Arizona Revised Statutes Title 23. Labor § 23-1065. Special fund;  purposes;  investment committee

A. The industrial commission may direct the payment into the state treasury of not to exceed one per cent of all premiums received by private insurance carriers during the immediately preceding calendar year.  The same percentage shall be assessed against self-insurers based on the total cost to the self-insured employer as provided in § 23-961, subsection G .  Such assessments shall be computed on the same premium basis as provided for in § 23-961, subsections G , H , I , J and K and shall be no more than is necessary to keep the special fund actuarially sound.  Such payments shall be placed in a special fund within the administrative fund to provide, at the discretion of the commission, such additional awards as may be necessary to enable injured employees to accept the benefits of any law of this state or of the United States, or both jointly, for promotion of vocational rehabilitation of persons with disabilities in industry.

B. In claims involving an employee who has a preexisting industrially-related permanent physical impairment of the type specified in § 23-1044, subsection B and who thereafter suffers an additional permanent physical impairment of the type specified in such subsection, the claim involving the subsequent impairment is eligible for reimbursement, as provided by subsection D of this section, according to the following:

1. The employer in whose employ the subsequent impairment occurred or its insurance carrier is solely responsible for all temporary disability compensation to which the employee is entitled and for an amount equal to the permanent disability compensation provided by § 23-1044, subsection B for the subsequent impairment.  If the employee is determined to have sustained no loss of earning capacity after the medically stationary date, the employer or carrier shall pay him as a vocational rehabilitation bonus the amount calculated under this paragraph as a lump sum, which shall be a credit against any permanent compensation benefits awarded in any subsequent proceeding.  The amount of the vocational rehabilitation bonus for which the employer or carrier is responsible under this paragraph shall be calculated solely on physical, medically rated permanent impairment and not on occupational or other factors.

2. If the commission determines that the employee is entitled to compensation for loss of earning capacity under § 23-1044, subsection C or permanent total disability under § 23-1045, subsection B , the total amount of permanent benefits for which the employer or carrier is solely responsible under paragraph 1 of this subsection shall be expended first, with monthly payments made according to the loss of earning capacity or permanent total disability award.  The employer or carrier and the special fund are equally responsible for the remaining amount of compensation for loss of earning capacity under § 23-1044, subsection C or permanent total disability under § 23-1045, subsection B .  This paragraph shall not be construed as requiring payment of any benefits under § 23-1044, subsection B in any case in which an employee is entitled to benefits for loss of earning capacity under § 23-1044, subsection C or permanent total disability benefits under § 23-1045, subsection B .

C. In claims involving an employee who has a preexisting physical impairment that is not industrially-related and, whether congenital or due to injury or disease, is of such seriousness as to constitute a hindrance or obstacle to employment or to obtaining reemployment if the employee becomes unemployed, and the impairment equals or exceeds a ten per cent permanent impairment evaluated in accordance with the American medical association guides to the evaluation of permanent impairment, and the employee thereafter suffers an additional permanent impairment not of the type specified in § 23-1044, subsection B , the claim involving the subsequent impairment is eligible for reimbursement, as provided by subsection D of this section, under the following conditions:

1. The employer in whose employ the subsequent impairment occurred or its carrier is solely responsible for all temporary disability compensation to which the employee is entitled.

2. The employer had knowledge of the permanent impairment at the time the employee was hired, or that the employee continued in employment after the employer acquired such knowledge.

3. The employee's preexisting impairment is due to one or more of the following:

(a) Epilepsy.

(b) Diabetes.

(c) Cardiac disease.

(d) Arthritis.

(e) Amputated foot, leg, arm or hand.

(f) Loss of sight of one or both eyes or a partial loss of uncorrected vision of more than seventy-five per cent bilaterally.

(g) Residual disability from poliomyelitis.

(h) Cerebral palsy.

(i) Multiple sclerosis.

(j) Parkinson's disease.

(k) Cerebral vascular accident.

(l) Tuberculosis.

(m) Silicosis.

(n) Psychoneurotic disability following treatment in a recognized medical or mental institution.

(o) Hemophilia.

(p) Chronic osteomyelitis.

(q) Hyperinsulinism.

(r) Muscular dystrophies.

(s) Arteriosclerosis.

(t) Thrombophlebitis.

(u) Varicose veins.

(v) Heavy metal poisoning.

(w) Ionizing radiation injury.

(x) Compressed air sequelae.

(y) Ruptured intervertebral disk.

4. The employer or carrier and the special fund are equally responsible for the amount of compensation for loss of earning capacity under § 23-1044, subsection C or permanent total disability under § 23-1045, subsection B .

D. The employer or insurance carrier shall notify the commission of its intent to claim reimbursement for an eligible claim under subsection B or C of this section not later than the time the employer or insurance carrier notifies the commission pursuant to § 23-1047, subsection A .  Upon receiving notice the commission may expend funds from the special fund created by this section for travel and discovery procedures and for the employment of such independent legal, medical, rehabilitation, claims or labor market consultants or experts as may be deemed necessary by the commission to assist in the determination of the liability of the special fund, if any, under subsection B or C of this section.  In the event there is any dispute regarding liability to the special fund pursuant to subsection B or C of this section, the commission shall not delay the issuance of a permanent award pursuant to § 23-1047, subsection B .

E. If the special fund created by this section is determined to be liable under either subsection B or C of this section, the employer or insurance carrier that is primarily liable shall pay the entire amount of the award to the injured employee and the commission shall by rule provide for the reimbursement of the employer or insurance carrier on an annual basis.  In any case arising out of subsection B or C of this section, the written approval of the special fund is required for the compromise of any claim made pursuant to § 23-1023 .  In any such case, written approval shall not be unreasonably withheld by the special fund, carrier, self-insured employer or other person responsible for the payment of compensation.  Failure to obtain the written approval of the special fund shall not cause the injured worker to lose any benefits but ends the special fund's liability for reimbursement and makes the employer or carrier solely responsible for the payment of the remaining benefits.

F. The employer or insurance carrier shall make its claim for reimbursement to the commission no later than November 1 each year, for payments made pursuant to subsection B or C of this section during the twelve months prior to October 1 each year.  Claims shall be paid before December 31 each year.  If the total annual reserved liabilities of the special fund obligated under subsections B and C of this section exceed six million dollars, as determined by the annual actuarial study performed pursuant to subsection I of this section, the commission, after notice and a hearing, may levy an additional assessment under subsection A of this section of up to one-half per cent to meet such liabilities.  Any insurance carrier or employer who may be adversely affected by the additional assessment may at any time prior to the sixtieth day after such additional assessment is ordered file a complaint challenging the validity of the additional assessment in the superior court in Maricopa county for a judicial review of the additional assessment.  On judicial review the determination of the commission shall be upheld if supported by substantial evidence in the record considered as a whole.

G. In the event the injured employee is awarded additional compensation, under subsection A of this section, the commission retains jurisdiction to amend, alter or change the award upon a change in the physical condition of the injured employee resulting from the injury.

H. On receiving notice that the special fund may be liable under this chapter, the commission may spend monies from the special fund established by this section for expenses that are necessary to assist in the processing, payment or determination of liability of the fund.  These expenses may include travel, discovery procedures and employing any legal, medical, rehabilitation, claims or labor market consultant, examiner or expert.

I. The commission shall cause an annual actuarial study of the special award fund to be made by a qualified actuary who is a member of the society of actuaries.  The actuary shall make specific recommendations for maintaining the fund on a sound actuarial basis.  The actuarial study shall be completed on or before September 1.

J. The special fund of the commission consists of all monies from premiums and assessments, except penalties assessed pursuant to this chapter, received and paid into the fund, property and securities acquired by the use of monies in the fund, interest earned on monies in the fund and other monies derived from the sale, use or lease of properties belonging to the fund.  The special fund created by this section shall be administered by the director of the industrial commission, subject to the authority of the industrial commission.  The director of the commission with approval of the investment committee, in the administration of the special fund, may provide loans, subject to repayment, budgetary review and legislative appropriation, to the administrative fund for the purposes and subject to § 23-1081 , acquire real property and acquire or construct a building or other improvements on the real property as may be necessary to house, contain, furnish, equip and maintain offices and space for departmental and operational facilities of the commission.  The commission when using space constructed pursuant to this section shall make equal payments of rent on a semiannual basis, which shall be deposited in the special fund.  The investment committee shall determine the amount of the rent, which must be at least equal to or greater than that determined by the joint committee on capital review for buildings of similar design and construction as provided by § 41-792.01 .

K. There is established an investment committee consisting of the director and the chairman of the commission and three persons knowledgeable in investments and economics appointed by the governor.  Of the members appointed by the governor, one shall be a professional in the investment business, one shall represent workers' compensation insurers and one shall represent self-insurers.  The term of members appointed by the governor is three years, which shall begin on July 1 and end on June 30 three years later.  The committee shall prescribe by rule investment policies and supervise the investment activities of the special fund.

L. Each member of the investment committee, other than the director of the commission, is eligible to receive from the special fund:

1. Compensation of fifty dollars for each day while in actual attendance at meetings of the investment committee.

2. Reimbursement for expenses pursuant to title 38, chapter 4, article 2.  1

M. The investment committee shall meet at least once every month.

N. The investment committee shall periodically review and assess the investment strategy.

O. The investment committee, by resolution, may invest and reinvest the surplus or reserves in the funds established under this chapter in any legal investments authorized under § 38-718 .

P. In addition to the investments authorized under § 38-718 , the investment committee may approve the investment in real property and improvements on real property to house and maintain offices of the commission, including spaces for its departmental and operational facilities.  Title to the real estate and improvements on the real estate vests in the special fund of the commission, and the assets become part of the fund as provided by this section.

Q. The investment committee may appoint a custodian for the safekeeping of all or any portion of the investments owned by the special fund of the commission and may register stocks, bonds and other investments in the name of a nominee.  Except for investments held by a custodian or in the name of a nominee, all securities purchased pursuant to subsection O of this section shall promptly be deposited with the state treasurer as custodian thereof, who shall collect the dividends, interest and principal thereof, and pay, when collected, into the special fund.  The state treasurer shall pay all vouchers drawn for the purchase of securities.  The director may sell any of the securities as the director deems appropriate, if authorized by resolution of the investment committee, and the proceeds therefrom shall be payable to the state treasurer for the account of the special fund upon delivery of the securities to the purchaser or the purchaser's agent.

1 Section 38-621 et seq.

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