§23-2C-8. Workers’ Compensation Uninsured Employer Fund.

(a) The Workers’ Compensation Uninsured Employer Fund shall be governed by the following:

(1) All money and securities in the fund must be held by the State Treasurer as custodian thereof to be used solely as provided in this article.

(2) The State Treasurer may disburse money from the fund only upon written requisition of the Insurance Commissioner.

(3) Assessments. — The Insurance Commissioner shall assess each private carrier and may assess self-insured employers an amount to be deposited in the fund. The assessment may be collected by each private carrier from its policyholders in the form of a policy surcharge. To establish the amount of the assessment, the Insurance Commissioner shall determine the amount of money necessary to maintain an appropriate balance in the fund for each fiscal year and shall allocate a portion of that amount to be payable by each of the groups subject to the assessment. After allocating the amounts payable by each group, the Insurance Commissioner shall apply an assessment rate to:

(A) Private carriers that reflects the relative hazard of the employments covered by the private carriers, results in an equitable distribution of costs among the private carriers and is based upon expected annual premiums to be received;

(B) Self-insured employers, if assessed, that results in an equitable distribution of costs among the self-insured employers and is based upon expected annual expenditures for claims; and

(C) Any other groups assessed that results in an equitable distribution of costs among them and is based upon expected annual expenditures for claims or premium to be received.

(4) The Industrial Council may adopt rules for the establishment and administration of the assessment methodologies, rates, payments, and any penalties that it determines are necessary to carry out the provisions of this section.

(b) Payments from the fund. —

(1) Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, an injured employee of any employer required to be covered under this chapter who has failed to obtain coverage may receive compensation from the Uninsured Employer Fund if such employee meets all jurisdictional and entitlement provisions of this chapter, files a claim with the Insurance Commissioner and makes an irrevocable assignment to the Insurance Commissioner of a right to be subrogated to the rights of the injured employee.

(2) Employees who are injured while employed by a self-insured employer are ineligible for benefits from the Workers’ Compensation Uninsured Employer Fund.

(c) Initial determination upon receipt of a claim. —

If a claim is filed against the Uninsured Employer Fund, the Insurance Commissioner or his or her third-party administrator shall: (1) Accept the claim into the fund if it is determined that the employer was required to maintain workers’ compensation coverage with respect to the injured worker but failed to do so; (2) reject the claim if it is determined that the employer maintained such coverage or was not required to do so; or (3) in a claim involving the availability of benefits pursuant to §23-2-1d of this code, either reject or conditionally accept the claim. An aggrieved party may file a protest with the Office of Judges, or Board of Review upon the termination of the Office of Judges, to any decision by the Insurance Commissioner or the third-party administrator to accept or reject a claim into the fund, as well as to any claims decisions made with respect to any claim accepted into the fund and such protests shall be determined in the same manner as disputed claims are determined pursuant to the provisions of §23-5-1 et seq. of this code: Provided, That in any proceeding involving the decision to accept or refuse to accept a claim into the fund, the employer has the burden of proving that it either provided mandatory workers’ compensation insurance coverage or that it was not required to do so.

(d) Employer liability. —

(1) Any employer who has failed to provide mandatory coverage required by the provisions of this chapter is liable for all payments made and to be made on its behalf, including any benefits, administrative costs and attorney’s fees paid from the fund or incurred by the Insurance Commissioner, plus interest calculated in accordance with the provisions of §23-2-13 of this code.

(2) The Insurance Commissioner:

(A) May bring a civil action in a court of competent jurisdiction to recover from the employer the amounts set forth in §23-2C-8(d)(1) of this code. In any such action, the Insurance Commissioner may also recover the present value of the estimated future payments to be made on the employer’s behalf and administrative costs and attorney’s fees attributable to such claim: Provided, That the failure of the Insurance Commissioner to include a claim for future payments shall not preclude one or more subsequent actions for such amounts;

(B) May enter into a contract with any person, including the third-party administrator of the Uninsured Employer Fund, to assist in the collection of any liability of an uninsured employer; and

(C) In lieu of a civil action, may enter into an agreement or settlement regarding the collection of any liability of an uninsured employer.

(3) In addition to any other liabilities provided in this section, the Insurance Commissioner may impose an administrative penalty of not more than $10,000 against an employer if the employer fails to provide mandatory coverage required by this chapter. All penalties and other moneys collected pursuant to this section shall be deposited into the Uninsured Employer Fund.