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Ore. workers comp self-insurance trust must increase security deposit


Oregon’s largest workers compensation self-insurance trust, with about 200 employer members, must increase its security deposit by Aug. 7 or face decertification, potentially leaving its members liable for existing claims.

Oregon’s Department of Consumer and Business Services warned in a letter mailed Friday to members and former members of the Oregon Employers Trust Inc. that the trust’s state-required security deposit must increase from $3.2 million to $3.95 million by Aug. 7 or the employers will have to purchase workers comp insurance effective Aug. 8.

So far the trust has not been able to meet the requirement, according to the state which has begun preliminary measures to decertify. The trust is administered by Empire Pacific Risk Management Inc.

Members of such trusts are “jointly and severally liable” for the group’s liabilities, meaning if OET stops operating then individual members and former members are liable for all claims not covered by the trust’s security deposit.

The trust encountered financial trouble because assessments or premiums paid by members are not adequate to cover future claims “given the significant increase in the group’s membership and potential risk,” according to state documents.

In 2012, Oregon notified the trust that it had to increase its security deposit from $791,000 to the current $3.2 million due to membership growth and increased potential for claims.

The trust’s 200 employer members account for nearly $829 million in annual payroll and range from small nonprofit organizations to large businesses, including agriculture, construction and manufacturing companies, according to the state.