Georgia Firms Could Buy Into Insolvency Pool for Workers’ Claims

April 22, 2010

Georgia lawmakers have voted to allow employers whose injured employees lost medical benefits when a major workers compensation carrier went under to buy into the state insolvency fund.

Sponsored by Rep. Carl Rogers, R-Gainesville, who is an insurance agent, the measure (HB1364) responds to the liquidation order last October against Southeastern US Insurance Co. (SEUS), the state’s eighth largest workers compensation carrier. The insurer’s failure left thousands of hospitals, businesses and government agencies without coverage for claims by injured workers.

Georgia Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine is investigating the SEUS collapse and the business practices of M. Clark Fain, III, the former chief executive officer of SEUS.

As a captive insurer formed in 2001, SEUS was exempt under state law from having to participate in the Georgia Insurers Insolvency Pool for claims prior to Jan. 1, 2008.

Rogers said there are more than 80 serious claims by injured workers whose employers had coverage with SEUS.

The bill would allow these employers of injured workers to get coverage in the insolvency pool for these claims.

Under the House bill passed 130-23, employers with $25 million or under in net worth could pay $5,000 per claim to join the pool. Larger employers would have to pay $20,000 per claim to join.

The Senate version of the legislation, sponsored by Sen. Jack Murphy, R, charges employers more: $20,000 per claim for employers under $25 million and $100,000 per claim for larger firms.

The two bills must be reconciled before going to Gov. Sonny Perdue for his signature.

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