Q. What is the UEF?
A. Uninsured Employers' Fund.
Q. Who are they?
A. The UEF was created by the legislature to provide benefits to employees injured on the job while working for an uninsured employer. The purpose is to pay the injured worker the same benefits the worker would have received had the employer been covered with workers' compensation. They are a part of the Department of Labor and Industry, Employment Relations Division. The UEF fund has a staff of 12. Six are located in Helena, and six field auditors are stationed in Billings, Helena, Missoula, Bozeman, Kalispell and Great Falls.
Q. What other functions does the UEF perform?
A. A prime concern of the UEF is to ensure employers comply with workers' compensation laws so employees are properly covered. The penalty for not covering workers is substantial. The employer may be assessed double the premium they would have paid had they been carrying workers' compensation coverage, with a minimum of $200.
Q. Who needs to be insured?
A. The Worker's Compensation Act of Montana, with limited exceptions, requires employers to cover their full-time, part-time, seasonal or occasional workers with workers' compensation insurance. Neither general liability nor health and accident insurance are substitutes for a workers' compensation policy. If there is a work related injury and no coverage, the cost to the employer for medical bills could be quite substantial.
Q. Are there any benefits to employers for carrying workers' compensation insurance?
A. The employer has the protection of "Exclusive Remedy" An employer, in most cases, who properly carries the insurance is protected from legal action for damages for work-related injuries suffered by its workers.
Q. Where can I obtain workers' compensation insurance?
A. The three ways to obtain workers' compensation insurance are:
1. The Montana State Fund. State Fund was established by the legislature to be a competitive state fund providing market stability and a guaranteed market for all Montana employers. The Montana State Fund is a nonprofit, publicly owned workers' compensation insurance carrier governed by a seven-member board of directors appointed by the Governor. We operate solely on premium revenues, receiving no state general fund money for our operations
2. Private insurers, several of which exist; or
3. Self-insurance (generally limited to very large companies.) MCA 39-71-2101
39-71-2101. General requirements for electing coverage under plan. (1) An employer may elect to be bound by compensation plan No. 1 upon furnishing satisfactory proof to the department and the Montana self-insurers guaranty fund of solvency and financial ability to pay the compensation and benefits provided for in this chapter and to discharge all liabilities that are reasonably likely to be incurred during the fiscal year for which the election is effective. The employer may, by order of the department and with the concurrence of the guaranty fund, make the payments directly to employees as they become entitled to receive payments under the terms and conditions of this chapter.
For additional information or questions call:
Great Falls: 406-453-5343
Billings: 406-247-1036 or 406-247-1037