While out the outset of the session it appeared that there may be some changes on the horizon as it relates to workers’ compensation and subrogation, the session wrapped on May 9, 2018 with very little actual changes that will affect the adjusting of claims here in Colorado. The bills that were successful represent carve-outs: they create two classes of employees that are now exempt from the Workers’ Compensation Act.
First, the last bill to the game – HB18-1308 (Workers’ Compensation Out-Of-State Workers’ Temporarily in Colorado) – was quickly signed by the Governor into law on April 30, 2018. This reciprocity bill provides that employers from states that share a border with Colorado (i.e. Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Utah, and Arizona – probably) are not required to carry Colorado workers’ compensation insurance for their employees temporarily working in Colorado if (1) they carry workers’ compensation insurance in their home state that is applicable to the relevant employee, and (2) they reciprocate this same exemption for Colorado employers who send employees into their state. Under this new provision, the home state’s workers’ compensation laws is now the sole remedy for this situation.
Another bill that directly effects workers’ compensation coverage that was successful this year was SB18-178 (Similar Coverage Independent Commercial Vehicles). This was signed by the Governor on May 4, 2018. This act provides that if independent operators of commercial vehicles obtain insurance coverage that is “similar” to workers’ compensation insurance, they are exempt from the Workers’ Compensation Act.
A few relevant “failures” this year include: the hotly debated “Handy” bill (SB18-171) which would have created a new class of independent contractors under the Act, and the snow removal liability bill (SB 18-062) which would have precluded indemnification contracts with snow removal companies.
Looking Ahead to 2019
With the session over, Colorado will turn to this fall’s elections. The governor’s race is heating up and the outcome will have a peripheral effect on the state’s agencies, including the Division of Workers’ Compensation. There will also be a lot of movement in both the State’s Senate and House to look forward to. Depending on how everything shakes out in November, we could be seeing the reintroduction of the above failed bills or other changes to our system.
Would you like to know more? Contact Jessica Grimes at firstname.lastname@example.org or 720.488.9586.