State news briefs: KY mining, NY first responders, OH BWC, SC reform

January 23rd, 2006 by Julie Ferguson

Kentucky: Miner’s Family Wins Increased Death Benefits
Insurance Times reports on a recent Supreme Court ruling that awarded the surviving family members of a deceased Kentucky miner an increased 15% in workers compensation benefits because the company he worked for had violated safety rules. Legal advocates for miners are optimistic that this ruling will set a precedent for this and other industries. Meanwhile, responding to the series of tragedies in West Virginia, calls for increased mining safety are gathering momentum.
New York : Ranks of the dying and disabled 9/11 responders continue to grow
A story in Newsday this week discusses the growing problem of disabled and dying 9/11 first responders. At least 23 former Ground Zero responders have died from diseases related to their exposure to toxic chemicals there, and thousands more are sick and no longer able to work. Many are looking to the federal government to pay for medical treatment and some NY legislators are looking to restore $125 million that had been earmarked for workers’ compensation claims related to Sept. 11 that was later cut from the federal budget.
Ohio: Workers comp bureau tries to recoup losses, restore credibility
A story in the Cleveland Plain Dealer updates us on the beleaguered Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation. The story reports that the Bureau’s surplus is about $850 million, a huge drop from about $6.6 billion five years ago. If no changes are made, the surplus could vanish within the next few years. The Toledo Blade also covers the story, discussing plans to save $425 million by reducing costs and increasing revenue.
South Carolina: Workers’ compensation bills under scrutiny
Governor Mark Sanford has been lobbying support for workers comp reform bills that were recently introduced. An article in The discusses some of the proposed law changes and an article in Insurance Times adds more detail, including the support for the changes by the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America.