FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 29, 2005
CHSWC Issues Paper on Public Access to WC Insurance Coverage Information
OAKLAND -- The California Commission on Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation (CHSWC) has approved the release of the issue paper entitled "Public Access to Workers' Compensation Insurance Coverage Information." This issue paper was developed CHSWC staff in response to a request by Assemblyman Keith Richman.
Assemblyman Richman has already introduced AB 510, which would require the Labor Commissioner to establish and maintain a proof of coverage program designed to detect employers which are unlawfully uninsured for workers' compensation.
The CHSWC issue paper discusses the feasibility of a proof of coverage database which is accessible to the public. About a quarter of the states have a proof of coverage database only for government use. Texas, Florida and Michigan have already implemented a database that allows public access to coverage information.
The issue paper has identified many advantages for a proof of coverage database which will be accessible by and serve the entire workers' compensation community. For example:
- Employers are protected from broker fraud because they may verify that they are covered for workers' compensation.
- Workers are protected from lack of workers' compensation coverage; employees and/or their representatives may verify that the employer is covered for workers' compensation.
- Insurers may ascertain if another insurance company could potentially share the liability in certain claims.
- Service providers may determine the appropriate insurance carrier to bill.
- The State would achieve cost savings by handling fewer inquiries and requests for data via letters and phone calls.
- The State could identify illegally uninsured employers more easily which could reduce the Uninsured Employers Fund (UEF) payout each year.
CHSWC, created by the workers' compensation reform legislation of 1993, is charged with overseeing the health and safety and workers' compensation systems in California and recommending administrative or legislative modifications to improve their operation. CHSWC was established to conduct a continuing examination of the workers' compensation system and of the state's activities to prevent industrial injuries and occupational diseases and to examine those programs in other states.
The issue paper, as well as information about CHSWC, is available at www.dir.ca.gov/chswc, by writing to Christine Baker, CHSWC Executive Officer, 1515 Clay Street, Room 901, Oakland, California 94612, or by calling (510) 622-3959.