Texas Mutual Board Approves $175-Million Policyholder Dividend Distribution

May 8, 2013 - The policyholder owners of Texas Mutual Insurance Company will share a $175-million dividend distribution this year, the company's board of directors announced after a unanimous vote on May 7, 2013.

This is the 15th consecutive year that the board has voted to distribute policyholder dividends, bringing the total to almost $1.4 billion. It has paid the majority of that total – $1 billion – since 2007.

Dividends reward loyal policyholders who share Texas Mutual's commitment to preventing workplace accidents and helping injured workers get back on the job.

Texas Mutual plans to begin distributing dividends among qualifying policyholders according to its normal schedule.

"Texas Mutual is a policyholder-owned company," Bob Barnes, chairman of Texas Mutual's board, said. "Our singular focus is on delivering benefits to our employer owners and taking care of their injured workers. Dividends are part of our long-term strategy for helping Texas employers control their workers' compensation costs."

Texas Mutual President and CEO Richard Gergasko said the company's dividend track record reflects its permanent commitment to Texas businesses.

"Texas Mutual is more than a workers' compensation provider," Gergasko said. "We are a business partner to Texas employers, and we understand the importance of these dividends to our policyholders. This money goes back into the Texas economy and help employers build their businesses for the future."

Gergasko noted that Texas Mutual cannot guarantee future dividends, and the 2013 dividend plan requires Texas Department of Insurance approval.

Texas Mutual Launches Safe Driving Initiative For Oil and Gas Workers in Corpus Christi

April 30, 2013 - With the goal of reducing the number of driving-related injuries and fatalities for oil and gas workers, Texas Mutual Insurance Company and its partners launched the "Give Safety a Hand" campaign in Corpus Christi on Tuesday, April 30, 2013, which has been declared "Give Safety a Hand Day" in the City of Corpus Christi.

Representatives of Texas Mutual, the STEPS Network, the Texas Oil and Gas Association, the City of Corpus Christi, Nueces County and San Patricio County, as well as area business and community leaders, officially launched the "Give Safety a Hand" campaign with an event at the Richard M. Borchard Regional Fairgrounds.

Through brochures, billboards, radio commercials and the SafeHandTexas.org website, the public education campaign will give drivers the tips and tools they need to be safe on the road. It will also provide resources for employers to talk with employees about the importance of driving safely.

"It is critical for all employers and their drivers, especially those in the oil and gas industry, to know there are several ways we can give safety a hand while driving – including always wearing a seat belt, controlling your speed and eliminating distractions," Steve Bills, senior manager of loss prevention for Texas Mutual, said. "Texas Mutual and its partners are pleased to work with the community to educate people in Corpus Christi and surrounding areas about how oil and gas workers can avoid life-changing, and sometimes fatal, accidents."

According to recent data from Texas Mutual claims, driving-related accidents account for nearly 60 percent of oil and gas industry fatalities.

Oil and gas workers are exposed to many of the same driving risks as other drivers, including speeding, distracted driving, driver fatigue and not wearing a seat belt. These factors can be made worse by inexperience, long shifts or deadlines.

Last year, motor vehicle accidents accounted for more than 13 percent of all accidents in the oil and gas industry statewide, among Texas Mutual policyholders. This is an increase from just over 8 percent in 2011.

Between 2011 and 2012, Texas Mutual reports that the number of fatal motor vehicle accidents in the oil and gas industry increased by 41 percent.

"Simple changes in driving habits can make a significant difference in safety," Jim Sierra, vice president of financial affairs for the Texas Oil & Gas Association, said. "Although this public awareness campaign is specifically aimed at oil and gas drivers, the tips provided can be implemented by drivers and employers in their everyday lives."

Area businesses participating in the campaign include Ainsworth Trucking, Apollo Towing Service, Coastal Drilling Co. and Gulf Coast Crane Service.

Insurance agents participating in the "Give Safety a Hand" campaign include Borden Insurance and Swantner & Gordon/Higginbotham.

For more information or to order toolkits for your employees, please visit SafeHandTexas.org.

Texas Mutual Announces
Third Sentencing In Health Care Provider Fraud Scheme

April 11, 2013 - Texas Mutual Insurance Company announced today that Michael T. Douglas of Denton, Texas pleaded guilty to charges of perjury in a workers' compensation fraud-related case.

A Travis County district court sentenced Douglas to one year of deferred adjudication and ordered him to pay a $300 fine.

Douglas presented false testimony on matters relating to the investigation of his father, Howard T. Douglas, III, M.D.; his sister, Barbara A. Douglas; and their company, Western Medical Evaluators.

Texas Man Indicted in Premium Fraud Case

April 2, 2013 - Texas Mutual Insurance Company announced today that a Travis County grand jury indicted Harold E. Jenkins of Irving, Texas on workers' compensation fraud-related charges.

Jenkins owned CTJ Maintenance, Inc. of Irving. He obtained workers' compensation coverage through Texas Mutual from Aug. 26, 2006, to Sept. 14, 2009. Texas Mutual alleges that, during that time, Jenkins misrepresented the number of employees and payroll associated with the company.

Because workers' compensation insurance premium is based, in part, on payroll, this type of scheme results in an employer being charged a lower premium than it actually owes. By hiding payroll, an employer can gain an unfair advantage over competitors.

Note: A grand jury indictment is a formal accusation, not a conviction, of criminal conduct.

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