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A bill that would set up a state-monitored workers compensation insurance company in Illinois passed the state House of Representatives in a 62-43 vote Thursday.
H.B. 4595, sponsored by five Democrats, would “establish the Illinois Employers Mutual Insurance Co. as a nonprofit, independent public corporation to insure Illinois employers against liability for workers compensation and occupational disease coverage.” Proponents have said the new not-for-profit company would help drive down workers compensation insurance costs for employers.
A $10 million state loan to start the company is included in the bill.
Rep. Laura Fine, D-Glenview, has said the company would help compete with private insurers who haven't lowered premium rates reflected by cost-saving changes they made in 2011, according to the Associated Press.
Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed similar legislation last year.
Meanwhile, the Washington, D.C.-based American Insurance Association issued a statement Friday against the bill.
"Putting the state in the workers compensation business is the wrong idea at the wrong time," said Steve Schneider, AIA's vice president for state affairs, Midwest region, said in the press statement. “There is simply no need for the government to enter the market."
Recently adopted amendments to legislation to revamp Illinois' workers compensation standards for causation, what portion insurers must pay and what constitutes a traveling employee are adding to uncertainty about the bill's fate, experts say.