Oregon Insurance Regulators Threaten to Decertify Workers Comp Group

shutterstock_94547122If Employers Cannot Come Up with Funds, Regulators Will Shut Down Self-Insurance Workers Comp Trust

On Monday, July 29th, insurance regulators in Oregon said they had taken the first steps to decertifying a self-insurance trust, and would completely shut it down next week, if employers did not come up with $750,000 for workers comp.

According to the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services, the Oregon Employers Trust Inc must increase its security deposit to $3.95 million, based on membership growth and estimated claims liability. The amount was calculated from increases up to June 2012.

The Oregon Employers Trust Inc is the largest group of private employers which self-insure workers comp for their employees. The company, which formed in 2009, has about 200 companies involved that have agreed to “joint and several” liability regarding their own and each other’s workers comp insurance claims.

Todd Hennelly of Empire Pacific Risk Management Inc, which administers the workers comp trust, said that several employers in the group have agreed to put up the funds to remain compliant with state workers comp regulations.

“They feel it’s important that there be viable alternatives in the marketplace,” Hennelly said.

The Oregon Employers Trust is a group of small- and medium-sized businesses ranging from nonprofits to car dealerships to construction agencies. It even includes some local governments.

If Oregon decertifies the group next week, the businesses will still be liable for workers comp claims, and would also be legally required to purchase new workers comp insurance immediately. All businesses are legally required to have some form of workers comp insurance, in case an employee is injured or killed on the job.

What are Workers Comp Benefits?

Workers comp insurance benefits to assist the injured employee include:

  • Medical treatment and other medical expenses (gas mileage, public transportation costs)
  • Lost wages: 2/3 of an employee’s wages will be paid out after a seven-day waiting period
  • Compensation for a permanent loss: blindness, loss of limb
  • Death benefits to spouse and dependents

What qualifies as a work injury?

There are obvious work injuries and not-so obvious work injuries.

  • Physical injury: an accident such as a fall, chemical burn, cut.
  • Repetitive injury: an injury acquired by repeating the same acts over and over through work. This could be accumulative hearing loss, debilitating back pain, carpel tunnel, neck pain. It is recommended to report a repetitive injury as soon as you need to seek medical attention for it.
  • Disease: an occupational disease is one that is acquired because of your job such as lung diseases (ex. Asbestosis) from work environments and hazardous work-related materials, or disease contracted because your work in a hospital.
  • Mental issues: Mental issues from extreme or unusual work conditions or from an ongoing work injury.

The Strom Law Firm Can Help with South Carolina Workers Comp Claims

Whether your case involves obtaining benefits for a denied workers comp claim, helping you obtain medical treatment, negotiating a fair and equitable settlement for your on-the-job injury, or even pursing a claim against a third party who caused and/or contributed to your workplace injury, the workers compensation lawyers at the Strom Law Firm, LLC  represent injured workers at all stages of the workers compensation claim process, including initial hearings and appellate proceedings. The most important thing you need to focus on is a speedy recovery. You need an advocate who will seek justice on your behalf. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss the facts of your workers comp case. 803.252.4800