Sec. 71-3-125. Insurers' claims offices

(1) Each insurance carrier or commission approved self-insured employer shall maintain a workers' compensation claims office,subject to the waiver provisions herein, within the borders of the State of Mississippi beginning July 1, 1993. Alternatively, each insurance carrier or commission approved self-insured employer may provide by contract the same services within the borders of the State of Mississippi beginning July 1, 1993. This claims office shall maintain workers' compensation claims files and shall be the office responsible to the Mississippi Workers' Compensation Commission for the proper filing of all commission forms for the employer/insureds. This office shall be the sole contact for the commission for the administration of all claims filed within the jurisdiction of the Mississippi Workers' Compensation Commission. Authority to issue checks and to pay claims shall be vested in personnel located within the State of Mississippi.

The insurance carrier and self-insured employer shall notify the commission of the address of its claims office before July 1,1992, and shall report any subsequent changes of address before the effective date of the change. After October 1, 1992, no processing or payment of workers' compensation claims shall occur outside the State of Mississippi without the specific written waiver by the commission.

Waiver requests must be submitted to the commission in writing and shall not be considered unless the applicant has exercised claims management and filing practices that illustrate proper compliance with the law and other commission regulations. Proper compliance shall be measured by the commission by continued monitoring of the timeliness of reporting by the carrier/self-insured employer and by monitoring the resolution, or lack thereof, of written complaints regarding noncompliance to all aspects of the Mississippi Workers' Compensation Law and rules of the commission and orders of the administrative law judges, commission or court.

The commission shall prepare a report at least twice each year as to the filing performance, first payment performance and problems resolution of each carrier and self-insured employer during the calendar year beginning January 1, 1993, and each successive year. Carrier's and self-insured employer's performance as measured in each calendar year shall be the basis for approval or continuation of the waiver beginning on July 1 of each successive year.

Any and all waivers previously granted by the commission under prior versions of this section are subject to review under this section in effect at the time the waiver request is submitted for approval or continuation.

(2) Any failure to comply with the provisions of Laws, 1992,Chapter 577, shall subject the carrier/self-insured employer to the sanctions of the Workers' Compensation Law.