Workers Comp Enforcement Increase with HB 237
The Workers Comp enforcement was increased by the NC legislature this week.
The North Carolina Legislature amended House Bill 237 – known as the 2011 Workers Comp reforms. The amendments were in response to a very inquisitive reporter discovering 30,000 employers in North Carolina were uninsured for Workers Compensation. A quick calculation using available data 140,000 properly insured companies + 30,000 uninsured totals 170,000 total companies that should have Workers Comp coverage.
30,000 uninsured / 170,000 total companies = approximately 18%. In very round numbers almost 1 out of 5 companies in North Carolina was uninsured for Workers Comp.
The applicable part of the House Bill that was changed is italicized in the next three paragraphs. I did not include the statute numbers as it may all change, especially if the bill is vetoed. I will come back and enter in that info if the bill is signed into law. The amendments can be found here
Bureau to share information with the North Carolina Industrial Commission. The Bureau shall provide to the North Carolina Industrial Commission information contained in the Bureau’s records indicating the status of workers’ compensation insurance coverage on North Carolina employers as reported to the Bureau by the Bureau’s member companies.
The North Carolina Industrial Commission shall take such steps, including obtaining software or software licenses, as are necessary to be able to receive and process such information from the Bureau. The records provided to the North Carolina Industrial Commission under this section shall be confidential and shall not be public records as that term is defined in G.S. 132-1.
The North Carolina Industrial Commission shall use the information provided pursuant to this section only to carry out its statutory duties and obligations under The North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act. The Bureau shall be immune from civil liability for releasing information pursuant to this section, even if the information is erroneous, provided the Bureau acted in good faith and without malicious or willful intent to harm in releasing the information.”
A great article from the Raleigh News and Observer had criticized part of the House Bill 237 amendments. The article pointed out that some of the new legislation would limit public access to the same information that a reporter used to uncover the 30,000 uninsured employers. The part of the bill that applies to this concern is in bold type.
A caveat to everyone thinking the bill is now law. Governor Perdue has not signed the bill yet and is reviewing it as of the time of this blog post. I will cover the other part of the amendments next time.
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