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Employers seek to opt out of the comp system

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With plenty of Texas employers satisfied with their ability to opt out of their state's workers compensation system, some employers in neighboring Oklahoma also want the right to do so.

If adopted, Senate Bill 1378 would make Oklahoma only the second state in the nation allowing employers to participate in an alternative system.

Oklahoma Sen. Brian Bingman introduced the bill which would allow any company to voluntarily be exempt from the state's work comp system and become a “qualified employer” if it employs 50 or more workers, has an ex mod greater than 1.00, and has total annual incurred claims greater than $50,000 in at least one of three preceding insurance policy years.

Employers would have to meet other requirements, such as maintaining benefit plans that pay for medical, disability, permanent bodily impairment, death and dismemberment that results from occupational injuries, according to the bill.

Employers who opt out of Texas' work comp system are referred to as nonsubscribers.

“The nonsubscription option allows Texas businesses to utilize their savings (from opting out of the work comp system) to enhance the benefits and safety of their employees; expand their operations; and invest in their communities,” according to the Texas Alliance of Nonsubscribers.

Research conducted by the Texas Department of Insurance and available here shows a higher degree of satisfaction among nonsubscriber employers than those in the traditional system.

About 33% of Texas employers opt to be nonsubscribers according to the 2008 research. We will see if Oklahoma employers get to join them.