Oklahoma Opt-Out Insurance Takes Major Hit
The fans of Oklahoma Opt-Out Insurance were dealt a five fingered death punch. The Oklahoma Supreme Court just wiped out any semblance of Oklahoma Opt-Out Insurance by ruling it as unconstitutional.
The Oklahoma Workers Comp Commission had already said NO to the opt out option earlier this year.
Will this cause an abrupt increase in Oklahoma’s Workers Comp rates? That is doubtful as the Oklahoma Opt-Out Insurance market was not that significant when compared with the overall Oklahoma WC insurance marketplace. Even if the market was significant, the effect on rates would likely be minimal.
Actually, I am always a proponent of any alternative sources of Workers Comp coverage. One of our core businesses is to aid in finding alternative sources if the usual marketplaces (self insured, large deductible, first dollar, etc.) do not serve the client well.
There are many sources of WC insurance if one just applies oneself to researching the different marketplaces before the last month of the policy. Do not take No for an answer is your best creed here.
In football terms, the Opt-Out market lost 35 – 14 as the Supreme Court Justices ruled 7 – 2 in favor of opting out of opt out insurance.
The case that got the ball rolling to end opt out was Vasquez v. Dillards. Dillards is a very popular department store in Oklahoma. How would I know? I actually grew up there in the oilfields.
Deal Breaker Oklahoma-Opt Out Insurance
According to a very controversial article by ProPublica on Opt Out “Dillard’s employees had to report injuries by the end of the workday and could only appeal in writing to a committee made up of people picked by the company. ”
The appeals going to people picked by the company may not have been the deal-breaker. The requirement to report the injury by the end of the day was really the only part of the article that I found to possibly be excessive.
At the 2016 WCRI Conference, there were two main sessions on this very topic. For WCRI to devote this much time to one certain subject indicated the seriousness of the issue.
Will the case be appealed to the US Supreme Court? One has to wonder if it would even be heard as the US Supreme Court has been very reluctant to consider WC cases. What will the Oklahoma Opt out insurance market do now?
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