20 CFR § 726.4 - Who must obtain insurance coverage.

§ 726.4 Who must obtain insurance coverage.

(a) Section 423 of part C of title IV of the Act requires each operator of a coal mine or former operator in any State which does meet the requirements prescribed by the Secretary pursuant to section 411 of part C of title IV of the Act to self-insure or obtain a policy or contract of insurance to guarantee the payment of benefits for which such operator may be adjudicated liable under section 422 of the Act. In enacting sections 422 and 423 of the ActCongress has unambiguously expressed its intent that coal mine operators bear the cost of providing the benefits established by part C of title IV of the Act. Section 3 of the Act defines an “operator” as any owner, lessee, or other person who operates, controls, or supervises a coal mine.

(b) Section 422(i) of the Act clearly recognizes that any individual or business entity who is or was a coal mine operator may be found liable for the payment of pneumoconiosis benefits after December 31, 1973. Within this framework it is clear that the Secretary has wide latitude for determining which operator shall be liable for the payment of part C benefits. Comprehensive standards have been promulgated in subpart G of part 725 of this subchapter for the purpose of guiding the Secretary in making such determination. It must be noted that pursuant to these standards any parent or subsidiary corporation, any individual or corporate partner, or partnership, any lessee or lessor of a coal mine, any joint venture or participant in a joint venture, any transferee or transferor of a corporation or other business entity, any former, current, or future operator or any other form of business entity which has had or will have a substantial and reasonably direct interest in the operation of a coal mine may be determined liable for the payment of pneumoconiosis benefits after December 31, 1973. The failure of any such business entity to self-insure or obtain a policy or contract of insurance shall in no way relieve such business entity of its obligation to pay pneumoconiosis benefits in respect of any case in which such business entity's responsibility for such payments has been properly adjudicated. Any business entity described in this section shall take appropriate steps to insure that any liability imposed by part C of the Act on such business entity shall be dischargeable.