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General Laws

Section 25A. In order to promote the health, safety and welfare of employees, every employer shall provide for the payment to his employees of the compensation provided for by this chapter in the following manner:

(1) By insurance with an insurer or by membership in a workers’ compensation self-insurance group, established pursuant to the provisions of sections twenty-five E to twenty-five U, inclusive, or

(2) Subject to the rules of the department, by obtaining from the department annually a license as a self-insurer by conforming to the provisions of one of the two following subparagraphs and also to the provisions of subparagraph (c) if required. Every employer desiring to be licensed as a self-insurer shall make application for such license on a form provided by the department. The application shall contain: (1) a sworn itemized statement of the assets and liabilities of the applicant; (2) a payroll report for the preceding fiscal year of the applicant; (3) a detailed description of the nature and kind of business carried on.

(a) By keeping on deposit with the state treasurer in trust for the benefit and security of employees such amount of securities, not less in market value than twenty thousand dollars, as may be required by the department, said securities to be in the form of cash, bonds, stocks or other evidences of indebtedness as the department may require, and to be used, liquidated and disbursed only upon order of the department for the purposes of paying the benefits provided for by this chapter. The department shall, at least semiannually, determine the liabilities of a self-insurer both incurred or to be incurred because of personal injuries to employees under this chapter. The department shall require an additional deposit or further security when the sum of the self-insurer’s liability both incurred or to be incurred exceeds the deposit or any required reinsurance, or permit a decrease of said deposit provided the value of said deposit in no case shall be less than twenty thousand dollars. The department may permit a substitution of securities in place of those deposited. Interest, dividends and other income from said deposit or deposits shall be payable to the employer who deposited them, unless and until the department shall direct otherwise. The deposit or deposits may be returned to the employer if the employer shall insure with an insurer under paragraph (1) of this section, or qualify as a self-insurer under subparagraph (b) of this section, or if he shall cease to transact business in the commonwealth; provided, that in any case he satisfies the department that he is not under any obligation to pay compensation under this chapter, or, if the department so requires, he furnishes the department with a single premium non-cancellable policy, insuring him against any liability that may have arisen under this chapter or with a bond executed as surety by some company authorized to transact the business of workers’ compensation insurance in this commonwealth, in an amount and form approved by the department, guaranteeing the payment of any liability on his part that may have arisen under this chapter. No deposit so deposited shall be assignable or subject to attachment or be liable in any way for the debt of the self-insurer. If an employer engaged in interstate or foreign commerce certifies that the laws of the United States provide for liability for injury to or death of its employees, the deposit shall be returned to the employer less such amount as determined by the department as necessary to satisfy against liability that may already have arisen under this chapter; and provided that such determination by the department shall be reviewable by the superior court for the county in which the employer resides, or, in the case of a corporation, where said corporation has a usual place of business.

(b) By furnishing annually a bond running to the commonwealth, with some surety company authorized to transact business in the commonwealth as surety, in such form as may be approved by the department and in such amount not less than twenty thousand dollars as may be required by the department, said bond, however, to be upon the condition that if the license of the principal shall be revoked or if the principal shall cease to transact business in the commonwealth or if the department shall refuse to renew the license or if the principal shall insure with an insurer, the principal shall upon demand deposit with the state treasurer an amount of securities equal to the penal sum of the bond or a single premium non-cancellable policy issued by some insurance company authorized to transact the business of workers’ compensation insurance in this commonwealth, insuring him against any liability that may have arisen under this chapter or a bond executed as surety by some company authorized to transact the business aforesaid in this commonwealth, in an amount and form approved by the department, guaranteeing the payment of any liability on his part that may have arisen under this chapter. The department shall, at least semiannually, determine the liabilities of a self-insurer both incurred or to be incurred because of personal injuries to employees under this chapter. The department may at any time require an additional bond, similarly conditioned, or further security or permit a decrease in the amount of said bond provided the amount of the bond or the bonds in no case shall be less than twenty thousand dollars. The liability of the surety shall not exceed in the aggregate the penal sum or sums stated in any such annual bond or bonds or in any endorsements giving effect to any such increase or reduction. The department may permit a substitution of a new bond or bonds for the bond or bonds which have been furnished and shall return the old bond or bonds to the self-insurer as soon as a new annual bond has been obtained.

(c) As a further guarantee of a self-insurer’s ability to pay the benefits provided for by this chapter to injured employees, every self-insurer shall make arrangements satisfactory to the department, by reinsurance, to protect it from extraordinary losses or losses caused by one disaster.

Such reinsurance shall be in such amounts and form as the department may approve and shall be effected with a company as provided in section twenty of chapter one hundred and seventy-five, provided, the minimum amount shall be not less than five hundred thousand dollars. Such reinsurance shall provide that the use or disposition of any money received by a self-insurer or former self-insurer under any such reinsurance shall be subject to the approval of the department, and no such money shall be assignable or subject to attachment or be liable in any way for the debt of the self-insurer unless incurred under this chapter. The provisions of this paragraph shall not apply to common carriers by railroad which are subject to the provisions of the Federal Employers Liability Act.

(3) The department may make rules governing self-insurers, and may revoke or refuse to renew the license of a self-insurer because of the failure of such self-insurer promptly to make payments of compensation provided for by this chapter, or for any other reasonable cause. Any person aggrieved by the action of the department in refusing to grant a license or in revoking, or refusing to renew, a license of a self-insurer under this section or by the action of the department in requiring an additional deposit or further security under subparagraph (a) of this section, or in requiring a further bond or security for an additional sum under subparagraph (b) of this section may demand a hearing before the department, and if, after said hearing, the department denies his petition, he may within ten days after receipt of a notice stating reasons for such denial, file a petition in the superior court for Suffolk county for a review thereof; but the filing of such a petition shall not suspend the action of the department unless a stay thereof shall be allowed by the justice pending a final determination by the court. The court shall summarily hear the petition and may make any appropriate order or decree.

(4)(a) The commissioner of insurance shall require each insurer issuing a policy under this chapter to offer, as a part of the policy or as an optional endorsement to the policy, deductibles, including reasonable small deductibles optional to the policyholder for benefits payable under this chapter. Deductible amounts offered shall be fully disclosed to the prospective policyholders in writing in amounts determined by the commissioner. The policyholder exercising the deductible option shall choose only one deductible amount.

(b) If the policyholder exercises the option and chooses a deductible, the insured employer shall be liable for the amount of the deductible for benefits paid for each compensable claim of work injury suffered by an employee or, at the option of the policyholder, an aggregate deductible as determined by the commissioner. The insurer shall pay all or part of the deductible amount, whichever is applicable, to a compensable claim, to the person or medical provider entitled to the benefits conferred by this chapter and then seek reimbursement from the insured employer for the applicable deductible amount. The payment or nonpayment of deductible amounts by the insured employer to the insurer shall be treated under the policy insuring the liability for workers’ compensation in the same manner as payment or nonpayment of premiums.

(c) Optional deductibles shall be offered in each policy insuring liability for workers’ compensation that is issued, delivered, issued for delivery, or renewed under this chapter on or after a date to be determined by the commissioner, unless an insured employer and insurer agree to renegotiate a workers’ compensation policy in effect, so as to include a provision allowing for a deductible.

(d) Premium reductions for deductibles shall be determined by the commissioner of insurance.

(e) This subsection shall not apply to employers who are approved to self-insure against liability for workers’ compensation or group self-insurance funds for workers’ compensation established pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.

(f) The commissioner of insurance may promulgate regulations to enforce the provisions of this section.

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