The playing field is not level in Montana for WC Insurers. Montana State Fund pays no premium tax, (savings 3% – 6%), has immunity from punitive damages in any extra-contractual or third party bad faith claim, has no obligation to take any business from agents that have less than $300,000 in written WC premium (minimum level for which MSF will consider an agency appointment) forcing small accounts to apply direct (savings – 10% commission), and all of its workers are State of Montana workers, the only state workers that can receive performance and financial incentive bonuses. All this and yet MSF claims that they are the ‘insurer of last resort’, while actively competing against Plan 2 ‘for profit’ insurance companies for the ‘good business’.
Workers’ compensation fraud laws in Montana are another example of a playing field that is not level, Plan 2 insurers have the Dept of Insurance Fraud unit to investigate and prosecute potential fraud cases, Plan 3 Montana State Fund has it’s own internal unit of licensed peace officers who investigate and cooperate with the state Dept of Justice to prosecute suspected fraud cases…all funded with premium dollars via the State of Montana…Plan 1 organizations, self-insureds, have no such system nor immunity from actions arising out of investigation or prosecution of suspected fraud cases. Example of Plan 3 prosecuting a case that would not be available to a self-insured organization: