Pierre, SD — SB 145 , a bill that would have capped penalties for insurance companies and changed the responsibility on settling workman’s compensation cases was killed in the Senate Commerce and Energy Committee Tuesday after the measure was sent to the 41st day. SB145 deals with proposed changes in how worker compensation cases are settled. .  The bill was described an exceptionally complicated issue and one that some legislators admit is too complicated to settle with one bill.  One senator who didn’t want to be identified said it was a case of kicking the can down the road and hoped it would be picked up during a summer study. We have more today from both sides at mykxlg.com and on the morning news at 7 and 8 a.m.  Trey Gillespie, who is with the property Casualty Insurers Association of America, supports SB145.  He believes courts aren’t as good at settlling comp cases as the state’s department of labor.

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Among other things, the bill would have capped penalties for insurance companies and changed the responsibility on settling the cases.  Supporters of the bill don’t trust the court system as-is. Deb Fischer-Clemens with Avera also supports SB145 stating that big settlements and bad faith cases could lead to job loss in South Dakota.

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However, injured workers think the court sysytem is where the responsibility should stay and settlements for workers and penalties for insurance companies should be capped.  Lobbyist Roger Tellinghuisen supports that idea.

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Rep. Tim Rounds (R) Pierre Opposed SB 145 and offered some perspective as an insurance agent and a victim of workplace injury.

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Legislators heard three hours of testimony Tuesday, including some emotional pleas from opponents, several of whom are workplace accident victims who believe the change in law would benefit bad actors and protect the insurance companies.  Including claims that those companies “doctor shop” and force the workers to see hand picked physicians who automatically side with the insurance companies by offering diagnoses that contradict earlier physicians’ opinions and keep the victim from receiving workers comp coverage.