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287.223. Missouri mesothelioma risk management fund created - definitions - issuance of payments, when - board of trustees, appointment, meetings, duties. -1. There is hereby created the "Missouri Mesothelioma Risk Management Fund", which shall be a body corporate and politic. The board of trustees of this fund shall have the powers and duties specified in this section and such other powers as may be necessary or proper to enable it, its officers, employees and agents to carry out fully and effectively all the purposes of this section.
2. Unless otherwise clearly indicated by the context, the following words and terms as used in this section mean:
(1) "Board", the board of trustees of the Missouri mesothelioma risk management fund;
(2) "Fund", the Missouri mesothelioma risk management fund established by subsection 1 of this section.
3. Any employer may participate in the Missouri mesothelioma risk management fund and use funds collected under this section to pay mesothelioma awards made against an employer member of the fund.
4. Employers who participate in the fund shall make annual contributions to the fund in the amount determined by the board in accordance with this section relating to rates established by insurers. Participation in the fund has the same effect as purchase of insurance by such employer, as otherwise provided by law, and shall have the same effect as a self-insurance plan. Moneys in the fund shall be available for:
(1) The payment and settlement of all claims for which coverage has been obtained by any employer participating in the fund in accordance with coverages offered by the board relating to mesothelioma awards pursuant to paragraph (a) of subdivision (3) of subsection 4 of section 287.200;
(2) Attorney's fees and expenses incurred in the administration and representation of the fund.
5. No amount in excess of the amount specified by paragraph (a) of subdivision (3) of subsection 4 of section 287.200 shall be paid from the fund for the payment of claims arising out of any award.
6. The board of trustees of the fund shall issue payment of benefits in accordance with coverages offered by the board. For any year in which any employer does not make a yearly contribution to the fund, the board of trustees of the fund shall not be responsible, in any way, for payment of any claim arising from an occurrence in that year. Any employer which discontinues its participation in the fund may not resume participation in the fund for five calendar years after discontinuing participation. Should an employer fail to make a yearly contribution, such employer shall be liable pursuant to paragraph (b) of subdivision (3) of subsection 4 of section 287.200 if a claim is made in such year. If ongoing benefits are due by the fund for an employer who fails* to make a yearly contribution, such employer shall be liable to the fund for the ongoing benefits.
7. All staff for the fund shall be provided by the department of labor except as otherwise specifically determined by the board. The fund shall reimburse the department of labor for all costs of providing staff required by this subsection. Such reimbursement shall be made on an annual basis, pursuant to contract negotiated between the fund and the department of labor. The fund is a body corporate and politic, and the state of Missouri shall not be liable in any way with respect to claims made against the fund or against member employers covered by the fund, nor with respect to any expense of operation of the fund. Money in the fund is not state money nor is it money collected or received by the state.
8. Each participating employer shall notify the board of trustees of the fund within seven working days of the time notice is received that a claim for benefits has been made against the employer. The employer shall supply information to the board of trustees of the fund concerning any claim upon request. It shall also notify the board of trustees of the fund upon the closing of any claim.
9. The board may contract with independent insurance agents, authorizing such agents to accept contributions to the fund from employers on behalf of the board upon such terms and conditions as the board deems necessary, and may provide a reasonable method of compensating such agents. Such compensation shall not be additional to the contribution to the fund.
10. There is hereby established a "Board of Trustees of the Missouri Mesothelioma Risk Management Fund", which shall consist of the director of the department of labor, and four members, appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the senate, who are officers or employees of those employers participating in the fund. No more than two members appointed by the governor shall be of the same political party. The members appointed by the governor shall serve four-year terms, except that the original appointees shall be appointed for the following terms: one for one year, one for two years, one for three years, and one for four years. Any vacancies occurring on the board shall be filled in the same manner. In appointing the initial board of trustees the governor may anticipate which public entities will participate in the fund, and the appointees may serve the terms designated herein, unless they sooner resign or are removed in accordance with law.
11. No trustee shall be liable personally in any way with respect to claims made against the fund or against member employers covered by the fund.
12. The board shall elect one of their members as chairman. He or she shall preside over meetings of the board and perform such other duties as shall be required by action of the board.
13. The chairman shall appoint another board member as vice chairman, and the vice chairman shall perform the duties of the chairman in the absence of the latter or upon his inability or refusal to act.
14. The board shall appoint a secretary who shall have charge of the offices and records of the fund, subject to the direction of the board.
15. The board shall meet in Jefferson City, Missouri, upon the written call of the chairman or by the agreement of any three members of the board. Notice of the meeting shall be delivered to all other trustees in person or by depositing notice in a United States post office in a properly stamped and addressed envelope not less than six days prior to the date fixed for the meeting. The board may meet at any time by unanimous mutual consent.
16. Three trustees shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business, and any official action of the board shall be based on a majority vote of the trustees present.
17. The trustees shall serve without compensation but shall receive from the fund their actual and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties for the board.
18. Duties performed for the fund by any member of the board who is an employee of a member employer shall be considered duties in connection with the regular employment of such employer, and such person shall suffer no loss in regular compensation by reason of the performance of such duties.
19. The board shall keep a complete record of all its proceedings.
20. A statement covering the operations of the fund for the year, including income and disbursements, and of the financial condition of the fund at the end of the year, showing the valuation and appraisal of its assets and liabilities, as of July first, shall each year be delivered to the governor and be made readily available to public entities.
21. The general administration of, and responsibility for, the proper operation of the fund, including all decisions relating to payments from the fund, are hereby vested in the board of trustees.
22. The board shall determine and prescribe all rules, regulations, coverages to be offered, forms and rates to carry out the purposes of this section.
23. The board shall have exclusive jurisdiction and control over the funds and property of the fund.
24. No trustee or staff member of the fund shall receive any gain or profit from any moneys or transactions of the fund.
25. Any trustee or staff member accepting any gratuity or compensation for the purpose of influencing his or her action with respect to the investment of the funds of the system or in the operations of the fund shall forfeit his or her office.
26. The board shall have the authority to use moneys from the fund to purchase one or more policies of insurance or reinsurance to cover the liabilities of participating employers members which are covered by the fund. If such insurance can be procured, the board shall have the authority to procure insurance covering participating member employers per occurrence for liabilities covered by the fund. The costs of such insurance shall be considered in determining the contribution of each employer member.
27. The board shall have the authority to use moneys from the fund to assist participating members in assessing and reducing the risk of liabilities which may be covered by the fund.
28. The board shall set up and maintain a Missouri mesothelioma risk management fund account in which shall be placed all contributions, premiums, and income from all sources. All property, money, funds, investments, and rights which shall belong to, or be available for expenditure or use by, the fund shall be dedicated to and held in trust for the purposes set out in this section and no other. The board shall have power, in the name of and on behalf of the fund, to purchase, acquire, hold, invest, lend, lease, sell, assign, transfer, and dispose of all property, rights, and securities, and enter into written contracts, all as may be necessary or proper to carry out the purposes of this section.
29. All moneys received by or belonging to the fund shall be paid to the secretary and deposited by him or her to the credit of the fund in one or more banks or trust companies. No such money shall be deposited in or be retained by any bank and trust company which does not have on deposit with the board at the time the kind and value of collateral required by section 30.270 for depositories of the state treasurer. The secretary shall be responsible for all funds, securities, and property belonging to the fund, and shall give such corporate surety bond for the faithful handling of the same as the board shall require.
30. So far as practicable, the funds and property of the fund shall be kept safely invested so as to earn a reasonable return. The board may invest the funds of the fund as permitted by the laws of Missouri relating to the investment of the capital, reserve, and surplus funds of casualty insurance companies organized under the laws of Missouri.
31. If contributions to the fund do not produce sufficient funds to pay any claims which may be due, the board shall assess and each member, including any member who has withdrawn but was a member in the year in which the assessment is required, shall pay such additional amounts which are each member's proportionate share of total claims allowed and due. The provisions of this subsection shall apply retroactively to the creation of the Missouri mesothelioma risk management fund.
32. The board, in order to carry out the purposes for which the fund is established, may select and employ, or contract with, persons experienced in insurance underwriting, accounting, the servicing of claims, and ratemaking, who shall serve at the board's pleasure, as technical advisors in establishing the annual contribution, or may call upon the director of the department of insurance, financial institutions and professional registration for such services.
33. Nothing in this section shall be construed to broaden or restrict the liability of the member employers participating in the fund beyond the provisions of this section**, nor to abolish or waive any defense at law which might otherwise be available to any employer member.
34. If, at the end of any fiscal year, the fund has a balance exceeding projected needs, and adequate reserves, the board may in its discretion refund on a pro rata basis to all participating employer members an amount based on the contributions of the public entity for the immediately preceding year.
(L. 2013 S.B. 1)
*Word "fail" appears in original rolls.
**Word "sections" appears in original rolls.