Over the years it expanded to also provide coverage for employers that meet its eligibility criteria. Sullivan said CompSource has about a 5 percent advantage over private carriers because it doesn’t have to pay premium taxes and doesn’t have to contribute to the state’s guarantee fund, which covers the costs of claims of an insolvent insurance company. "That automatically gives them a competitive advantage,” he said. CompSource officials said the agency has about 26,000 policyholders and writes about 35 percent of the workers’ compensation policies in the state. Other employers are self-insured or are insured by private companies. The task force is required to make a report to legislative leadership by Dec. 1. Information in the report could lead to proposed legislation. "What we have to look at during this privatization is: How do we continue to cover those people that cannot purchase policies on the open market?” Sullivan said. The incentive behind the privatization is to lower workers’ compensation insurance rates, Sullivan said. Rates should fall because of increased competition, he said. It’s too early to determine what effect privatization would have on the fate of CompSource’s employees, Sullivan said.
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Civil court upholds ruleThe Civil Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s ruling in a dispute over whether a Texas mining company should have access to water from the Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer. In a 3-0 decision, the court ruled the Oklahoma Water Resources Board had "no jurisdiction to require a permit for the use of a groundwater trapped in the quarry pit.” Meridian Aggregates had sought a permit to use water at its quarry in the Mill Creek area where the company drills for rock used in Texas road construction projects. Several cities in the area, including Tishomingo, Ardmore, Davis, Durant and Sulphur, opposed the project, saying it took an excessive amount of water and could damage the aquifer’s supply. JULIE BISBEE, CAPITOL BUREAU