Beacon Mutual Relents, Grants R.I. Officials Access to Most Files

April 30, 2006

Beacon Mutual Insurance Co. has turned over computer records it initially withheld from Rhode Island state investigators probing accusations that the company gave price breaks to favored clients.

The files have been the subject of a legal battle between the state’s largest workers’ compensation insurer and Gov. Don Carcieri’s administration.

Company spokesman Bill Fischer said Beacon wants to cooperate. Fischer said the company decided to hand over the hard drives after its board met last Wednesday. The files were handed over Friday.

“This truly is a new spirit of cooperation,” Fischer said. “We want to get back to selling insurance.”

A recent company-sponsored audit report found that Beacon gave certain companies preferential rates on workers’ compensation policies, including a firm owned by Beacon’s former board chairman, Sheldon Sollosy.

The report prompted the board to fire president Joseph Solomon and vice president of underwriting David Clark on April 20. Carcieri has demanded a shake-up of the board.

Beacon initially refused a request by the state to turn its computer hard drives over to investigators, saying the request was too broad and intrusive.

On Friday, Fischer said Beacon turned over 19 of the 22 computer hard drives the state is seeking, including one belonging to Solomon. Fischer said that of the remaining hard drives in dispute, two contain personal medical information of Beacon employees and a third may contain records covered by attorney-client privilege.

A. Michael Marques, the state director of business regulation, said in a letter to Beacon board chairman Carl Hayes that his agency does not intend to invade the privacy of Beacon employees.

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