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Oklahoma Does Not Want To Be Texas After All

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Oklahoma And Texas Opt-Out

Oklahoma appeared on the Workers Compensation radar screen over the last few weeks. Texas has the opt-out or non-subscriber choice in Workers Comp. I had consulted with a few Texas clients that were using the opt-out services. I had previously written an article on the Oklahoma Opt-out here.

Blogosphere Oklahoma map
Wikimedia Commons – Jenna Greenbaum

The Oklahoma House voted down the opt-out amendment. There were so many discussions in the insurance blogosphere on Oklahoma’s push for non-subscriber services. I had thought the legislation would easily pass and be signed by Governor Fallin. There was no veto expected.

The main reason for the bill to not be passed in the House was the concern that the employees would not be treated fairly. The other reason might have been that the plaintiff bar worried that it was going to not treat their bank accounts fairly.

The reason for not passing the bill was that the injured workers may not receive the proper benefits as they would have under the current Workers Comp system.

I read a few articles earlier this week that indicted the proponents of the legislation would likely marshal their forces again. These groups of opt-out advocates were going to try to get some type of opt-out bill approved over the next few weeks.

Vector Graphic Of Running Businessman Oklahoma With Big Dept Ball
StockUnlimited

I grew up in Oklahoma. One of the main themes was whatever Texas does, we will do it and it better. I am actually glad to see the bill did not pass the House. The main reason is the writers of the bill did not take into account, the Law of Large Numbers. For any type of insurance program to work, there has to be enough willing participants. Oklahoma has always suffered from the “Texas Fever”.

The Texas system for opt-outs has been in place for quite some time. In my humble opinion, Oklahoma did not understand what they were getting into when they just had to be like Texas. There are some changes desperately needed in the Workers Comp system.

On a side note, the two main clients that I had with non-subscriber services in Texas both went bankrupt. I do not think it was due to their Workers Comp opt-out program. However, they both had called us in to help them with a string of very serious accidents which they could not even afford to furnish benefits. Oklahoma may have been very wise to not to have the “Texas Fever” again.

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James Moore

Raleigh, NC, United States

About The Author...

James founded a Workers’ Compensation consulting firm, J&L Risk Mgmt Consultants, Inc. in 1996. J&L’s mission is to reduce our clients’ Workers Compensation premiums by using time-tested techniques. J&L’s claims, premium, reserve and Experience Mod reviews have saved employers over $9.8 million in earned premiums over the last three years. J&L has saved numerous companies from bankruptcy proceedings as a result of insurance overpayments.

James has over 27 years of experience in insurance claims, audit, and underwriting, specializing in Workers’ Compensation. He has supervised, and managed the administration of Workers’ Compensation claims, and underwriting in over 45 states. His professional experience includes being the Director of Risk Management for the North Carolina School Boards Association. He created a very successful Workers’ Compensation Injury Rehabilitation Unit for school personnel.

James’s educational background, which centered on computer technology, culminated in earning a Masters of Business Administration (MBA); an Associate in Claims designation (AIC); and an Associate in Risk Management designation (ARM). He is a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) and a licensed financial advisor. The NC Department of Insurance has certified him as an insurance instructor. He also possesses a Bachelors’ Degree in Actuarial Science.

LexisNexis has twice recognized his blog as one of the Top 25 Blogs on Workers’ Compensation. J&L has been listed in AM Best’s Preferred Providers Directory for Insurance Experts – Workers Compensation for over eight years. He recently won the prestigious Baucom Shine Lifetime Achievement Award for his volunteer contributions to the area of risk management and safety. James was recently named as an instructor for the prestigious Insurance Academy.

James is on the Board of Directors and Treasurer of the North Carolina Mid-State Safety Council. He has published two manuals on Workers’ Compensation and three different claims processing manuals. He has also written and has been quoted in numerous articles on reducing Workers’ Compensation costs for public and private employers. James publishes a weekly newsletter with 7,000 readers.

He currently possess press credentials and am invited to various national Workers Compensation conferences as a reporter.

James’s articles or interviews on Workers’ Compensation have appeared in the following publications or websites:

  • Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS)
  • Entrepreneur Magazine
  • Bloomberg Business News
  • WorkCompCentral.com
  • Claims Magazine
  • Risk & Insurance Magazine
  • Insurance Journal
  • Workers Compensation.com
  • LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites
  • Various trade publications

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