Workers Compensation Fund Sues State

Workers Compensation Fund Sues State

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(Salt Lake City-AP) -- Utah's Workers Compensation Fund has sued the state over who owns the fund's assets, a necessary step if the fund's for-profit arm is to be able to sell services to other states.

The nine-page complaint filed in Third District Court today claims policyholders own W-C-F -- that is, that it's a mutual insurance company that long ago settled any debt it had to the state.

But state Auditor Auston Johnson says the state owns the assets.

He says W-C-F was created by the Legislature, the governor appoints the board and the fund officials have to go to the Legislature for anything they want. They are not a private company."

Fund managers want legislators to fully privatize the W-C-F, which would allow the nonprofit fund to conduct more for-profit business outside Utah.

Last week, the fund announced it would divest its for-profit subsidiary, Advantage Worker Compensation Insurance Company, which would become a publicly traded stock company. Shares would be distributed to fund policyholders as a special dividend.

But the state's claim of ownership now clouds the fund's chances to divest Advantage.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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