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did the BIAW buy Eyman's flying monkeys?
We should all know by now that if the insurance industry likes a certain policy, it is because they stand to make a fortune from it. Remember the mandatory auto-insurance effort about 20 years ago? Did that really lower insurance rates?
Here's a few facts for those who actually read the Slog ..
First, I-1082 doesn't "screw injured workers." It's just a different way to finance the costs. The proof? The initiative does NOT change benefits, does NOT change the laws by which claims are considered, does NOT change any appeal rights, does NOT change the injured worker's right to choose their own medical provider, does NOT give insurance companies any exemption from either insurance regulations OR from workers' compensation laws (in fact, they're subject to the SAME PENALTIES if they act badly), and it does NOT exempt insurance companies from guarantee funds. The Insurance Commissioner has the regulatory authority to ensure that ANY line of insurance (auto, home, fire, life, etc) pays into a guarantee fund to protect policy-holders for defaulting insurance companies.
Second, this is merely a CHOICE for employers. Employers will be able to choose between private underwriters and the State Fund (like they can in 46 other states). Since when has the progressive community felt it was bad to have choice in anything?
Third, I-1082 does make the employer pay for the approximately 25% of the premium that is currently coming out of the worker's pocket, and that takes effect January 1, 2011 (in two months). In other words, the WORKER gets the benefit of not having money come out of their paycheck, and having it paid by their employer -- that's true if the employer stays in the State Fund or goes with a private insurance company. Oh, and by the way, that's the way it is in all 49 other states ... workers pay NOTHINlG for workers' comp elsewhere, but they do here. It brings a tear to the eye that labor and the trial attorneys are concerned about small business, yet just MONTHS ago were whining in public hearings in front of the Legislature that employees pay a portion of the premium! Can't have it both ways, sorry.
Lastly, contrary to popular belief, the employer community is not monolithic. They constantly fight amongst themselves as to what is "good for business," and what is good for our communities. But this time, with a few notable exceptions, they are united. Why?
I represent employers that self-insure their workers' comp risk (i.e. - bigger, financially sound employers that pay the full workers' comp costs out of their own pocket). By and large, our members do a MUCH better job of managing claims than the State Fund. Our Association supports the initiative because: 1) many of our members operate in multiple states, and want the option to purchase their workers' comp insurance here; 2) the growing number of pensions and long-term disability claims (in an era of total number of claims declining over the past few decades) is bankrupting the system, as evidenced by a fund that pays Cost of Living Adjustments on these liabilities over $11 BILLION in unfunded liabilities; and 3) even proposed modest changes to Washington's nearly 100 year old workers' comp system have been ignored or stomped on by the Governor, Legislature and Department of Labor & Industries. Our members have had enough.
Rational, reasonable changes to the system to improve better return to work outcomes for injured workers, and to reduce these growing, threatening costs to the system need to be considered. I-1082 will provide the impetus to get changes adopted, since the State Fund will finally have an incentive to do what even they privately acknowledge need to be done.
If you're going to make public policy decisions based strictly on the fact that BIAW or AIG is backing a proposal, go ahead. What I've written won't change you mind. But if you understand the importance of employers having a CHOICE in where they get their workers' comp, that workers have more money in their pockets, and that changes need to happen to make the system better, then I think you'll find I-1082 is a badly needed change.
Washington Self-Insurers Association
First, the insurance companies would not be "largely unregulated." If you read the text of I-1082, section 10 states that all private insurers who sell worker's compensation insurance in the state would have the same responsibilities as the Department of Labor & Industries.
Plus, the insurance companies would not have free reign to start selling insurance policies in 2012. They would first have to be approved by state insurance commissioner. Items considered prior to approval include the following (from Section 3 of I-1082): 1) adequate financial capacity to make benefits payments, 2) adequate loss prevention services to provide health and safety services to their policyholders, 3) adequate claims management services.
Also, if the insurance companies aren't competitive, our businesses definately are not going to buy their worker's compensation insurance from them. Thus, it is easy to see that competition WILL take place, and any business will be free to return to L&I for their insurance if they are not happy with the private insurance companies.
If L&I is so great, they should be able to easily compete with the private insurance companies. If they can't, well, then we'll have better choices and our state will be better for voting yes on I-1082.
'"managing claims.” This is code for: The insurance industry will deny and delay claims to protect their huge profits.'
like putting a priest in charge on an all-boy daycare center.
In Oregon, there is a multi million dollor lawsuit going on for injured workers. Does this mean it goes to the Supreme Court and that takes a long time. The Trial Lawyer's Assoc. probably likes this initiative because they will make more money suing AIG for millions.
AIG has been bailed out with the stimulis. They are greedy CEO's. So why should we pay for their billionaire lifestyle.
I agree that workers comp. does need more competint investigators.