5:40 am February 22, 2010, by Henry Unger
AJC reporters Peralte Paul and Carrie Teegardin have written compelling stories about a gaping hole in the state’s insurance program for workers who get injured on the job.
Paul reports on how Kenny Whitey’s life radically changed when he got injured on June 20, 2006, at Leon Jones Feed & Grain in Cumming. The accident left the 49-year-old, 6-foot-2 outdoorsman trapped in a body he no longer controls.
But the safety net for his medical bills — workers’ compensation — ripped apart in November when Whitey’s employer’s insurer, Atlanta-based Southeastern U.S. Insurance (SEUS), was declared insolvent and taken over by state insurance regulators, Paul reports.
SEUS’ failure placed Kenny Whitey and 87 other Georgians with workplace injuries in insurance limbo. None are covered by the state’s insurance insolvency pool.
Meanwhile, Teegardin reports that when SEUS’ sales tanked with the recession, Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine audited the company and won a court order last year declaring it insolvent. The state shut the company down.
Oxendine in January announced a criminal investigation of M. Clark Fain III, the company’s owner and chief executive.
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