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Sat Dec 19, 2015, 04:05 AM

An overhaul for Travis County DA’s insurance agreement with Texas Mutual Ins. Company

Responding to a flood of criticism about its unusual financial arrangement with a large insurance company, the Travis County district attorney’s office is dramatically restructuring its workers’ compensation fraud unit and implementing new safeguards against potential abuse and conflicts of interest.

The changes come in the wake of a series of reports by the Austin American-Statesman and The Texas Tribune that raised questions about the cozy relationship between government prosecutors and Texas Mutual Insurance Company, the state’s largest provider of workers’ compensation policies.

After a six-month joint investigation, the reports revealed in September that Texas Mutual, in an exclusive funding deal, had authorized payments to the district attorney’s office of more than $4.7 million since 2001 to have its fraud cases prosecuted by the public prosecutors. Under the deal, private fraud investigators working for Texas Mutual reported their cases directly to those prosecutors.

“I think that we should always be striving to assure there’s confidence in the way the justice system works, and I had questions that the way this was set up created appearances that would degrade confidence,” said state Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, who announced the changes Friday. “And so I tried to address those within the limitations we have.”

Read more: http://www.mystatesman.com/news/news/an-overhaul-for-travis-county-das-insurance-agreem/npnX9/?icmp=statesman_internallink_referralbox_free-to-premium-referral

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