The Louisiana Safety Association of Timbermen – Self Insurers Fund (the “Fund”) is a self-insurance group formed by member companies as a means of securing workers compensation coverage for their employees. In 1998, the Fund obtained statutorily required excess coverage from Reliance Indemnity Company, and in 2001 Reliance became insolvent. The Fund filed proofs of claim against Reliance with the Louisiana Insurance Guaranty Association (“LIGA”). LIGA denied the claims, asserting that the Fund was an insurer and the excess coverage was reinsurance, thus removing the claims from coverage by LIGA under the terms of governing state statutes. The fund brought suit to establish coverage for all past and future claims.
The trial court granted summary judgment to the Fund. The Louisiana Appellate Court affirmed, citing the terms of applicable workers compensation and insurance guaranty association statutes to support its determination that the excess coverage the Fund obtained was not “reinsurance” as that term is used under applicable statutes and that the Fund is not an “insurer” causing it to become statutorily exempt from coverage through LIGA. The Court also rejected LIGA’s argument that a statutory exclusion of coverage to any self-insured corporation with a net worth above $25,000,000 should apply to the Fund’s member companies in the aggregate. The court found that the member companies were not “affiliates” of one another as the term is used in the statute and thus held that their net worth should not be aggregated for purposes of the statutory exclusion. Louisiana Safety Assoc. of Timbermen – Self Insurers Fund v. Louisiana Ins. Guaranty Assoc., No. 43,615–CA (La. Ct. App. Dec. 3, 2008).