Montana Governor Reauthorizes WC Study Group LMAC

Press release from the Montana Chamber of Commerce.  Despite significant efforts, the decision for inclusion on the LMAC panel has been limited once again to Labor (unions) and Business.  A special 'permanent' sub-group was created to accomodate most of the parties that complained about the former LMAC operations, such as the Montana Hospital Association.  Unfortunately, independent Third Party Claims Administrators, those that do the actual administration of the claims for Plan 1 self-insured organizations in Montana, were not included in any formal way.  We fear that any outcome of the LMAC will mirror that from the last session of 4 years, a glazing over of the true cost drivers in the system and legislation that favors Plan 2 and Plan 3 entities.  Proof of the failure of the prior reforms to equally protect Plan 1 self-insured organization is clearly in the data, overall costs of claims for Plan 1 entities continue to climb while Montana State Fund has made two base premium adjustments downward.  We question if rates have actually fallen least for our company and those that we have talked with, there have been minor (2% - 5%) reductions.

From the Montana Chamber of Commerce: For immediate release as of Tuesday, May 21, 2013, 1:30 PM

contact Webb Brown 406-431-9508 or

Montana Chamber Applauds LMAC Reauthorization,

Dahlgren as Montana Chamber Representative

The Montana Chamber of Commerce strongly supports the reauthorization of the Labor-Management Advisory Council on Worker's Compensation (LMAC) by Montana Department of Labor and Industry Commissioner Pam Bucy.  The LMAC was created in 2006 to monitor worker's compensation issues and to make policy recommendations to the Department and the Legislature.  After the passage of workers' compensation reforms in the 2011 Legislature, the LMAC disbanded in July of that year.

"The 2011 Legislature passed significant reform of our work comp system," said Webb Brown, President/CEO for the Montana Chamber.  "However, there are still numerous issues that challenge our ability to reduce or even hold premiums steady."

Since the enactment of House Bill 334 in the 2011 Legislature, premium costs have gone down about 25 percent.  Nonetheless, worker's compensation premiums in Montana are still some of the highest in the nation.  Worker's compensation premiums affect every business in Montana and constitute a sizeable operational expense.  Our high premiums also deter businesses from moving to Montana and even cause some to leave.  The LMAC will monitor the effectiveness of the HB 334 reforms and consider new ideas to reform the system.

The LMAC will be chaired by Lt. Gov. John Walsh.  The newly-reauthorized LMAC consists of five representatives from labor and five from management, including specific representation from the Montana Chamber.

"We're pleased that Commissioner Bucy re-appointed Bill Dahlgren, Operations Manager at Sun Mountain Sports, to serve on the Council as our representative," noted Brown.  "Bill knows our worker's compensation system and will be a solid advocate for the business community."

In addition to monitoring the work of the LMAC, the Montana Chamber will participate in the Economic Affairs Interim Committee's House Joint Resolution 25 study of various workers' compensation issues.  The State Chamber will also lead a private-sector effort to review recent Court cases on work comp.

The Montana Chamber is the state's leading business advocate and the driving force in promoting a favorable business climate.