Battle Looms in S.C. Over Eliminating Second Injury Fund

January 19, 2006

Legislative efforts to revise or totally eliminate South Carolina’s Second Injury Fund are being disputed by two small business groups that contend they are not convinced the changes would reduce workers’ compensation costs for small employers.

The Second Injury Fund compensates workers injured on the job, with estimates indicating it accounts for as high as 46 percent of workers’ compensation premiums.

The South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce told the Charleston Post and Courier it’s uncertain eliminating the fund will ultimately lower workers’ compensation costs for small employers. A Chamber of Commerce spokesman sad it won’t support any proposal that includes the elimination of the fund.

The state chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business said the fund has outlasted its usefulness and needs to go, falling in line with other business groups and Gov. Mark Sanford in pushing to get rid of the fund as a way to save on insurance premiums.

The small business chamber’s biggest objection to the proposal was presented in December in a report by the National Council on Compensation Insurance. The report said that in the short term, insurers would see a 25 percent increase in costs if the fund is eliminated, because typical workers’ compensation claims would increase.

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