While we are on the topic of State Funds, Wyoming has been in quite a few online Workers Compensation publications with their huge surplus. Basically, the two basic questions that are being asked are:
- What do they do with the surplus?
- How did Wyoming get to have such a surplus?
The Wyoming surplus issue is complicated. We will address the first bullet point today and cover the second one in the next blog post.
It is, and has been, our opinion that any surplus that involves a Workers Comp Fund surplus should be returned to the employers. The surplus clearly indicates that Wyoming has been overcharging their employers for years. Refunding the Workers Comp premiums pro-rata should be the way to go. If the surplus was very small then, the State Fund of Wyoming should retain it to pay claims. I understand the surplus to be $925,000,000. That is not a small surplus for Wyoming. One may equate the return of premiums as a business stimulus. We would have to look at the numbers to see the amount of the surplus that should be returned to the employers.
One article that I read indicated that the injured employees were the ones that were shortchanged. I would have to disagree with that totally as there has never been a study conducted anywhere at any time that indicated that underpaying employees caused a surplus in a State Fund’s premium. If the employee benefits were to increase that would affect only the FUTURE premiums, not the current and past ones.
One area that seems to have arisen in North Dakota with no conclusions drawn there is that too many claims were denied, and that increased the surplus. I will write a blog on that in a following post about the process of a litigated Workers Comp claim in a monopolistic state such as Wyoming or North Dakota. Could the claims process in a monopolistic Workers Compensation state be unfair? Possibly.
Next Up – Analyzing the Amount of the Surplus that should be returned.