WORKERS COMP: Every officer of corporation is also employee for WC purposes: Kentucky Employers’ Mutual Insurance v. J&R Mining, Inc. et al. (SC 3/19/2009)

Kentucky Employers’ Mutual Insurance v. J&R Mining, Inc. et al.
2008-SC-000257-WC March 19, 2009
Opinion of the Court; all sitting; Justice Venters concurs in result only.

Earl Reed, Jr., president and co-owner of a mining company, was killed in a work-related accident. The ALJ awarded survivor benefits to Reed’s widow (also a co-owner). On appeal, the insurer argued that the policy specifically excluded officers of the company from coverage at Reed’s request.

In affirming, the Supreme Court held that under KRS 342.640, every officer of a corporation is also an employee for workers’ compensation purposes. Employees wishing to opt out may only do so by properly executing the proper form and filing it with the Office of Workers’ Claims. Since Reed had not rejected coverage in this specific manner, he was covered by the insurer’s policy, notwithstanding his endorsement of the exclusion on the contract of insurance.

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