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The statutory purpose of the Minnesota Joint Underwriting Association (MJUA) is to provide liability insurance coverage to those individuals or entities that are unable to obtain coverage through traditional methods if the insurance is required by law, or if the insurance is necessary to earn a livelihood serving a public purpose. The MJUA provides coverage to a wide variety of businesses and individuals, including day care facilities, foster homes, group homes, guardians and trustees, liquor establishments, medical professionals, directors and officers, and nursing homes. For some of these businesses and individuals, liability coverage is simply not available or affordable in the traditional market. For others, the MJUA can sometimes be a bridge to a business or individual entering the traditional market for the first time, or after a claims history. In addition, by providing insurance coverage options to these individual or entities, it provides Minnesotans recourse should there be a need for a claim.
The MJUA sanctions as an insurer and is funded through policy holder premiums. If there is as shortfall, the private insurers in the state of Minnesota can be assessed to meet the shortfall. There has not been an assessment of the private insurers for at least ten years.
The MJUA has brought a lawsuit regarding the release of data to seek a clarification from the courts about whether the Data Practices Act (or "open records" law) applies to it, after the Star Tribune requested the identity of all corporate policyholders insured through the MJUA, and other sensitive information. The Minnesota Department of Administration, the governmental agency who can make the initial determination of whether the open records law applies, has taken differing views of whether laws regarding open records or open meetings apply to associations and organizations that are similar to the MJUA. The MJUA's goal in this lawsuit is to ensure clear, legal guidance in making the right decision on the appropriateness of releasing the identities of its corporate policyholders, which would be a departure from typical privacy policies for most private insurers. Our organization is proud of the work we do and look forward to a clear direction on the best practice for those we insure and all Minnesotans that benefit from the existence of the MJUA.