Also Crossed Off Blunt’s To-Do List: Comp Reform

After previously signing tort reform legislation into law, Republican Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt yesterday granted another long-held insurance industry wish when he enacted workers’ compensation reforms.

Both sets of reforms were stymied under previous Gov. Bob Holden, a Democrat.

According to the Property Casualty Insurers Association, highlights of the workers’ compensation reform bills (Senate Bills 1 and 130) include:

—Changing the standard from “substantial factor” to “prevailing factor” in the definition of compensable injury;
—Giving preference to objective medical findings over subjective complaints of pain;
—The statute will now be “impartially construed” rather than “liberally construed”;
—Travel to and from work in a company owned or leased car is no longer covered by workers compensation;
—Reducing death benefits from 25 percent to 50 percent when the injured employee fails to wear safety equipment provided by employer.
—Subjecting administrative law judges to performance audits every two years, with removal by a review committee a possibility.