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Maryland lawmakers vote to privatize workers compensation insurer

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TOWSON, Md.—Maryland’s state workers compensation insurer will become a private, nonprofit corporation next year after state lawmakers passed legislation to privatize the Injured Workers’ Insurance Fund.

Towson, Md.-based IWIF, Maryland’s largest writer of workers comp insurance, will change its name to Chesapeake Employers’ Insurance Co. as of Oct. 1, 2013, the insurer said in a statement Tuesday. The agency will remain Maryland’s workers comp insurer of last resort after the transition.

“This action will position us for continued success in serving the workers compensation insurance needs of Maryland employers,” IWIF President Thomas Phelan said in the statement. “The legislation will protect IWIF’s surplus and will allow us to remain financially strong. In addition, there will be no change for our policyholders and the insurance agents with whom we partner.”

The privatization bill, S.B. 745, was signed into law by Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley on Tuesday. A separate measure signed Tuesday by the governor requires IWIF to transfer $50 million in surplus funds to the state.