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The Montana State Fund has declared a record dividend of $40 million to be paid to qualifying policyholders, bringing the total returned to policyholders since 1999 to $216 million.
The average dividend for qualified policyholders represents nearly 28% of their paid premium, the state’s largest workers compensation insurer said Tuesday in a statement.
“By making workplace safety a priority, we continue to ensure that Montanans come home safely after their shift ends,” said Gov. Steve Bullock in the statement. “As a result, employers are able to invest more of their hard-earned dollars in business, in their employees, and in our state’s economy.”
The state fund’s chairman, Lance Zanto, also commented on the record dividend: “I am proud of our policyholders, the employers and workers who emphasize workplace safety. Without their efforts, this dividend would not be possible. I also thank the Montana State Fund team — including the board, management team and staff — who have worked hard to put us in a strong financial position so we can send a record $40 (million) to our policyholders, many of whom are the small businesses that make up the backbone of the Montana economy.”
Meanwhile, Montana is among the highest in the nation in workplace accidents and fatalities, the fund reported. From logging, mining and agriculture, to clerical or the hospitality industry, Montana experiences 1.5 times higher accident frequency than the national average, according to the fund.
“Although we are making progress in terms of workplace safety, there is much room for improvement. It is important that Montana employers and workers remain dedicated to improving the Montana safety culture, necessary to not only save lives, but to also reduce workers’ compensation costs. We want to see workers returning home to their families at the end of the day, instead of going to the emergency room — or worse. That is why we are proud to reward the safety successes of our policyholders with this dividend,” said fund President and CEO Laurence Hubbard in the statement.
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock has signed a law that will remove a key requirement for captive companies organized as reciprocal insurers and allow captives to enter dormancy.