Sec. 71-3-163. Association powers and duties

(1) The association shall:

(a) Be obligated to the extent of the covered claims existing prior to the determination of insolvency and arising within thirty (30) days after the determination of insolvency. In no event shall the association be obligated to a claimant in an amount in excess of the obligation of the insolvent self-insurer.

(b) Be deemed the self-insurer to the extent of its obligation on the covered claims and to such extent shall have all rights, duties and obligations of the insolvent self-insurer as if the self-insurer had not become insolvent.

(c) Assess member self-insurers amounts necessary to pay the obligations of the association under subsection (2) of this section, the expenses of handling covered claims and other expenses authorized by Sections 71-3-151 through 71-3-181. The assessments of each member self-insurer shall be two percent (2%) of the gross paid compensation and medical supplies and services of said member self-insurer during each period of six (6) months. Said two percent (2%) assessment shall be collected by the commission at the same time as and pursuant to the procedures adopted by the commission pursuant to Section 71-3-99, Mississippi Code of 1972. Said two percent (2%) assessment is to be collected by the commission until the sum of Two Million Dollars ($2,000,000.00) is accumulated. At that time the assessments shall be suspended. The assessment shall be reinstituted at any time that the guaranty fund balance reaches One Million Five Hundred Thousand Dollars ($1,500,000.00) and the assessment shall continue until such time as the balance in the guaranty fund is Two Million Dollars($2,000,000.00). If the maximum assessment, together with the other assets of the association, does not provide in any one (1)year an amount sufficient to make all necessary payments, the funds available shall be paid as directed by the commission and any unpaid portion shall be paid as soon thereafter as funds become available. When the guaranty fund balance reaches One Million Dollars ($1,000,000.00), the commission may waive the need for bonding requirements for self-funded pools.

(d) Investigate claims brought against the association; adjust, compromise, settle and pay covered claims to the extent of the association's obligations; deny all other claims; and may review settlements, releases and judgments to which the insolvent self-insurer were parties to determine the extent to which such settlements, releases and judgments may be properly contested.

(e) Notify such persons as the commission directs under Section 71-3-167(2)(a).

(f) Handle claims through its employees or through one or more other persons designated as servicing facilities. Designation of a servicing facility is subject to the approval of the commission.

(g) Reimburse each servicing facility for obligations of the association paid by the facility and for expenses incurred by the facility while handling claims on behalf of the association,and shall pay the other expenses of the association authorized by Sections 71-3-151 through 71-3-181.

(2) The association may:

(a) Employ or retain such persons as are necessary to handle claims and perform other duties of the association.

(b) Sue or be sued.

(c) Negotiate and become a party to such contracts as are necessary to carry out the purposes of Sections 71-3-151 through 71-3-181.

(d) Perform such other acts as are necessary or proper to effectuate the purposes of Sections 71-3-151 through 71-3-181.