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Arizona
SCF Board Approves $70 Million Dividend Payout
SCF Arizona’s Board of Directors unanimously approved Wednesday a $70 million dividend for 2006 to qualified policyholders, which is a $10 million increase over last year’s payout.

SCF policyholders that maintain good safety records and keep their workers’ compensation insurance costs in check receive a portion of the dividend.

“We’ve had a very good year at SCF Arizona, which is why we can increase the dividend to our policyholders,” said Board Chair Jim Weeks. “But we can only do this because of the effectiveness and efficiency of the SCF management team and employees, and on behalf of the entire board, I want to thank them and congratulate them on another tremendous year.”

Each qualified policyholder receives an amount that is determined by its annual premium and incurred losses (claims). SCF has returned a dividend to qualified policyholders every year since 1970, totaling more than $1.1 billion since 1970.

SCF President & CEO Don Smith said dividends are not guaranteed and are dependent upon the company’s financial performance for that year. “We are very please to have had a good year, which was the result of favorable operating, and investment performance.” He added, “However, we can never forget that workers’ compensation business can be volatile and investment returns uncertain. That is why dividends are never guaranteed into the future.”

“We congratulate all of our policyholders who will earn a dividend this year through managing their losses and keeping their workplaces safe,” Smith said.

As Arizona’s largest provider of workers’ compensation insurance, SCF Arizona provides coverage to more than 54,000 companies doing business in the state. It will begin mailing dividend checks later this year.

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Colorado
Pinnacol Assurance

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Kentucky
Having celebrated ten successful years of providing workers’ compensation insurance to the businesses of Kentucky, KEMI was pleased to announce the release of its 2005 annual report in May. The report was developed internally by KEMI’s communications staff and is available exclusively online at
kemi.com; a measure that represents cost savings for KEMI and policyholders – saving thousands of dollars in creative development, printing, and distribution expenses.

KEMI was recently honored as one of the top ten best places to work in Kentucky. The organization ranked number 7 among large companies having 200 or more employees in a competition conducted by Best Companies Group and ModernThink, LLC in conjunction with the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and the Kentucky Society for Human Resource Management.

A.M. Best Company has again affirmed its Best’s Rating of A- (Excellent) to Kentucky Employers’ Mutual Insurance (KEMI). KEMI is the largest writer of workers’ compensation insurance in Kentucky, writing $183 million in premium in 2005 and insuring businesses located in all 120 counties of the Commonwealth. Receiving a financial strength rating of A- (Excellent) for the 6th consecutive year provides a high comfort level for KEMI’s 23,000 plus policyholders.

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Louisiana
LWCC Announces Management Promotions
Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Corporation (LWCC) has announced the promotion of Natalie Howell to director of accounting and compliance and Jeremy Guillory to internal audit manager.


Natalie Howell

Howell joined LWCC in 1997 as internal audit manager. She previously was a senior consultant for Information Engineering Systems Corporation in Alexandria, Va., and was assistant vice president of forecasting and analysis for Texas Mutual Insurance Company (formerly known as the Texas Workers’ Compensation Insurance Fund). Howell received a B.S. degree in accounting from Texas State University and an M.S. degree in management information systems from Louisiana State University. She holds designations as both a certified public accountant and certified internal auditor.

Jeremy Guillory

Guillory joined LWCC in 2003 as senior internal auditor. He previously was an internal auditor for FedEx Corporation in Memphis, Tenn. Guillory earned a B.S. degree in business management and an M.B.A. degree in internal audit and information systems from Louisiana State University. He holds designations as both a certified internal auditor and certified information systems auditor.

Record $19.6 Million Dividend Declared
LWCC announced in June that it will pay a $19.6 million dividend to qualified policyholders. LWCC’s Board of Directors declared the dividend, which is believed to be the largest ever paid in Louisiana by a workers’ compensation insurer, topping the $15.8 million LWCC returned to policyholders last year.

This is LWCC’s third consecutive year to pay a dividend to its policyholders, totaling $45.4 million cumulatively. Individual awards are based upon a calculation taking into account the policyholder’s earned premium and a measure of profitability for the individual account for the previous five-year period.

LWCC has about 23,000 policyholders, representing a market share of more than one-third of Louisiana’s total workers’ comp premium.

$27,000 Donated to Scholarship Fund for Accident Victims’ Children
LWCC Chairman Aubrey Temple and President/CEO Kristin Wall presented a check in the amount of $27,000 to the Louisiana Bar Foundation to support its Kids’ Chance Scholarship Program at a banquet held May 8 at the Country Club of Louisiana in Baton Rouge. The program provides monetary assistance to children of work-related accident victims.

The ceremony followed the third annual LWCC-Kids’ Chance Invitational Golf Tournament, which raises money for the scholarship fund. Including the $27,000 collected from the May 8 tournament, the event over the past three years has raised about $80,000 designated for scholarships to children of Louisiana employees injured or killed on the job

“Although workers’ compensation insurance provides financial assistance to families when a parent is hurt on the job, there are still many unmet needs such as school tuition, books, fees, and general living expenses,” said Wall. “LWCC is honored to help fill in the financial assistance gap for these deserving young students.”

LWCC Responds after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita
Decisive actions taken by LWCC in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita last year demonstrated compassion for policyholders and agents but have also improved the company’s best practices for the long term. Soon after the devastating storms, LWCC formed a wide-ranging task force representing the areas of claims, loss prevention, underwriting, audit, and finance to address the unique problems facing businesses during post-hurricane disaster recovery efforts.

The company extended coverage in excess of requirements mandated by the Louisiana State Emergency Rulings to ensure that proper communication and ample opportunity would be given to affected policyholders and agents. In addition, LWCC provided office space for some of its agents impacted by the hurricanes. The company also participated in meetings held by the Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission to provide information on safety hazards created by Katrina as well as those resulting from the recovery efforts and how these exposures could be best controlled. “We tried to be a very compassionate carrier in working with our agents and policyholders. Doing the right thing was in the forefront of our minds,” says Lauri Pasqua, Assistant Vice President of Policyholder Services.

LWCC saw a significant increase in new business ventures formed to become a part of the post-hurricane cleanup and rebuilding efforts. The company required that new accounts be registered with Louisiana’s Secretary of State and Department of Revenue. Spearheaded by the task force, LWCC provided loss-prevention services, inspections, and test audits for 100% of the new accounts that came in. “LWCC took a hard look at these new applicants to make sure we understood the nature of their business and the potential injury exposure,” says Dave Dommert, Executive Vice President of Production. “Our loss-prevention consultants went on-site to evaluate their safety and training programs because of the inherent dangers in all recovery jobs.”

Pasqua notes that the task force formalized a plan quickly, putting a new methodology and processes in place to meet the emergency needs of a difficult situation. “We improved our best practices as a whole,” she says. “We’ll be a better carrier in the long run—a much stronger company because of the lessons learned.”

LWCC is a private, nonprofit mutual insurance company. It is the state’s largest writer of workers’ compensation insurance, covering about 23,000 policyholders and 34 percent of the insured market in Louisiana. The company carries an “A” (Excellent) rating from A.M. Best and, for the fourth year in a row, was named one of the top 50 property and casualty insurance companies in the nation by Ward Group, the leading authority on insurance industry benchmarking.

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Maine
AM Best Rating
MEMIC's A (Excellent) rating was affirmed in June by A.M. Best for the 7th consecutive year. After its review, Best reported that MEMIC and The MEMIC Group remains "A" (Excellent) while MEMIC Indemnity Company remains "A-" (Excellent). Best analysts noted they see the outlook for both companies as "stable."

Magazine Cover
MEMIC made the cover of Risk and Insurance magazine’s May 2006 issue. The cover story deciphered the often misleading rankings published on the country's most dangerous jobs. MEMIC was noted for transforming the dangerous Maine logging business through its logger safety certification program. Pictured on the cover was Dan Cote, MEMIC’s senior vice president of loss control and safety. Andy Wood, a MEMIC safety trainer for the logging program, appeared in an accompanying photograph.

Ergonomics Symposium
In May, MEMIC teamed up with the University of Southern Maine (USM) to host the first annual Northern New England Ergo Symposium. The event marked the expanding partnership between MEMIC and USM to reduce workplace injuries through the science of ergonomics. Nearly 200 gathered to learn practical tips, discuss current issues and see the latest in ergonomic tools. Among the speakers was the head of the ergonomics program at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Dr. Tom Waters.

Media Campaign
This spring, MEMIC began a media campaign titled "A Better, Safer Place to Work" to remind its customers and the public about its efforts in workers’ compensation. The campaign was launched with two 30-second TV commercials airing for six weeks. The first advertisement depicted the dramatic reduction in workplace injuries since MEMIC’s inception. The second illustrated MEMIC’s commitment to compassionate and effective care for injured workers. A third commercial will air this fall highlighting the more than $59M in dividends and returned capital that has been sent back to policyholders since 1998. A follow-up survey indicated that the advertisements are making an impact. In general, those who recalled viewing the advertisements indicated a positive view of MEMIC.

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Montana
New Claims processing software unveiled
Montana State Fund recently launched a new processing system to handle all claims. The new system, known as ClaimCenter, replaces a legacy system and will greatly enhance adjuster productivity and claim processing. An interdisciplinary team of twenty-five MSF staff members worked with the vendor (GuideWire) to implement the system. The launch went off without a glitch, and the use of ClaimCenter is already proving to be a more efficient, cost effective, claim management tool for the organization.

Dividend Announced
The MSF Board authorized a $5 million dividend payment to qualifying policyholders. This will be the eighth consecutive year MSF rewarded customers with superior safety records. Over 18,500 policyholders of record for the period of July 1, 2003 – June 30, 2004 will receive dividends.

"Dividends reward policyholders who provide a safe workplace for their employees,” said Ed Henrich, Chairman of the Board of Directors. “Besides being an added incentive to those employers who focus on safety, this is money that stays in Montana and is put back to work in our businesses and communities.”

Since 1998, Montana State Fund has awarded $41 million in general dividend payments to deserving policyholders.

Human Service customers attend training
Eighty policyholders and workers employed in the Human Services field (mental health settings) attended a safety training hosted by MSF. The day long event was organized in response to a high number of injuries with our human services customers. The seminar featured Kevin Ann Huckershorn, a nationally recognized speaker with the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, as well as a panel of human services professionals from across Montana.

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North Dakota
North Dakota’s Workforce Safety & Insurance (WSI) has created a performance-based incentive program that gives state employers the opportunity to receive a premium discount if they meet specific claim frequency and severity rates or remain loss free during their annual reporting period. The goal of the program is to spend less time completing paperwork and more time developing proactive and productive safety programs. There is no paperwork or audit process involved!

All policyholders are automatically enrolled in the Risk Management Program Plus. Employers are now eligible for discounts of up to 15 percent of their premium based upon on their reductions in the frequency (total number of claims) and the severity (total number of days lost from work directly related to an injury) of their claims from the previous year.

An employer receives 5 percent discounts for achieving either a reduction in frequency or severity or 15 percent for achieving reductions in both. If an employer continues with zero claims, they automatically receive the 15 percent premium discount. For more details on the program please visit our website.

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Oklahoma
Governor Awards CompSource Oklahoma for Cost, Time Savings
CompSource Oklahoma won two Governor’s Commendations for Excellence at the 2006 Quality Oklahoma Team Day event held at the Oklahoma state capitol on May 2. This annual event allows state agencies to showcase exceptional work serving Oklahoma by submitting nominations for projects that warrant recognition for superior customer service, cutting red tape, cost saving measures, improved operating efficiencies or empowering employees.

CompSource submitted two projects this year. One was our workers’ compensation PPO with Blue Cross Blue Shield yielding $9 million in savings since its inception three years ago. CompSource entered the PPO arrangement with the goal of reducing medical costs while ensuring quality health care to injured workers. This goal is being accomplished with the program.

The other project, our Remote Safety Verification Program (RSVP), streamlines and improves safety services to policyholders. RSVP utilizes a mobile central processing unit to improve the speed and submission quality of policyholder safety information to the underwriting team. It also reduces time spent scanning documents into the in-house network.

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Oregon
SAIF executives to travel throughout Oregon in 2006
Beginning in August, SAIF Corporation President and CEO Brenda JP Rocklin and other top SAIF executives will visit and work from each of SAIF's nine branch offices. The executives will meet with employers and injured workers to improve their understanding of the issues they face and to make a stronger connection to the local communities served by SAIF. They will also speak to service groups, business associations, and other community forums in the nine regions they visit.

SAIF announces plans to unveil new logo late this summer
Since mid-2005, SAIF has been involved in a comprehensive brand evaluation and plans to publicly release a new logo around September 1. The logo will incorporate the results of months of research and analysis and will represent the combined input of SAIF's rebranding project team and ID Branding, the national branding and advertising firm retained by SAIF to assist with the brand initiative. SAIF will also carry out a complete redesign of many of its products and experiences to reflect the new brand identity.

Rocklin delivers Final Report to the Governor
On April 25, SAIF President and CEO Brenda JP Rocklin released her Final Report to the Governor. The 120-page report, available at
www.saif.com, is a follow up to her Initial Report to the Governor which was published in 2005.

The Initial Report to the Governor identified areas in which the company needed to improve. The Final Report to the Governor outlines the steps SAIF has taken over the past year, measures the company's progress, and highlights the areas in which SAIF has excelled.

SAIF's 2005 Annual Report published with fresh new look
The 2005 SAIF Corporation Annual Report, Leadership Principles, was delivered to the legislature and governor in mid-April. The report was a departure from the immediate past and emphasized SAIF's identity, beliefs, and guiding principles.

The report is the first major step in reintroducing SAIF Corporation to Oregon. It is less visually connected to the current SAIF brand in preparation for a change in that identity that will occur later this year. Its design is simple, clean, and strong to convey financial stability and confidence. The report has been positively received by SAIF stakeholders and is available at www.saif.com.

Online Bill Pay a success with policyholders
Online Bill Pay, unveiled in early March, allows nearly 33,000 installment-billed policyholders to authorize one-time or automatically recurring payments to their account. In the first two months, over $132,000 in premium was paid online, and the number of policyholders who use the service continues to increase.

Oregon workplace death rate hits record low
The Department of Consumer and Business Services recently announced that 2005 marked a record low in the number of fatalities among workers covered by Oregon's workers' compensation system. Over the past several decades, the number of Oregonians killed on the job has continued to decline. In 2005, there were 31 reported deaths, compared to 46 in 2004. In the 1990s, there was an average of 55 deaths per year.

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Price Edward Island
The Minister responsible for the Occupational Health and Safety Act, Hon. Elmer MacFadyen, tabled Bill #25, An Act to Amend the Occupational Health and Safety Act on March 31, 2006 which received second reading on April 5, 2006. The amendments have now been proclaimed as the Legislature just recently closed during the week of May 22/06 and the amendments are effective from this point on.

The amendments will provide for the following:

  1. an increase in the maximum fine the Court can impose on an employer or worker who has contravened the Occupational Health and Safety Act or regulations from $50,000 to $250,000. This amendment was recommended by both the Occupational Health and Safety Advisory Council and the Workers Compensation Board, after considerable consultation with representatives from employer and worker organizations.
  2. the disclosure of information for the purposes of administering any other legislation that is administered by the Workers Compensation Board. They will facilitate information sharing among the staff of the Workers Compensation Board, subject to Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIPP) legislation and Board policy, so that decisions can be made in a more timely fashion.

A copy of the Bill is available on the PEI Government's Legislative Assembly web site under "progress of bills". If you require further information on these amendments, please feel free to contact George Stewart, Director of Occupational Health and Safety at 902-368-5562 or to email by clicking here.

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Texas

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