Agents Urge Caution on Missouri Insurer Changes

April 4, 2012

Some insurance agents are urging caution for Missouri lawmakers considering changes to a state-created workers’ compensation firm that has been cited in an audit for taking advantage of federal tax exemptions while spending heavily on perks.

Legislation already advanced by a Senate committee would set up a special panel to study whether the 1993 law creating Missouri Employers Mutual Insurance Co. should be changed.

On Monday, a House committee also heard testimony on whether changes are necessary to the company. Insurance agents said MEM helped stabilized Missouri’s workers’ compensation market for small businesses in the 1990s and still provides good services and rates.

But an official with an association for private insurers says MEM could cherry-pick good businesses to insure because of its favored status in state law.

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