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Changes at the Pennsylvania Workers' Insurance Fund

Yesterday the Pennsylvania State Workers' Insurance Fund (SWIF) announced it would be consolidating two departments. The divisions of claims and field operations will be combined into the new claims services division.

The SWIF was created in 1915 and is operated by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry. According to the Fund's website, its mission is "to provide a quality workers' compensation program for Pennsylvania businesses that choose the Fund to meet their required obligation under the Workers' Compensation Act, and to contribute to a progressive, stable workers' compensation market in Pennsylvania."

In other words, Pennsylvania employers may use the fund to provide workers compensation coverage for their workers instead of private companies. When employers' workers are injured on the job, workers compensation coverage provides medical benefits as well as payment of lost wages. The state workers' compensation system is administered by the Pennsylvania Workers Compensation Bureau also under the Pennsylvania Department of Labor.

As a result of the reorganization 28 staff members in seven offices will be put on furloughs. Those offices impacted include Northumberland, Erie, Lackawanna and Dauphin counties. The workers impacted have already been notified and the state is working with them to find alternate positions in the workforce.

Officials said that employers who use the fund should not see any disruption in services. The deputy secretary for compensation and insurance explained, "This reorganization enables a more streamlined operation of SWIF, benefitting the more than 24,000 employers served by eliminating redundancies and making administrative processes more efficient."

Source: Insurance Journal, "Pennsylvania State Workers' Insurance Fund Consolidates 2 Divisions," July 16, 2012.

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