August 29, 2014

Colorado Court of Appeals: Workers’ Compensation Insurance Company Lacks Standing to Attack Another Insurance Company’s Cancellation Procedures and Is Liable for Funeral Expenses

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in First Comp Ins. v. Industrial Claim Appeals Office on March 31, 2011.

Workers’ Compensation—Statutory Employer—Direct Employer—Cancellation—Standing.

In this workers’ compensation insurance coverage dispute, petitioner First Comp Insurance (First Comp) sought review of a final order of the Industrial Claim Appeals Office (Panel) affirming an administrative law judge’s holding that First Comp was liable for funeral expenses arising out of a workplace fatality. The appeal was dismissed.

First Comp, which insured the decedent’s statutory employer, contended that because Pinnacol Assurance (Pinnacol), the insurer for the decedent’s direct employer, failed to properly cancel the direct employer’s workers’ compensation insurance in accordance with CRS § 8-44-110, Pinnacol is responsible for the decedent’s funeral expenses. Pinnacol argued that First Comp lacked standing to raise the issue of Pinnacol’s compliance with statutory cancellation procedures. There is no language in the statute or the legislative scheme that confers on First Comp a legal right to challenge Pinnacol’s compliance with the statute. Therefore, any injury suffered by First Comp as a result of Pinnacol’s alleged failure to comply with the policy cancellation requirements of § 8-44-110 was not to a legally protected interest. Accordingly, First Comp lacked standing to challenge Pinnacol’s cancellation of decedent’s direct employer’s policy, and the appeal was dismissed.

This summary is published here courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer. Other summaries by the Colorado Court of Appeals on March 31, 2011, can be found here.

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