"The overall picture of workers' comp in our industry is very important and ongoing," Mills said. "We're now moving toward analyzing the viability of a national captive."Remi Bellocq, executive director of the National HBPA, said he would approach the University of Arizona to suggest having another insurance meeting during the Symposium on Racing in December. At that time, the National HBPA may be ready to present a white paper on the topic, he said.At last year's insurance meeting, industry officials noted the challenge given the fragmented nature of the pari-mutuel industry. One insurance company representative said other industries -- contractors, truckers, and health-care workers, for example -- can pass on costs to customers. Hiking already steep pari-mutuel taxes or takeout to fund insurance programs isn't considered an option.
Horsemen's representatives who have been working on national insurance issues for the horse racing industry said purchasing an insurance company doesn't appear feasible, but forming a captive might be a viable option.Last December in Tucson, Ariz., the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association and American Quarter Horse Association sponsored an all-day workshop in light of rising workers' compensation insurance premiums, particularly in California. At the time, many options were discussed, including purchase of a company or formation of a captive, which is a company owned by its stakeholders.During the National HBPA summer convention in Cleveland, Ohio, July 11, the organization's National Insurance Committee met to discuss a number of issues, including a national insurance plan. Linda Mills, president of the Florida HBPA who chairs the committee, said the cost factor has taken purchase of an insurance company out of the mix.