Interesting topic we ran across through various sources that discusses proposed legislation in Arkansas that would look to put an end to the decades old Death and Permanent Total Disability Fund. Proponents of the bill, including Fund CEO Barbara Webb, feel the current state of affairs in Arkansas, including lower return on investments, lower interest rates, increased claim volume, and increasing wage benefits have left the Fund with current liability of $131 million which would render the Fund insolvent in 6-12 years. Opponents of the bill, including Arkansas Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Randy Zook, feel reform is certainly needed, but the proposed legislation would place an undue burden on employers and business in Arkansas, and reform should be addressed in its entirety during the 2017 session rather than in a three day special session.
This is a textbook example of the need to have a plan in place to address longstanding legacy files. If left unattended, these files can quickly spiral out of control resulting in huge lifetime costs to the employer, carrier, excess carrier, or state fund. While it is impossible to settle every claim, every time, there are many instances where the approach made to settle a file might vary slightly from the traditional path to resolution. All avenues should be explored with frequency in an effort to reign in the exorbitant cost incurred from hanging on to these longstanding legacy claims too long.