News Digest 7/21/2008

By: Rick Waldinger

Quote of the day

"Criminal conduct isn't defined in the statute. That's going to be done on a case by case basis."

Richard Lajeunesse, law judge, Utah Labor Commission, about a new law that allows insurance companies to deny benefits to workers who commit crimes

Go to the full story in ABC4 News (Salt Lake City)

Controversial Beehive State Law Hinges Benefits on Behavior
Only law-abiding injured workers may collect worker’s compensation benefits in Utah, as a result of a new law that took effect this month. But under the law, which applicant attorneys contend targets illegal immigrants, workers whose benefits are in jeopardy will not know what constitutes criminal behavior until they get a hearing. By Marcos Ortiz, ABC4 News (Salt Lake City) [with photo] Go to the Full Story…

CRM Holdings Announces Affirmation of Majestic’s Rating by A.M. Best
CRM Holdings, Ltd. announces that A.M. Best Co. removed from under review and affirmed the financial strength rating of A- (Excellent) of CRM’s wholly owned primary insurance subsidiary, Majestic Insurance Co. Fox Business
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Hawkeye State Targets ‘Big Problem’ of Misclassification
Iowa Gov. Chet Culver signs an executive order that forms a task force on employee misclassification, a practice some say the construction industry uses to hire illegal workers. According to Iowa Department of Revenue Director Mark Schuling, who will be a member of the task force, “My guess is this is a big problem in the state of Iowa.” By Fred Love, Mason City Globe Gazette
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Beaver State Agency’s Decision Riles Providers
In Oregon, doctors, physical therapists and other medical providers have been emailing the state Workers’ Compensation Division since a recent ruling regarding how fees are paid, warning that they might start refusing workers’ comp cases if the decision stands. By Anne Saker, the Oregonian
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Mountain State Arena Baller Sues for Gridiron Injury
A player for the Huntington Heroes arena football team sues the team and its owner, claiming that workers’ compensation did not cover his knee injury, in violation of his contract. The player claims he cannot have his surgery because BrickStreet denied his claim. By Cara Bailey, West Virginia Record
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Scheme Nets Bay Stater Nine Years in the Pen
A North Dartmouth, Mass. man, who operated various temporary employment agencies with his wife, is sentenced to nine years in prison and ordered to pay $12.1 million in restitution in what may be the Bay State’s largest-ever “cash wage” scheme to avoid tax and workers compensation obligations. By Jay Fitzgerald, Boston Herald
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Empire State Workers Decry Closings of Workers’ Comp Centers
As part of New York legislators’ efforts to close a $5 billion projected budget gap, the state Workers’ Compensation Board plans to shutter 11 of its 30 service centers statewide, a development that likely will be extremely unpopular with injured workers who will have to travel farther to attend their hearings. By Rick Karlin, Albany Times Union
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Former State Workers Nabbed in New York
Two former New York State employees are arrested and charged with fraudulently receiving workers’ compensation benefits by misrepresenting their employment status.
Go to the full story in the North Country Gazette
Go to the full story in the Hudson Valley Press

Montana’s Rates Make It Extra Tough for Small Biz: NFIB
Less than half of Montana small business owners can afford healthcare for their employees or themselves, but the state goes an extra step in making it particularly difficult to start and maintain a small business by also having the fifth highest workers’ compensation rates in the country. The National Federation of Independent Business is hosting a seminar in Billings on July 31 on obtaining healthcare and saving money on workers’ comp premiums. Big Sky Business Journal
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