Employers that have elected to accept mesothelioma liability pursuant to §287.200.4(3) (a) RSMo, may do so in one of three ways: insure their liability, qualify as a self-insurer, or become a member of a group insurance pool. Such a group insurance pool shall comply with the requirements of §287.223, RSMo. In order for an employer to make an election, an employer is required to give notice of the election to the Department in a manner that has been established by the Department.
Since the enactment of SB 1, effective January 1, 2014, both the Department and the Division of Workers’ Compensation (Division) have informed employers that notice of election to become a member of a “group insurance pool” can be done by submitting a letter to either the Department or the Division. The letter should specifically state that the employer elects to accept mesothelioma liability by becoming a member of a group insurance pool which shall comply with the requirements of §287.223, RSMo.
The manner of providing notice of election to the Department or Division:
- Insuring Their Liability
Employers may choose to insure their liability by purchasing workers’ compensation insurance coverage through an insurance company that is authorized to insure such liability in the State of Missouri by the Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration (DIFP). The DIFP has regulatory oversight over the insurance companies. The National Council of Compensation Insurance (NCCI) is the advisory organization for the State of Missouri. NCCI made revisions to “NCCI Manuals Resulting from the Enactment of Missouri Senate Bill 1” and developed two forms, the Missouri Notification of Additional Mesothelioma Benefits Endorsement form number WC 24 03 02 and Missouri Exclusion of Additional Mesothelioma Benefits Endorsement form number WC 24 03 03. For additional information relating to the endorsement forms, please visit the DIFP’s webpage.
The Division verifies proof of workers’ compensation insurance coverage through NCCI. Upon receipt of a Claim for Compensation, the Division generally adds the insurance carrier to the underlying case based upon a search through NCCI or receipt of a First Report of Injury (FROI) pursuant to §287.380, RSMo. Furthermore, an Answer is submitted by counsel on behalf of the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier stating whether the employer is or is not governed by and subject to the requirements of the Workers’ Compensation Act, in addition to providing other responses to the Claim. The Division also receives a FROI from the insurance company or third-party administrator notifying the Division about an accident or injury including occupational disease due to toxic exposure, sustained by an employee.
- Self-Insuring Their Liability
As an alternative to purchasing an insurance policy, employers and groups of employers may apply to the Division to self-insure their workers’ compensation obligations. Pursuant to §287.280.1 RSMo, “Every employer subject to the provisions of this chapter shall, on either an individual or group basis, insure their entire liability under the workers’ compensation law; and may insure in whole or in part their employer liability, under a policy of insurance or a self-insurance plan…..except than an employer or group of employers may themselves carry the whole or any part of the liability without insurance upon satisfying the division of their ability to do so.” Authorized self-insured employers or group trusts must inform the Division, on the Division’s approved form, that they have elected to accept mesothelioma liability.
- Becoming a Member of a Group Insurance Pool
If an employer would like to become a member of a group insurance pool, please submit this Form “Notice of Employers Election to Become a Member of a Group Insurance Pool Pursuant to §287.200.4(3)(a)” to the Division.
For employers who reject mesothelioma liability under subsection 4 of §287.200, RSMo, the exclusive remedy provisions of §287.120, RSMo shall not apply to such liability. Therefore, the employer could be sued in civil court.