Missouri insurer finds criticism from state auditor

Insurance NewsMissouri’s largest provider of worker’s compensation insurance has come under fire from one of the state’s auditors, Tom Schweich. The Missouri Employers Mutual Insurance Company (MEM) is a state-backed insurance company created in 1993. Since its creation, the insurer has avoided paying federal taxes because of its claim to be a public corporation. Accusations of corruption led to the company’s agreeing to a one-time review from the state to ensure that its business practices were sound and that it was not misrepresenting itself for the sake of profit.

According to Schweich, the company’s tax-exempt status has garnered it more than $50 million since its creation. This status has also helped the company acquire more than $160 million in surplus capital and has made it the most powerful worker’s compensation insurance provider in the state. Schweich found that while the company considers itself a public corporation, it does not adhere to the laws that require these entities to hold meetings open to the public and supply access to their business records.

MEM denies that is has run afoul of any laws, claiming that it is not, in fact, a public corporation. Schweich is now encouraging lawmakers to make changes to the states laws to clarify whether the insurer can actually act as it had been. Legislators have received Schweich’s report, but have not yet determined whether any action will be taken on the matter.

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