The Oregon State Accident Insurance Fund Corp. has nearly halved its work force in the past eight years, and spends less on advertising than competitors, according to its Board of Directors.
The SAIF Board outlines those claims, and several others, in a letter to Gov. Ted Kulongoski, who had raised a list of 10 questions about the public corporation’s mission and performance.
SAIF has been criticized recently for its spending on lobbyists, consultants and advertisting. Competitors have also charged that SAIF’s public status gives it an unfair advantage in the workers’ compensation insurance market.
In the letter, SAIF officials say the company has “a legitimate need for lobbying, particularly since there is a well-funded and directed effort to reduce SAIF as a viable part of the Oregon workers’ compensation system.”
Officials also say that SAIF has reduced the number of employees from 1,500 workers in 1996 to 817 in 2004, while increasing its customer base by more than 30 percent.
“I don’t think the letter will quiet down those taking aim at us, nor did we write it for them. We wrote it for the governor,” said Jon Egge, SAIF’s Board chairman.
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