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Bill would cover injured workers of uninsured employers

Bill would cover injured workers of uninsured employers

A Colorado bill seeks to establish a fund that would cover claims for workers injured while working for employers who do not carry workers compensation insurance.

Funding for the Colorado Uninsured Employer Fund envisioned in the Colorado Uninsured Employer Act, or House Bill 17-1119, would come from civil penalties, fines and revenue collected by the state’s Division of Workers’ Compensation from employers who do not carry comp insurance, along with public and private gifts, grants and donations, according to a copy of the bill posted online.

The bill also would create a board of directors to administer the fund, including establishing payment criteria, setting rates, adjusting claims and adopting related rules. Among the board’s responsibilities will be securing a valid lien against the assets of an employer and its principals when a claim is accepted into the uninsured employer fund. Employers who fail to reimburse the fund may be subject to civil action, the bill says.

Those who would be excluded from collecting from the fund include company partners, owners, directors and individuals responsible for obtaining comp insurance who fail to do so. Employees who voluntarily opt out of an eligible comp policy would also be excluded, according to the bill.

The fund would pay for benefits including medical, funeral, temporary disability, death, permanent total and partial disability, and disfigurement, the bill says.

“It is the intent of the General Assembly to require employers to maintain workers compensation insurance and that the requirement be vigorously enforced in order to protect compliant employers from those who would gain a competitive advantage at the expense of the safety and well-being of employees,” the proposal reads.