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Mo. Senate committee examines Missouri Employers Mutual Insurance

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)
Mo. Capitol

A Missouri Senate committee heard testimony Monday on whether a state-created company needs more oversight, or has even outlived its usefulness.

Missouri Employers Mutual Insurance Company was created nearly 20 years ago to help small businesses obtain workers’ compensation insurance.  Forrest Miller of the Missouri Restaurant Insurance Trust, testified that the Trust he chairs is shutting down, and that the state-owned insurance company may be partially to blame.

“I don’t know if we lost any customers, but we didn’t get any new ones as (Missouri Employers Mutual) started to really perk up the competitive edge of the restaurant workers’ comp market," Miller told the State Senate Committee on Governmental Accountability.

Missouri Employer Mutual’s chairman, Jim Owen, testified that they’re a safe choice for businesses in need of workers’ comp coverage.  He also said the company should not be subject to the state’s Sunshine Law.

“I think we can disclose a lot of things without a problem," Owen said.  "(But) I think opening up the Sunshine Law right now, to us, would put us at a competitive disadvantage with our competitors.”

Owen also told the committee that he’s open to the idea of requiring the governor’s appointees to the company’s board to undergo State Senate confirmation.  Missouri Employers Mutual has also agreed to undergo a state audit. 

Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.

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