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Tomblin bullish on comp system

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is in no mood to entertain changes to workers' compensation insurance, which was transformed from a state monopoly to a private, competitive market starting in 2006.

Tomblin said rates have declined by more than 20 percent since he became governor and by more than 60 percent since then-Gov. Joe Manchin and the Legislature privatized the system.

The rate reductions amount to $208 million in annual savings for the state's employers, he told Business Summit attendees last week.

"We must be vigilant to make sure our system remains strong," he said. "We must take steps to preserve Rule 20 and make sure the Insurance Commission and the Industrial Council remain empowered as decision-makers."

Rule 20 governs the medical management of claims. The state Insurance Commission regulates the insurance industry in West Virginia. The Industrial Council sets policy.

Tomblin said: "My mentality is simple. We fixed it. Leave it alone! Privatization has been a huge success."

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Republican Senate Candidate John Raese urged Business Summit attendees to see the movie, "2016: Obama's America."

The film "gives an explanation of what Barack Obama has done to this country right under our nose," Raese said. "It is a 'must see.'"

Other reviews are mixed. The movie is currently showing at several local theaters.

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Greenbrier Resort owner Jim Justice, who bought the Wintergreen Resort for $16.5 million in June, plans to invest almost $12 million in the Virginia property over the next 16 months.

According to a story in Virginia Business, the resort has notified members and property owners that $6 million will be invested immediately, in cooperation with the Nelson County Service Authority, to build a 5-million-gallon raw-water storage tank and pumping station.

The upgrade will double the resort's snowmaking capacity and provide a redundant water supply to the water treatment plant, the magazine said.

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It was great to visit with state House of Delegates Sergeant-at-Arms Emeritus Oce Smith in Fairmont on Monday.

Smith continues to write a Sunday column for the Fairmont Times West Virginian.

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I was saddened to learn of the Aug. 31 death of Tom Corrie.

Corrie called me soon after I started working at the Daily Mail 14 years ago. He introduced me to many of his business acquaintances. Corrie's company, Atlantic Development Corp., owned many properties throughout the state. He never sought the spotlight but seemed to know everyone. He often called with story suggestions and commentary.

I'll miss those calls.

There was a celebration of Corrie's life Monday at Wilson Funeral Home.

Contact business editor George Hohmann at business@dailymail.

com or 304-348-4836.


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