A legislative task force began work Thursday to find the best way to privatize the state agency that provides workers’ compensation insurance.
"We have an organ of the state that is competing with private insurers for premium dollars for workers’ comp,” said Rep. Dan Sullivan, co-chairman of the Task Force on the Privatization of CompSource Oklahoma.
"It’s a fundamental issue of what is the proper function of government,” said Sullivan, R-Tulsa. "Is it to compete with private enterprise? We think not.”
A state law passed this year states it is the intent of the Legislature to privatize CompSource no later than Dec. 31, 2010.
Options include selling CompSource, which has about 300 employees, or mutualizing it, meaning it would be owned by its members, said Sen. Cliff Aldridge, R-Midwest City, task force co-chairman.
"All of those options are on the table,” Aldridge said.
But state Finance Director Michael Clingman, a task force member, questioned whether the state actually owns CompSource. While it’s a state agency, its holdings may be owned by policyholders.
CompSource was formed by the Legislature in 1933. It formerly was known as the State Insurance Fund. It does not receive a state appropriation.
It provides workers’ compensation insurance for state, county and municipal employees, as well as many private employers across the state.
It initially provided workers’ compensation insurance to businesses that couldn’t afford the required coverage.