$1,000 Grand Prize: Mitigating Risks to Vulnerable Populations

Job Reclassification Loss Insurance

1. Product Name: Job Reclassification Loss Insurance

2. Populations it would protect: Low-income workers whose employers convert them from employees to sub-contractors, or reclassify them from full-time to part-time or temporary worker status.

3. Impacts this product / service will protect against: When employers fire low-income workers, only to re-hire them as independent contractors or as temporary help, the employers usually end up saving money. Unfortunately, the workers suffer a reduction in their income, and lose out on previous benefits like overtime compensation, family and medical leave, unemployment insurance. The low-income workers become even poorer, and they find it harder than before to raise themselves out of poverty.

4. Trigger event that would result in a claim: A worker being converted by his employer to an independent contractor, or part-time or temporary worker, and incurring more than a 15% reduction in take home earnings despite carrying out similar job functions as before.

5. Scope and nature of the insurance response: Policy would provide a case manager or lawyer to answer policyholder questions about the legality or illegality of the employer's actions, and to advise on the best recourse. The case manager may contact the employer and advocate for the policyholder. The case manager will also evaluate the potential for filing a complaint against the employer with state or federal authorities (https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/flsa/misclassification). If appropriate, the case manager or lawyer shall confer with the worker to proceed with a whistleblower complaint, while ensuring that the worker's Anti-Retaliation/Anti-Discrimination Rights are protected. If there is a language communication barrier, the insurance policy will pay for a translator.

6. Why this would be a compelling product: Either out of ignorance of workers' rights, or very deliberately, employers have been shifting menial jobs from full-time employee status to independent contractor or subcontracted temporary worker status. The sufferers are also vulnerable, as they typically have neither the education nor the confidence or good counsel to challenge the employers. NPR's Uncertain Hour has an excellent March 3, 2021 episode on chicken farm workers being reclassified and losing as much as 40% of their earnings (https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=476015630). In many industries, including some everyday ones like big retailer chains, employees are in constant fear of such job reclassifications by their employers. The Department Of Labor has way less labor inspectors than it needs to cover the millions of workplaces where job reclassifications are being forced upon vulnerable low-income workers. To the insurance policy writer, there is potential high reward from successful lawsuits or DOL payments to whistleblowers, which the worker would contractually share with the insurance policy writer. In contrast the overhead for the insurance policy writer will be low because much of the interaction with the worker and the data gathering can proceed through chatbots, AI and automated technology, e.g. a smartphone phone app.

7. Product could be sold directly to low-income workers through social networks, social media, community support groups, immigrant rights groups, church groups or other social service organizations.


2 votes
2 up votes
0 down votes
Idea No. 2180