WC is the normal charge associated with excluded employees.

If I use subcontractors who do not have Longshore coverage what are the ramifications? If your subcontractor does not have coverage for Longshore you absolutely become liable for unpaid benefits regardless of whether you have or do not have coverage.  See Section 904(a) of the Act.

Is a sole proprietorship exempt from Longshore?

A sole proprietor who has no employees can be exempt form Longshore.  However a business is not considered a sole proprietor under Longshore if working “at the direction of another”, which removes most sole proprietor from this exemption.

Can Sole Proprietorships exempt their employees?


How do I obtain Longshore Insurance?

Longshore insurance must be purchased from an insurance carrier approved by the U.S. Department of Labor to write Longshore insurance. A list of approved carriers is available from

It is best to use an agent who is familiar with Longshore to help guide you through that process.  Click here to email an agent:

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Which Insurance companies are allowed to write Longshore Insurance?

Only those approved by the U.S. Department of Labor

A list of approved carriers is available from

However many are approved that rarely write the coverage.  An Insurance Company who specializes in Longshore will provide the correct support and dedicated claims handling.

What happens if I have an injury to a Longshore Employee but no valid Longshore Insurance?

The penalties are severe and are detailed in the Act Section 938.   Simply stated the employer and corporate officers personally are liable for any unpaid benefits under Longshore plus both also lose the protections of the Longshore Act and can be subject to a tort suit in additonal to the Longshore benefits.  In addition there is even the potential for jail time.

If my business is exempt from Longshore, am I also exempt from Jones Act and the other Admiralty liabilities?

No.  The Longshore exemptions have no effect on Jones Act or Admiralty liability.

When does Longshore stop and Admiralty Exposures start?

This is determined on a case by case basis, but the most common rule of thumb is that Admiralty benefits start when an employee spends more than 30% of their time in service of a particular vessel or identifiable fleet of vessels.

How do we report claims?

Claims should be reported to your insurance company as rapidly as possible.

In addition there are certain forms and requirements for filing with the U.S. Department of Labor.  A specialty Longshore carrier will be able to direct you on those.

Make sure you have available in a readily accessible location your carriers claims reporting hotline.  The faster claims are reported the better for everyone.

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