Missouri Senate backs study of Columbia-based, state-created insurer

Wednesday, April 4, 2012 | 4:10 p.m. CDT

JEFFERSON CITY — The Missouri Senate has endorsed the establishment of a special committee to study whether to change a state-created workers' compensation insurer.

Senators gave initial approval Wednesday to a bill creating a five-member Senate panel to analyze whether Missouri Employers Mutual Insurance Co. should be sold, privatized or restructured.

The Columbia-based company was created under a 1993 law at a time when many small businesses were having trouble getting reasonable rates on workers' compensation coverage. The company has flourished to the point that it now has the largest market share among Missouri's workers' compensation insurers.

A recent state audit noted that the company benefits from a federal tax exemption and has built up a surplus of more than $160 million. Some lawmakers question whether that tax exemption should continue.

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