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Wednesday, April 4, 2012 - 11:35am

Computers Uncover Uninsured Companies

State inspectors are using a newly updated computer system to crack down on businesses without workers compensation insurance.

State enforcers used to go door to door checking coverage.

But now agents are doing most of the leg work with a national database.

The computer system cross checks lists from the Department of Labor to find employers who don't provide coverage.

The board's Stan Bexley says, the crackdown actually is helping business owners because the insurance prevents lawsuits.

"There's not many businesses out there that can write a check for tens of thousands of dollars to cover the medical costs and indemnity costs for an injury," Bexley says. "Even a minor injury can cost someone several thousand dollars just for a trip to the ER."

The board makes sure companies comply with laws mandating they have workers compensation insurance.

That protects workers and employers in case of on-the-job injury.

The new computers don't eliminate the need for inspectors to show up randomly. But it does speed the process, resulting in more fines.

Bexley says, there hasn't been a business backlash against the crackdown.

"Some of them are very grateful that we actually do bring them into compliance," Bexley says. " A lot of the businesses are ignorant of the need for the coverage. Some of them aren't even aware that their previous coverage has lapsed."

Last year, the board fined 538 businesses a total of almost $500,000.

Officials expect the new computer system to boost those number by 10-20%.

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