Two workers' compensation bills advance in Nevada

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CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) -- A bill to raise taxes on companies that write industrial insurance and a measure to give higher benefits to some workers injured on the job have advanced in the Nevada Legislature.

The Assembly Ways and Means Committee voted Wednesday for AB543, eliminating a tax exemption given to insurers that sell workers' compensation policies.

The Senate unanimously passed AB438, providing for an annual increase in the compensation paid to workers who suffer permanent total disabilities in on-the-job accidents.

Repealing the tax exemption to insurance companies such as Employers Insurance Company of Nevada would mean at least an extra $12 million a year in revenue for the state.

Those companies that write workers' compensation policies must pay an assessment to the state Division of Industrial Relations for its operation. The insurance firms are now able to offset that assessment against the 3.5 percent state insurance premium tax.

The industrial relations division regulates the workers' compensation insurance system to make sure injured workers get their benefits.

Assemblyman David Goldwater, D-Las Vegas, said EICON could still claim a "home office" tax exemption that's available to Nevada-based companies. That would offset some of the proposed tax increase.

Goldwater said there haven't been any complaints from out-of-state companies writing workers' compensation insurance about losing the exemption.

AB438, which goes to the governor for his signature, provides for an annual 2.3 percent increase in the award given to those workers who suffered permanent disabilities. The increase would start next January and then continue each year.


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