Guide to the State Compensation Insurance Fund (SCIF)

One of California’s largest providers of Workers’ Compensation Coverage is the State Compensation Insurance Fund.  The State Compensation Insurance Fund is known as the “State Fund” or “SCIF.”

Many workers must understand what SCIF is and how it operates.  The reason is that many injured workers’ claims are being adjusted through the Fund.

This article will discuss the State Compensation Insurance Fund and how Injured Workers should approach their claims if the Fund handles them.

What are the State Fund’s Goals?

The State Fund aims “to become California’s workers’ compensation carrier of choice.” Their purpose “is to provide fairly priced workers’ compensation insurance, help make workplaces safe, and restore injured workers.”

What are the Origins of the State Compensation Insurance Fund?

The State Fund was established in 1914.  It was created within the California State Constitution.

ARTICLE XIV Labor Relations, Section 4, includes “the establishment and management of a state compensation insurance fund.”

This was part of the Constitutional Mandate to provide a “complete system of workers’ compensation [which] includes adequate provisions for the comfort, health and safety and general welfare of any workers and those dependent upon them for support to the extent of relieving from the consequences of any injury or death incurred or sustained by workers in the course of their employment, irrespective of the fault of any party; also full provision for securing safety in places of employment; full provision for such medical, surgical, hospital and other remedial treatment  as is requisite to cure and relieve from the effects of such injury.”

In sum, the State of California has a vested interest in the success and stability of the State Compensation Insurance Fund as a provider of workers’ compensation insurance.  This is interest-based upon a constitutional mandate.

What is the State Compensation Insurance Fund?

Per their website, the “State Fund is California’s leading provider of workers’ compensation insurance. Not for profit and funded solely by premiums and investment income, we’ve supported California’s entrepreneurial spirit and played a vital role in the state’s economy for over 100 years. By innovating in areas such as workplace safety and injured worker care, we’re committed to serving California for the next 100 as well.”

State Fund offers diverse and comprehensive products and services that provide a strong and stable option for employers and injured employees with fast, reliable claims service and medical and indemnity benefits. State Fund’s accident prevention services—provided to policyholders at no additional cost—ultimately help save businesses money.

With approximately 110,000 policyholders, more than $918 million in premiums, and nearly $21 billion in assets, Californians rely on the security and certainty offered by the State Fund to the state’s employers, particularly the small businesses and new ventures that are key to California’s economic recovery.

For many Employers, the State Fund is the carrier of “last resort.”  This is where they must get their workers’ compensation insurance.

The Fund has two parts. There is a State Fund Policy and State Fund Contracts.   The State Fund Policy is the section that handles private employers.   The State Fund Contracts is the section that adjusts various government agencies that contract with the State Fund to administer their claims.

What are the Core Values of the State Compensation Insurance Fund? Why Should You Be Aware of It?

Per the SCIF Website, the Core Values are “Respect Everyone. Create an environment where all people and perspectives are valued, and teams work together to serve the diverse needs of California businesses. Be Innovative. Seek solutions and consider new approaches to serve our customers and help improve California’s workers’ compensation system. Do What’s Right. Approach every situation with a passion to help, a desire to learn, and a commitment to integrity—because doing the right thing isn’t always simple, easy, or clear. Show We Care. Listen to understand and invest the time and resources needed to help California employers and injured workers.”

These are important to know.   If you feel your adjuster is not following the “Core Values,” they should be reminded.  Most of the time, however, I have found that the SCIF adjusters act very professionally.  Experienced SCIF adjusters are well-trained.

How Do You Rate the State Fund as a Carrier?

These comments are from my own experience.

The State Fund has tremendous resources. They have lots of assets and money. They are an innovator within workers’ compensation and have taken steps to claims management ahead of their time.  They were paperless well in advance of others in the industry.

Their claims management approach tends to rely on their adjusters.   Their adjusters can be perfect and well-trained.  They handle the case management as opposed to counsel.  Their counsel tends to be more appearance-oriented rather than directing the case management of the claim.

Overall, I think they do an excellent job of adjusting their claims.

The State Fund has been known to have an excellent training program for their attorneys. Also, they have a reputation as having outstanding appellate attorneys.   There are many reported cases involving the State Fund.

Have You Had Any Personal Experience With the State Fund?

Besides handling claims against them, I have had two claims and awards with SCIF as the carrier.   They have been decent in my requests for treatment off of my award.  I am relatively satisfied with their handling.

As an Employer, I have had claims filed against me.   They have done a decent job handling the claim.   I did run into a problem with one adjuster on an issue.   It was not easy to resolve the issue.   Further, the State Fund offers several educational programs for Employers, which I attended and found helpful.   Overall, I am satisfied with their insurance.

As an Injured Worker, Should I Be Concerned that the State Fund is the Insurance Company?

No. You should not be concerned.  You should be vigilant concerning your rights and pay attention to the documentation you receive.   On occasion, they will make a mistake. Other carriers do so as well.  Unlike other carriers, however, because of their status, they need to be “the standard” for quality claims handling.

What If I Need Legal Advice?

If you want a free consultation concerning any workers’ compensation case, don’t hesitate to contact the Law Offices of Edward J. Singer, a Professional Law Corporation. They have been helping people in central and Southern California deal with their worker’s compensation cases for 28 years. Contact us today for more information.

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