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BILL AS PASSED BY SENATE 2007-2008

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S.196

AN ACT RELATING TO FAILURE TO INSURE FOR WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COVERAGE BY EMPLOYERS AND CONTRACTORS

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  21 V.S.A. § 690 is amended to read:

§ 690.  CERTIFICATE, FORM; COPY OF POLICY

(a)  An employer subject to the provisions of this chapter who has taken out insurance under sections workers’ compensation insurance coverage pursuant to section 687 or 689 of this title or as provided in subdivisions (a)(1) or (a)(2) of section 687 of this title shall file or cause to be filed with the commissioner, in form prescribed by him, a certificate of the insurance carried by such employer in a form prescribed by the commissionerSuch The certificate shall set forth include the policy number, effective date, date of expiration, operations covered and such other information as the commissioner may require and requests.  The certificate shall be signed by a duly authorized representative of the insurance or guarantee company which has that issued such the insurance coverageSuch Upon request, the insurance or guarantee company shall file with the commissioner, if required by him, a copy of the contract or policy of insurance so issued.

(b)(1)  Upon written request, the commissioner may request from a building or construction industry contractor engaged in the business of nonresidential building or construction a workers’ compensation compliance statement on a form provided by the commissioner.  For the purposes of this subsection, a contractor includes subcontractors and independent contractors.  The form shall require all the following information:

(A)  The number of employees employed during the entire workers’ compensation policy term or the previous year if no policy was in effect or partially in effect prior to the request.

(B)  The total number of hours for which compensation was paid.

(C)  Designation of the hours that were the basis of the appropriate National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) classification code.

(D)  The name of the workers’ compensation insurance carrier, the policy number, and the agent, if any.

(2)  Any contractor who fails to comply with this subsection or falsifies information on the compliance statement may be assessed an administrative penalty of not more than $5,000.00 for each week during which the  noncompliance or falsification occurred and any costs and attorney fees required to enforce this subsection.  The commissioner may also seek injunctive relief in Washington superior court.

(3)  A compliance statement shall be a public record, and the commissioner shall provide a copy of a compliance statement to any person on request.  An insurance company provided with a compliance statement may investigate the information in the statement.  Based on evidence that a contractor is not in compliance with this chapter, the commissioner shall request a compliance statement or an amended compliance statement from the contractor, investigate further, and take appropriate enforcement action.  No contractor shall be required to provide more than one workers’ compensation compliance statement per year, unless requested by the commissioner.

Sec. 2.  21 V.S.A, § 692(a) and (b) are amended to read:

(a)  If after hearing under section 688 of this title, the commissioner determines that an employer has failed to comply with the provisions of section 687 of this title, the employer shall be assessed an administrative penalty of not more than $50.00 $100.00 for every day the employer neglected to secure liability, but in no case shall the fine be more than $5,000.00.

(b)  Additionally, an employer who fails to comply with the provisions of section 687 of this title for a period of five days after notice from the commissioner shall be assessed an administrative penalty of not more than $150.00 $250.00 for every day after five days that the employer fails to secure workers’ compensation coverage as required in section 687 of this title.  The commissioner may, after giving notice and after the expiration of the five-day period, post a notice at a conspicuous place on the premises of the employer informing the employees that their employer has failed to comply with the provisions of section 687 of this title and ordering the premises closed until workers’ compensation insurance is secured.

Sec. 3.  21 V.S.A. § 696 is amended to read:

§ 696.  CANCELLATION OF INSURANCE CONTRACTS

Such a A policy or contract shall not be cancelled within the time limited in such the policy or contract for its expiration, until at least 45 days after a notice of intention to cancel such the policy or contract, on a date specified in such the notice, has been filed in the office of the commissioner and provided to the employer.  Such The notice shall be filed and provided by certified mail or certificate of mailing.  Such The cancellation shall not affect the liability of an insurance carrier on account of an injury occurring prior to such cancellation.

Sec. 4.  21 V.S.A. § 697 is amended to read:

§ 697.  NOTICE OF INTENT NOT TO RENEW POLICY

An insurance carrier who does not intend to renew a policy of workers’ compensation insurance or guarantee contract covering the liability of an employer under the provisions of this chapter, 45 days prior to the expiration of such the policy or contract, shall give notice of such the intention to the commissioner of labor and to the covered employer.  Such The notice shall be given by certified mail or certificate of mailing.  An insurance carrier who fails to give such notice shall continue the policy or contract in force beyond its expiration date for 45 days from the day such the notice is received by the commissioner.  However, this latter provision shall not apply if, prior to such expiration date, the insurance carrier has offered to continue the insurance beyond such the date by delivery of a renewal contract or otherwise or if the employer notifies the insurance carrier that he the employer does not wish the insurance continued beyond such the expiration date, or if the employer complies with the provisions of section 687 of this title, on or before the expiration of the existing insurance or guarantee contract.

Sec. 5.  21 V.S.A. § 708 is amended to read:

§ 708.  PENALTY FOR FALSE REPRESENTATIONS

(a)  Action by the commissioner of labor.  A person who willfully makes a false statement or representation, for the purpose of obtaining any benefit or payment under the provisions of this chapter, either for her or himself or for any other person, after notice and opportunity for hearing may be assessed an administrative penalty of not more than $1,000.00 $5,000.00 total, and shall forfeit all or a portion of any right to compensation under the provisions of this chapter, as determined to be appropriate by the commissioner after a determination by the commissioner that the person has willfully made a false statement or representation of a material fact.

(b)  Action by the commissioner of banking, insurance, securities, and health care administration.  An employer who willfully makes a false statement or representation for the purpose of obtaining a lower workers’ compensation premium, after notice and opportunity for hearing before the commissioner of banking, insurance, securities, and health care administration may be assessed an administrative penalty of not more than $5,000.00 in addition to any other appropriate penalty.  In addition to any other remedy provided by law, the commissioner of banking, insurance, securities, and health care administration may pursue the collection of the administrative penalty imposed by this section in Washington superior court.

Sec. 6.  PROOF OF INSURANCE; STUDY; COMMISSIONER OF LABOR

The commissioner of labor shall study the feasibility and cost associated with making the National Council on Compensation Insurance proof of coverage services available to the public as a workers’ compensation coverage verification through the department of labor’s website.  The commissioner shall present findings and recommendations to the senate committee on economic development, housing and general affairs and to the house committees on commerce and on general, housing and military affairs on or before January 15, 2008.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us