Montana workers' comp fund pays $1M in incentives to employees

2013-11-19T18:00:00Z 2014-05-29T18:11:56Z Montana workers' comp fund pays $1M in incentives to employees

HELENA – The state workers’ compensation fund paid $1 million of “incentive payments” to its employees last week, for meeting fiscal 2013 goals – but has ended the incentive plan for the future.

The Montana State Fund board, which oversees the quasi-governmental agency, decided earlier this year to halt the plan going forward, saying it had garnered “negative recognition” before the 2013 Legislature.

“The negative recognition during the last legislative session hindered productive discussion on some of the major policy issues that ought to have been addressed,” said Laurence Hubbard, president of the State Fund.

Nonetheless, the State Fund, which sells work-comp insurance to 26,000 Montana businesses, paid out incentives last Friday to 245 of its 280 employees, for the fiscal year ending June 30. Another eight former employees who are now retired also got incentive payments for 2013.

Also last week, the State Fund announced it will return $12 million in dividends to 23,000 of its customers, the largest annual dividend payout by the fund. Work-comp coverage, required by state law, insures businesses against on-the-job injuries to workers.

The 2013 incentive payments to State Fund employees averaged 6.3 percent of an employees’ eligible income and ranged from $600 to $9,500 for non-executive workers.

About 12 percent of the total incentive plan payout went to the State Fund’s five highest-paid executives. Those executives and their salaries and payments for fiscal 2013 are:

• Hubbard, State Fund president: $270,900 salary, $29,800 incentive payment.

• Albert Parisian, chief information officer: $189,900 salary, $23,600 incentive payment.

• Mark Barry, vice president for corporate support: $164,200 salary, $17,900 incentive payment.

• Nancy Butler, general counsel: $164,200 salary, $16,500 incentive payment.

• Richard Root, vice president for operations: $157,900 salary, $12,300 incentive payment.

State Fund spokeswoman Mary Boyle said the incentive payments are based on whether employees meet pre-determined financial and performance goals.

The incentive plan for the State Fund began in 1996 for its executives and was expanded to all employees in fiscal 2002. It had no payout or virtually no payout in 2003, 2004, 2009 and 2010, and state executives waived their payments in 2011.

The 2012 incentive payments came under fire at the 2013 Legislature, when Sen. Jim Keane, D-Butte, sponsored a bill requiring the State Fund to use its own assets to pay off a $60 million debt for pre-1990 work-comp claims. The state treasury has been paying off the debt, as part of an earlier agreement.

During the Legislature, Keane said if the State Fund has millions of dollars in equity and money to make incentive payments to employees, it can pay off the old debt, instead of having the taxpayers do it.

The bill died in the final days of the Legislature in April.

Hubbard said the incentive plan has been an “integral part” of the State Fund’s financial and operational success, but that he and the board don’t want it to color future debate on the fund’s role and operations.

He also said the State Fund wants to maintain a “market-based pay for performance” compensation structure so it can compete for talented professionals.

Missoulian State Bureau reporter Mike Dennison can be reached at 1-800-525-4920 or by email at

Copyright 2015 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(2) Comments

  1. BWO
    Report Abuse
    BWO - November 20, 2013 9:39 am
    Holy cr@p! Maybe since I am paying the premium and not having anyone injured on the job for over a decade, perhaps the Montana State Fund could refund some of my premium costs so I could give that out as bonuses!?! What did the Fund do to make my workplace safer? Nothing!
  2. Run - A- Mook
    Report Abuse
    Run - A- Mook - November 19, 2013 8:38 pm
    1 mill for doing your job.
    Better ideal, give it back
    to the folks you took it from.
Missoulian Civil Dialogue Policy

Civil Dialogue Policy for Commenting on

We provide this community forum for readers to exchange ideas and opinions on the news of the day. Passionate views, pointed criticism and critical thinking are welcome. Comments can only be submitted by registered users. By posting comments on our site, you are agreeing to the following terms:

Commentary and photos submitted to the Missoulian ( may be published or distributed in print, electronically or other forms. Opinions expressed in's comments reflect the opinions of the author, and are not necessarily the opinions of the Missoulian or its parent company. See the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for more information.

Our guidelines prohibit the solicitation of products or services, the impersonation of another site user, threatening or harassing postings and the use of vulgar, abusive, obscene or sexually oriented language, defamatory or illegal material. You may not post content that degrades others on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability or other classification. It's fine to criticize ideas, but ad hominem attacks on other site users are prohibited. Users who violate those standards may lose their privileges on

You may not post copyrighted material from another publication. (Link to it instead, using a headline or very brief excerpt.)

No short policy such as this can spell out all possible instances of material or behavior that we might deem to be a violation of our publishing standards, and we reserve the right to remove any material posted to the site.

Add Comment
You must Login to comment.

Click here to get an account it's free and quick

Search our events calendar