The Montana State Fund, the state’s largest workers compensation insurance company, announced a $20 million dividend this week that will be paid by the end of May.

President and CEO of Montana State Fund, Lawrence Hubbard has details from Helena.

“We're pleased that our board of directors in their March meeting just reduced workers compensation average rates for Montana State fund customers by 10%,” said Hubbard. “This is certainly on the heels of year over year rate decreases since 2007. And as well, the Board of Directors declared an additional $20 million dividend to customers that have demonstrated strong workplace safety practices.”

Hubbard said the Montana State Fund has been working with employers to increase workplace safety, in addition to wise investing, and the effort has paid off for their customers.

“We've tried to provide resources and support for employers and employees to learn more about workplace safety, to develop a real culture of workplace safety, recognizing that people are our most precious asset,” he said. “I think the results are beginning to literally pay dividends and have consistently since 2009, although I think the amounts have been increasing largely because of the invested assets and the economic return on investments that all of us have enjoyed, whether you have a 401k or whether you're in this case, a state fund like ours.”

Hubbard looked back on the history of the Montana State Fund when the news wasn’t so good.

“Many years ago, folks that were around knew that the Montana State Fund was not a success story,” he said. “We were struggling out of a terrible financial mess and the entire worker's compensation system was really broken. It's taken a number of years to build back. But I think right now, our Montana policyholders and Montanans generally can be proud of what we've accomplished.”

Hubbard said the success that MSF has enjoyed since then has been a team effort.

“It takes everyone,” he said. “It takes legislators to support the work we do. It takes employers and workers and of course the medical providers to help people stay on the job if they get hurt and certainly return them back to work as soon as possible after injury.”

Hubbard said the $20 million dividend comes on the heels of a similar but separate $20 million dividend that was paid last fall.