A safer future for all.

Montana’s workers and Montana State Fund.

Montana is built on strong, resilient, determined workers. Protecting them protects our way of life here. We take that responsibility seriously and personally. Because we’re Montana workers too.

Montana State Fund is different from other workers’ compensation insurance companies.


Continuing to do our job for Montana means evolving as our world does the same. We constantly seek out new and more cost-effective and efficient ways to serve our customers, and put them in place quickly. Business demands it. Montana needs it.

In Session

Get the latest information about pending workers’ compensation legislation that may impact workers and/or policyholders, and learn whether MSF supports or opposes the legislation.

How Workers’ Compensation Works

See the specifics behind our partnership with businesses and the workers who power them.

Book by account size:

See how our policyholder mix – and primarily serving small businesses – keeps workers’ compensation insurance both affordable and high quality.

77% of our policyholders are small businesses
that pay less than $5,000 in annual premiums.
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Total Premium
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Total Premium
Which means that 85% of our total premium volume
comes from just 6,000 companies.

A Who’s Who of Montana’s Workers’ Compensation System

Several parties are involved in establishing and governing workers’ compensation insurance in Montana. Please click on a hexagon to learn more.

Insurance Companies The Montana Legislature The Judicial Branch State Auditor’s Office, Commissioner of Securities and Insurance (SAO/CSI) National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) Montana Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI) The Executive Branch

The Montana Legislature

Montana’s legislators determine workers’ compensation laws for the state. The Legislature meets primarily in odd-numbered years from January until the beginning of May. If a bill is passed by both of its chambers, it is sent to the governor.

The Executive Branch

Head of the executive branch, the governor can choose to sign a bill to make it law, veto it or allow it to become law without a signature. The governor also has an “amendatory veto” option, which allows for certain changes to a bill before sending it back to the Legislature for consideration.

The Judicial Branch

As with any law, the judiciary serves to hear, consider and rule on disputes. In addition to the courts of the judiciary, under the DOLI umbrella Montana has is a workers’ compensation court to handle disputes specifically related to claims for workers’ comp benefits. Appeals from the workers’ compensation court go directly to the Montana Supreme Court.

Insurance Companies

Hundreds of insurance companies, including Montana State Fund, are approved to sell workers’ compensation coverage in Montana. All carriers follow the same benefit structure and abide by the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) basic manual when selling policies.

Montana Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI)

DOLI regulates workers’ compensation benefits and ensures employers are compliant with workers’ compensation laws. The department also aids injured employees and provides mediators to assist in benefit disputes.

State Auditor’s Office, Commissioner of Securities and Insurance (SAO/CSI)

The SAO regulates policy enforcement and the certification of insurance companies. SAO is also responsible for the overall regulation of insurance companies in Montana.

National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI)

The NCCI is an independent advisory organization appointed by SAO to gather data, analyze industry trends and provide objective insurance rate and loss cost recommendations.1
1. National Council on Compensation Insurance, “About NCCI,” May 20, 2022,,, accessed October 31, 2022.

Policyholders First

The best gauge of the job we’re doing for Montana is our policyholder satisfaction.

Timely claim management

Our average timing for the first payment of compensable claims is 6.31 days.
(The law allows 14.)
Our annual policyholder retention rate is greater than 90%.

A Future Worth Protecting:

See the path to more sustainable work in our state, now and in the future.

In 1915, Montana became one of the earliest states to pass a workers’ compensation act. However, by the 1980s, our state government faced an unfunded claim liability of more than $500 million – the result of unsustainably low insurance premium rates that were driven by the political process. Private carriers left the state, giving Montana businesses even fewer options for their workers’ compensation insurance. The Montana Legislature initiated a process that ultimately led to forming Montana State Fund as an independent, not-for-profit public corporation. Learn more about our history and how we’ve evolved over the years in the timeline below.

  1. An upside-down system

    July 1987
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    • Legislature enacts payroll tax of 0.3% because of the unfunded liability in the State Fund, aka the “Old Fund.”
  2. Change on the horizon

    June 1989
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    • Legislature approves transfer of $20 million from the General Fund to a workers’ compensation tax account, but unfunded liabilities continue to grow without a change to underlying rate inadequacy.
  3. An innovative new model

    May 1990
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    • Legislature separates the liability into claims happening before July 1, 1990 (“Old Fund”) and after July 1, 1990 (“New Fund,” now MSF). Old Fund liabilities are funded by an increased payroll tax on employers and employees.
    • MSF receives $12 million in startup funds, then becomes funded solely by insurance premiums and investment income from premiums.
  4. Safety takes the stage

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    • Legislature passes the Safety Culture Act.
  5. Accounting for the past

    September 1996
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    • MSF pays $103 million to the Old Fund in lieu of paying dividends to its policyholders. The transfer repays the $12 million startup funds and pays down Old Fund bonds.
  6. Settling up

    January 1997
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    • MSF transfers $63.8 million to the Old Fund, including the repayment of the $20 million General Fund transfer of 1989.
  7. Proof of concept

    December 1998
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    • Payroll tax ends as Old Fund meets the criteria to be considered “adequately funded.”
  8. Paying returns

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    • MSF declares its first-ever dividend to policyholders in the amount of $10 million. As workers' compensation claim costs stabilize and investment returns are realized, MSF returns $306 million in dividends to insured Montana employers.
  9. Moving forward

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    • Special session transfers $4 million of Old Fund excess to General Fund.
  10. Solidifying the model

    January 2003
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    • Interim committee studies the structure and role of MSF and makes recommendations to the Legislature.
    • $18.2 million plus an additional $800,000 of Old Fund excess is transferred to General Fund (with the $4 million added in 2002) for a total of $23 million.
  11. A secured future

    January 2005
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    • Legislative liaisons to the MSF Board of Directors determine there will be no sale of MSF and maintain the current structure as an independent not-for-profit public corporation and competitive state fund to be the guaranteed market for Montana businesses.
  12. The economics of safety

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    • MSF launches “Work Hard, Be Safe” campaign to celebrate Montanans’ worth ethic and encourage the development of a safety culture in Montana.
  13. Educating young workers

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    • “No Jack” TV and social media campaign tackles the job of helping young workers take safety seriously.
  14. Reflecting success

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    • Old Fund assets are depleted and the General Fund begins paying Old Fund Claims and administration costs.
    • MSF Board adopts a 20% average decrease in rates due to the passage of HB334, a workers’ compensation reform bill.
  15. Reaching a new generation

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    • MSF begins using new channels, including a popular YouTube video series, to raise awareness about safety and educate workers.
  16. Ensuring a future of protection

    January 2015
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    • Regulatory oversight for MSF is transferred from the Legislature to the State Auditor’s Office (SAO).
  17. A major milestone

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    • MSF marks the 100th anniversary of the Workers’ Compensation Act with a campaign honoring workers around the state.
  18. Recognized leadership

    July 2016
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    • SAO begins review and approval of MSF rates. The Montana Commissioner of Securities and Insurance approves MSF rates as adequate, not excessive, and not unfairly discriminatory.
  19. A greater reach

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    • Legislature requires Montana Board of Investments to transfer up to $30 million ($15 million each year) of MSF assets to the state’s Fire Suppression Fund.
    • MSF launches Growing a Safer Montana to emphasize to young workers the importance of workplace safety. The program has two primary components: 1) provide PPE grants to Montana senior high school industrial arts classes, and 2) provide scholarships for higher education to students entering trades and industries or industrial arts career paths.
  20. Tangible savings

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    • MSF’s premium rates reach the lowest level in history. Rates are more than 50% lower than they were at the peak rates in the early 1990s.
  21. Honoring champions statewide

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    • MSF’s WorkSafe Champions program graduates its 300th business. The “Safety Works Here” campaign conveys the success of safety efforts on workplace culture across Montana.
  22. Living our mission

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    • During the COVID pandemic, MSF staff packs and ships over 500 boxes of personal protective equipment (PPE) to frontline policyholders and their employees.
    • MSF launches to showcase the organization’s mission, economic impact and commitment to a safer Montana workforce.
  23. Expanding safety resources

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    • relaunches with updated and expanded safety education tools for employers and employees across the gamut of Montana industries.
    • MSF’s Growing a Safer Montana personal protective equipment (PPE) program expands its reach to supply safety gear to middle school industrial arts classrooms, in addition to senior high classrooms.


Find answers to your questions about our structure, operations, the dollars and more.


Download these materials to learn even more about how Montana State Fund operates and the key issues impacting the safety of Montana’s workers.

MSF Brochure Download brochure