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102.81 Compensation for injured employee of uninsured employer.
(a) If an employee of an uninsured employer, other than an employee who is eligible to receive alternative benefits under s. 102.28 (3), suffers an injury for which the uninsured employer is liable under s. 102.03, the department or the department's reinsurer shall pay to or on behalf of the injured employee or to the employee's dependents an amount equal to the compensation owed them by the uninsured employer under this chapter except penalties and interest due under ss. 102.16 (3), 102.18 (1) (b) 3. and (bp), 102.22 (1), 102.35 (3), 102.57, and 102.60.
(b) The department shall make the payments required under par. (a) from the uninsured employers fund, except that if the department has obtained reinsurance under sub. (2) and is unable to make those payments from the uninsured employers fund, the department's reinsurer shall make those payments according to the terms of the contract of reinsurance.
1. The department shall pay a claim under par. (a) in excess of $1,000,000 from the uninsured employers fund in the first instance. If the claim is not covered by excess or stop-loss reinsurance under sub. (2), the secretary of administration shall transfer from the appropriation account under s. 20.445 (1) (ra) to the uninsured employers fund as provided in subds. 2. and 3. an amount equal to the amount by which payments from the uninsured employers fund on the claim are in excess of $1,000,000.
2. Each calendar year the department shall file with the secretary of administration a certificate setting forth the number of claims in excess of $1,000,000 in the preceding year paid from the uninsured employers fund, the payments made from the uninsured employers fund on each such claim in the preceding year, and the total payments made from the uninsured employers fund on all such claims and, based on that information, the secretary of administration shall determine the amount to be transferred under subd. 1. in that calendar year.
3. The maximum amount that the secretary of administration may transfer under subd. 1. in a calendar year is $500,000. If the amount determined under subd. 2. is $500,000 or less, the secretary of administration shall transfer the amount determined under subd. 2. If the amount determined under subd. 2. exceeds $500,000, the secretary of administration shall transfer $500,000 in the calendar year in which the determination is made and, subject to the maximum transfer amount of $500,000 per calendar year, shall transfer that excess in the next calendar year or in subsequent calendar years until that excess is transferred in full.
(2) The department may retain an insurance carrier or insurance service organization to process, investigate and pay claims under this section and may obtain excess or stop-loss reinsurance with an insurance carrier authorized to do business in this state in an amount that the secretary determines is necessary for the sound operation of the uninsured employers fund. In cases involving disputed claims, the department may retain an attorney to represent the interests of the uninsured employers fund and to make appearances on behalf of the uninsured employers fund in proceedings under ss. 102.16 to 102.29. Section 20.930 and all provisions of subch. IV of ch. 16, except s. 16.753, do not apply to an attorney hired under this subsection. The charges for the services retained under this subsection shall be paid from the appropriation under s. 20.445 (1) (rp). The cost of any reinsurance obtained under this subsection shall be paid from the appropriation under s. 20.445 (1) (sm).
(3) An injured employee of an uninsured employer or his or her dependents may attempt to recover from the uninsured employer, or a 3rd party under s. 102.29, while receiving or attempting to receive payment under sub. (1).
(4) An injured employee, or the dependent of an injured employee, who received one or more payments under sub. (1) shall do all of the following:
(a) If the employee or dependent begins an action to recover compensation from the employee's employer or a 3rd party liable under s. 102.29, provide to the department a copy of all papers filed by any party in the action.
(b) If the employee or dependent receives compensation from the employee's employer or a 3rd party liable under s. 102.29, pay to the department the lesser of the following:
1. The amount after attorney fees and costs that the employee or dependent received under sub. (1).
2. The amount after attorney fees and costs that the employee or dependent received from the employer or 3rd party.
(5) The department of justice may bring an action to collect the payment under sub. (4).
(a) Subject to par. (b), an employee, a dependent of an employee, an uninsured employer, a 3rd party who is liable under s. 102.29 or the department may enter into an agreement to settle liabilities under this chapter.
(b) A settlement under par. (a) is void without the department's written approval.
(7) This section first applies to injuries occurring on the first day of the first July beginning after the day that the secretary files a certificate under s. 102.80 (3) (a), except that if the secretary files a certificate under s. 102.80 (3) (ag) this section does not apply to claims filed on or after the date specified in that certificate.
History: 1989 a. 64; 1995 a. 117; 2003 a. 144; 2005 a. 172, 253, 410; 2007 a. 97; 2009 a. 206; 2015 a. 55, 180.
Cross-reference: See also s. DWD 80.62, Wis. adm. code.
Section 102.18 (1) (bp) does not govern the conduct of the Department or its agent and does not impose any penalty on the department or its agent for bad faith conduct in administering the Uninsured Employers Fund. Section 102.18 (1) (bp) constitutes the exclusive remedy for the bad faith conduct of an employer or an insurance carrier. Because s. 102.18 (1) (bp) does not apply to the department's agent, it does not provide an exclusive remedy for the agent's bad faith. Moreover, sub. (1) (a) exempts the Department and its agent from paying an employee the statutory penalties and interest imposed on an employer or an insurance carrier for their misdeeds, but nothing in sub (1) (a) exempts the department or its agent from liability for its bad faith conduct in processing claims. Aslakson v. Gallagher Bassett Services, Inc. 2007 WI 39, 300 Wis. 2d 92, 729 N.W.2d 712, 04-2588.