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AIG in financial crisis, will this effect my Workers’ Compensation benefits under the Defense Base Act? – Part 2 September 17, 2008

Posted by Herb Chestnut in Uncategorized.
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We have been receiving numerous emails in response to our previous posting on the AIG crisis and its effect on Defense Base Act claims. While it appears that a potential government bailout will keep AIG’s daily operations and claims management moving normally, we have been asked a lot of “What ifs?”

What if AIG Worldsource, the DBA insurance arm of AIG, declared bankruptcy? Who would pay for claimant’s medical care? Who would pay their weekly benefits?

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AIG in financial crisis, will this effect my Workers’ Compensation benefits under the Defense Base Act? September 15, 2008

Posted by Aaron Walter in Uncategorized.
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On news of a potential downgrading of its debt rating, AIG’s stock fell 31% Friday and another 50% as of lunch time on Monday September 15. AIG has asked the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank to help raise $40 billion to avoid such a downgrading and is attempting to sell off its domestic automobile businesses and aircraft leasing business.

AIG insurers approximately 90% of Defense Base Act Workers’ Compensation claims. The questions we have been asked several times today are – will this effect my weekly benefits? Will AIG keep paying my doctors?

The answer is that there should not be any immediate disruption in these benefits.  It appears that AIG should have enough cash to continue to pay claims. In fact, the division handling these claims has made record profits  for AIG over the past few years.

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Are you receiving the proper amount in Workers’ Compensation benefits? March 12, 2008

Posted by Herb Chestnut in Uncategorized.
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4 comments

I had an Informal Conference today.  For those of you who have not gotten to this stage yet, an Informal Conference is your opportunity to discuss a problem you are having with your claim with the District Office of the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP).  The conference is normally held by telephone and involves the claimant (you) or your attorney, the insurance carrier (or its attorney) and a claims examiner from the OWCP.  There is no special method required to request the conference.  A letter from one of the parties  identifying an issue to the District Office where you claim is pending is all that is required.  Even though the conference sounds, like its name, informal, it is a very important part of the process.

Getting back to my conference, one of the issues was average weekly wage (AWW).  Generally, AWW is calculated by first determining if the claimant worked substantially the whole year prior to the injury.  If so, was this work with the same employer or, at least, similar employment?  If so, the wages are simply calculated, divided by 52 and an AWW is determined.  There are several problems which rear their ugly heads, such as: what constitutes “substantially the whole year” and what type of job qualifies as “similar employment”.  According to cases decided under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Act (LHWCA), 37 weeks is the benchmark for the term “substantially the whole year”.  Therefore, if you have worked 37 out of the last 52 weeks, you may qualify. 

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