September‌ ‌2020‌ ‌Update‌ ‌‌ 

  • MSIA Business and Annual Meetings – September 29
  • MSIA Member Survey – Membership Has Its’ Privileges (Have you paid your dues?)
  • Governor’s Conference 9/29 – 10/2
  • EAIC Action 
  • Presumptive Coverage and the Grand Bargain

As always, if you have any questions or need additional information, please do not hesitate to contact me via cell or text at 406-431-7220 or by email at  Thanks – Peter

  • MSIA Business and Annual Meetings – September 29

Members - - Don’t miss the MSIA Business Meeting Tuesday September 29 starting at 8:30a.  If you cannot attend, please provide us your proxy (below) so the Association can conduct our business.  You can email the form at the bottom of this update to make sure you are represented.  

Members and Guests - - Please join us Tuesday September 29 starting at 9:00a for our Annual Meeting. The meeting will feature Alex Swedlow, President of the California Workers Compensation Institute and a national leader on workers’ compensation issues.  Alex will share his perspective on what is going on in the workers’ compensation world, in a very interesting year.  Swedlow never fails to provide new perspectives, interesting insights and provide lots to chew on – particularly as we move into what is bound to be a very interesting 2021 legislative session in Montana.  Swedlow has worked on a number of issues, including studying Montana workers’ compensation drug spend, which directly impact our system.  

The Business Meeting is set for Tuesday, September 29, starting at 8:30a and the Annual Meeting, featuring Alex Swedlow, is set for 9:00a that day.  Our meetings will be held by Zoom and all times are Mountain Daylight Time.  The save the date invitations will be sent again, and a Zoom invitation will be provided next week.  If you have already responded, I will try not send the invitation again (but make no guarantees).

  • Governor’s Conference 9/29 – 10/2

As usual, our meetings will be held in conjunction with the Governor’s Conference on Workers’ Compensation.  The Governor’s Conference will also be held virtually and starts that day at 10:00a.  More information on this year’s Conference is available here: 2020 Governor’s Conference on Workers’ Compensation 9/29 – 10/2.

  • MSIA Member Survey – Membership Has Its’ Privileges (Have you paid your dues?)

New this year as well is the first of our membership survey.  We are seeking your input on the workers’ compensation issues facing the Montana system and your thoughts on them.  All responses will be held in the strictest confidence.  Any responses received are for internal MSIA purposes only and will not be distributed in any manner to anyone outside the Association. We will also not share individual responses with anyone inside or outside the Association.  The survey will help us in the coming legislative session and in working with other workers’ compensation interest groups – business, labor, medical providers and attorneys – as well as public policymakers.  

The survey will be sent to members only under separate cover.  Please provide as much information as you feel comfortable with and return them by email before September 26.  

If you have paid your 2020 – 21 dues thank you.  If not – there’s still time - - but not much!  And, we cannot include your thoughts on the workers’ compensation system, our positions or the issues facing Montana next year. 

  • Economic Affairs Interim Committee

The Economic Affairs Interim Committee met last week for the last time prior to the Legislative Session.  Perhaps their most significant action perhaps was not supporting Department of Labor proposals including LMAC approved bills as committee bills.  Proposals of interest for MSIA included statutory permission to allow DOLI to include information on non-statutory benefits provided by non-profits (Kid’s Chance as an example) within the mandatory benefit communication.  The EAIC also did not endorse the LMAC approved proposal to save effort when both parties agree to extend benefits through a joint petition.  The proposal would eliminate the need to provide the full medical history, supporting the position both sides already agreed to.  In addition, the Committee did not support the proposals to increase penalties for knowingly hiring mis-classified contractors.   This latter proposal and similar proposals were part of the Independent Contractor review study conducted earlier this year.  These bills will likely find sponsors and will be discussed during the session, but will not be carried as Committee bills.  

  • Presumptive Coverage and the Grand Bargain

In last month’s MSIA Update, we provided information on the Sedgwick Institute report, American workers’ compensation – a study in disparities and the expanded use of presumption.”  The follow up report, “Expanded use of presumption and the implications for the “Grand Bargain” has recently been published (  If you prefer, I have a copy and can provide it to you – just let me know you want it.  

This year has seen a spate of activity with 19 states taking action of some kind on COVID coverage within their workers’ compensation system. Presumptive coverage has typically been discussed, ordered or provided by new legislation for first responders and health care workers and/or essential workers.  I bring this report to your attention because we can expect our legislature to take up the cause as well when they return in January.  One response is that communicable diseases historically have not been covered because it is almost impossible to determine that the disease was contracted as a part of employment.  The Montana WC system results regarding COVID related claims is similar to other states as reported in last months’ MSIA Update.  We can also expect to see proposals for expanded presumptive coverage for firefighters and PTSD coverage for law enforcement if not all first responders.  Actions taken, or not taken, in each of those situations have different consequences for employers, workers, taxpayers and our workers compensation system.   

SAVE THE DATE - - SEPTEMBER 29 at 8:30a Mountain time for the Members Only MSIA Business meeting.  The MSIA Annual Meeting for Members and Guests will immediately follow.

Thanks again for your support.  If you have any questions or need additional information about the MT workers’ compensation system or other systems, don’t hesitate to contact us. 

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I, _______________________________(your name), representing  ___________________________________ (MSIA Member) hereby provide my PROXY for quorum purposes only to the MSIA Board of Directors to conduct the Business Meeting scheduled for September 29, 2020.  

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Please stay safe and stay well, 

Peter Strauss, Executive Director

Montana Self Insurers Association

520 Monroe Ave

Helena, MT 59601