The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court issued a decision stating that the state’s insolvent insurers fund was able to recover for workers’ compensation claims paid on behalf of high-net-worth insureds. In this case, Berkshire Bank argued that the Massachusetts Insurers Insolvency Fund could not recover workers’ compensation payouts made on behalf of an employee hurt while lifting a bag of coins. The superior court had found in favor of the bank, noting that amounts paid by the Fund would not have been “on behalf of” the insured employer and therefore would not have been able to be recouped. The Supreme Court focused on the term “on behalf of” under Massachusetts law, concluding that the funds were paid “on behalf of the Bank” and could be recouped.
The Supreme Court reiterated Massachusetts law stating that the Massachusetts Insurers Insolvency Fund (Fund) may recover certain amounts paid “on behalf of” insureds, when those amounts were first paid by high-net-worth insureds. In this case, the employee who suffered an injury while working at a bank received workers’ compensation benefits under section 34, allowing for temporary total incapacity benefits, until those were exhausted, and she received section 35 benefits for partial incapacity. The employee sought permanent and total disability compensation after her entitlement to section 35 benefits was exhausted.