During the early 1900s, state legislatures throughout the United States recognized the need for a system of workers' compensation insurance. The Industrial Revolution had dramatically increased the number and severity of work-related injuries. Injured workers were unable to receive medical benefits and wage compensation. Civil lawsuits against employers took years to settle and employees often ended up depending on welfare or the charity of others.
In 1917, the Utah Legislature passed the Workers' Compensation Act, requiring all employers to obtain workers' compensation insurance coverage. Workers Compensation Fund (WCF) was created to provide competitively priced insurance to Utah employers.
The 1917, Legislature appropriated $40,000 from the State Treasury for WCF to begin writing insurance. The loan was repaid in four years and WCF has operated financially independent of the State since.
A formal organizational study of WCF was completed in 1987. It recommended autonomy from State administration by establishing a quasi-public corporation with a Board of Directors comprised of policyholders. Quasi-public means that the Company is privately owned, but serves the public purpose of being the market of last resort. WCF is required to insure any business that can not otherwise purchase workers' compensation insurance in the competitive market.
This action was approved by the State Legislature in 1988 and the stage was set for re-vitalization of WCF.
A Board of Directors was appointed and, in 1992, new senior management was selected. Acting on behalf of policyholders, the Board set a clear direction: run the company as a business.
Many changes have occurred within the Company to fulfill the Board's directive and become a customer-oriented business.
A commitment was made to invest in the right people - those with the skills and experience to further Company initiatives. Employees bring professional and technical experience to deliver WCF's quality products and service to our customers. WCF now employs more that 350 employees in three offices - Sandy, Ogden and St. George.
Many services have been brought in-house to reduce and control costs, and provide our customers with responsive service. Special investigations, utilization review, medical case management and vocational rehabilitation are now within the Company's portfolio of services at substantial savings.
Many services have also been added or expanded to meet our customers' needs. We offer our customers multi-state insurance coverage, loss sensitive products and unbundled services.
WCF's safety programs rank among the most professional in the nation. Accidents involving our customers' employees have decreased more than 30 percent. The Safety Department presents safety seminars covering both basic safety and industry-specific safety to customers throughout the state.
The Company's efforts to reduce accidents and control costs have paid off in a big way for our customers. Accidents are down, premium rates remain steady at 1992 levels, and dividends are up. WCF has paid customers dividends that total more than $300 million.
WCF insures more than half of all Utah employers. Companies of all sizes and industries rely on WCF for workers' compensation coverage. Our longevity and financial strength, important factors to employers when they select a carrier, are recognized by the industry's leading rating companies, A.M. Best (A, Excellent) and Standard & Poor's (Api, Strong).
In the coming years, WCF will continue to offer superior services and expand to meet our customers' needs. The Company's commitment to Utah employers and employees is a reflection of the high standards of quality, integrity and scope of services that WCF strives to provide.