RALEIGH, N.C.—The Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) applauds the North Carolina House of Representatives for Tuesday’s passage of HB 709, the Protect and Put North Carolina Back to Work bill.
The legislation was the product of extensive negotiations between Republicans and Democrats and, if enacted, would be the first significant workers’ compensation reform in North Carolina since 1994.
“We commend both Republicans and Democrats in Raleigh for working together on a bipartisan reform bill and passing it out of the House of Representatives this session,” said Micaela Isler, PCI’s Southeast regional manager. “This is a good bill that will bring North Carolina’s workers compensation system more in line with neighboring states and improve the business climate in the state. We urge the Senate to pass this legislation as well.”
One of the primary objectives of this legislation was to bring North Carolina’s indemnity costs in line with surrounding states by limiting the duration of temporary total disability (TTD) benefits. The proposed legislation would place a 500-week cap on temporary total disability benefits; increase the cap on temporary partial disability benefits from 300 weeks to 500 weeks; improve the structure, operation and accountability of the Industrial Commission; improve communication between the employer and the doctor to better facilitate an employee’s return to work; and ensure that both parties have equal access to medical information. A key part of the committee negotiations was creating an opportunity for an injured worker to make the case to the Industrial Commission that he or she is unable to go back to work and that their benefits should be extended beyond the 500-week cap. Other states that limit these benefits provide such an opportunity.