H. B. 3271
(By Delegates White, Campbell, M. Poling, Kominar, Marshall,
Iaquinta, D. Poling, Stowers, Anderson, Border and Cowles)
[Passed March 12, 2011; in effect ninety days from passage.]
AN ACT to
amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by
adding thereto a new section, designated §12-4-14a, relating
to creating a workers' compensation insurance subsidy
program for volunteer fire departments; defining terms;
establishing a special program within the Auditor's Office;
granting authority to the Auditor to administer the program;
designating a funding formula for distribution of moneys
allocated; granting rule-making authority to administer this
section; and requiring report to the Legislature.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended
by adding thereto a new section, designated §12-4-14a, to read as
ARTICLE 4. ACCOUNTS, REPORTS AND GENERAL PROVISIONS.
§12-4-14a. Workers' Compensation Subsidy for Volunteer Fire
Departments; creation of program; Auditor to administer.
(a) For the purposes of this section:
(1) "Fiscal year" means the fiscal year of the state.
(2) "Individual base year premium" means the workers'
compensation insurance premium that became due and payable by a
volunteer fire department after June 30, 2010 but before July 1,
(3) "Individual premium" means the workers' compensation
premium due and payable by a volunteer fire department in each
twelve month period beginning on or after July 1, 2011.
(4) "Total base year premium" means the aggregate workers'
compensation insurance premium due and payable by all volunteer
fire departments as determined by the Insurance Commissioner
after June 30, 2010 but before July 1, 2011.
(5) "Total premium" means the aggregate workers' compensation
insurance premium due and payable by all volunteer fire
departments in each twelve month period beginning on or after
July 1, 2011.
(b) In recognition of the burden of increasing workers'
compensation insurance premiums on volunteer fire departments,
the Legislature has determined that additional funding assistance
should be made available to eligible departments to pay a portion
of those premium increases beginning with invoices due and
payable on or after July 1, 2011.
(c) There is hereby established a special program which shall
be known as the "Volunteer Fire Department Workers' Compensation
Subsidy Program." The program shall be administered by the State
Auditor from moneys that may be appropriated and designated for
the program by the Legislature.
(d) The State Auditor shall administer the distribution of moneys appropriated for Volunteer Fire Department Workers'
Compensation Subsidy Program to volunteer fire departments to
help defray workers' compensation insurance premium increases.
(1) Volunteer fire departments shall request supplemental
funds by submitting to the Auditor the following information:
(A) The previous fiscal year's workers' compensation premium
invoices with paid receipts;
(B) The current fiscal year's workers' compensation premium
invoices showing the amount due and due date and any applicable
paid receipts; and
(C) Any other information the Auditor deems necessary for
administering the subsidy on forms and schedules as the Auditor
directs. The Auditor is authorized to set up an electronic
filing system at his or her discretion for filing of the
(2) After determining that there is a premium increase and
the amount of the premium increase for the volunteer fire
department requesting the subsidy, the Auditor shall make
disbursements in the manner set forth in subsection (e) of this
section subject to the following requirements:
(A) The volunteer fire department must be in good standing
with the State Fire Marshal;
(B) The volunteer fire department must be registered with the
Auditor's Office in a form and manner prescribed by the Auditor
prior to being eligible for consideration of any subsidy, which
registration must be completed no fewer than thirty days prior to
the due date of the workers' compensation premium;
(C) The volunteer fire department must agree that the subsidy
for its workers' compensation insurance premium increase will be
paid directly to its insurance carrier by the Auditor and that it
will timely pay the balance of the premium due; and
(D) Should a volunteer fire department fail to pay the
balance of its workers' compensation insurance premium after a
disbursement by the auditor and that insurance policy is
subsequently cancelled, the premium paid by the Auditor shall be
returned directly to him or her. If the Auditor does not receive
a reimbursement for a cancelled policy, he or she shall seek
reimbursement for the subsidy portion of the insurance premium
from the State Treasurer when the treasurer makes the next
quarterly payment to the volunteer fire department pursuant to
sections thirty-three and fourteen-d, article three, chapter
thirty-three of this code.
(e) Beginning with the fiscal year that starts July 1, 2011,
and continuing in each fiscal year thereafter, after the Auditor
has verified that a volunteer fire department is eligible for a
subsidy pursuant to this section, he or she shall pay on behalf
of a volunteer fire department its subsidy, which is calculated
(1) Dividing the total amount of premium subsidy allocated
by the Legislature to the Volunteer Fire Department Workers'
Compensation Subsidy Program by the total premium minus the total
base year premium, which calculation produces the "total
shortfall multiplier"; and
(2) Multiplying the total shortfall multiplier determined in subdivision (1) of this subsection by the individual premium less
the individual base year premium.
(3) In no event shall a volunteer fire department receive a
workers' compensation premium subsidy greater than one hundred
percent of its premium increase.
(f) For fiscal years after July 1, 2011, the Auditor shall
consult with the Insurance Commissioner to determine the total
amount of workers' compensation premium due by volunteer fire
departments for any subsequent fiscal year. The Auditor may
determine payment dates based upon information reasonably
available for such a determination.
The Auditor may promulgate emergency rules and may
propose for promulgation legislative rules, in accordance with
the provisions of article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this
code, as are necessary to provide for implementation and
enforcement of the provisions of this section.
(h) The volunteer fire departments' workers' compensation
premium subsidy program shall undergo a review to assess its
effectiveness after three years of operation. The Auditor shall
submit a report to the Joint Committee on Government and Finance
not later than February 1, 2015, and provide details of the
program operation including funds distributed and departments
taking advantage of the subsidy.