Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. can not claim premiums for marine workers not covered by the laws on state workers' compensation, a district court held in a decision published on Monday.
I Liberty Mutual Insurance Corp. v. Dubuque Barge & Fleeting Service Co ., The 8th U.S. Court of Appeals in St. Louis. Louis unanimously confirmed a district court decision that the insurer incorrectly charged premiums for a marine construction company classified as "seafarers" in its workers' compensation calculations. ] Dubuque Barge & Fleeting Service Co., which does business as Dubuque, Iowa-based Newt Marine Service, is a construction company that does most of its work on a floating dredge barge on the Mississippi River.
The company included three one-year employees calculating policies issued by Liberty Mutual through Iowa's assigned risk plan, as of May 201
Each policy excludes coverage for bodily injury to the crew of a Jones Act and thus gave "seafarers" a private right of action against the personal injury company that has suffered during the course and extent of their work.Newt maintained a separate protection and damages policy from American International Group Inc. to cover bodily injuries to its employees classified as seafarers.
However, Liberty Mutual charged Newt Marine a premium for the coverage of seafarers' workers in the final calculations on the basis that Newt could change an employee's work from a seafarer to the
Newt refused to pay the additional premiums, and Liberty Mutual sued the company for breach of contract, seeking more than $ 1 million in premiums.
A district court found that the premiums claimed by Liberty Mutual were not earned under the terms of the insurance, and the insurer appealed.
Court of Appeal
The Court held that if a worker was reclassified, the insurer would be entitled to compensation for that worker, but that the possibility to compensate the seafarers' workers was not covered by the policy language. reclassification does not allow Liberty "to include compensation for all Newt Marin's seafarers employed in the final premium calculation."