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Division of Coal Mine Workers' Compensation (DCMWC)

Compliance Assistance - Coal Mine Operators and Insurance Carriers

The Black Lung Benefits Act requires each coal mine operator to secure the payment of its benefits liability by either qualifying as a self-insurer or by purchasing and maintaining in force a commercial insurance contract (including a policy or contract procured from a State agency). Coal transportation and coal mine construction employers who are not also coal mine operators do not have to secure benefit payments in advance; however, once an employee is awarded benefits, the Department may require the employer to secure a bond or otherwise guarantee payment.

20 CFR 726.203 contains the form of endorsement that must be attached and applicable to the standard workers’ compensation and employer’s liability policy prepared by the National Council on Compensation Insurance.

The regulations require that a policy or contract of insurance be issued for the term of one year from the date it becomes effective. (20 CFR 725.206)
Please note that any coal mine operator who is required to secure the payment of benefits and who fails to do so is subject to a civil penalty of up to $1,000 for each day of noncompliance. In addition, the president, treasurer and secretary of an uninsured coal mine operator that is a corporation may be liable for the payment of benefits owed to former employees.

The insurance carrier shall report to OWCP each policy and endorsement issued, cancelled or renewed by the carrier. (20 CFR 726.208)  The report is issued using form CM-921.  Each carrier has the responsibility for printing its own CM-921 reporting forms on a standard 80-digit IBM card composed of blue cardboard and following the approved OWCP format. 

Once a year OWCP will send informational instructions to all carriers. These instructions for printing and completing CM-921 forms include a sample of the approved OWCP format.

For additional information regarding insurance coverage and reporting contact:

U.S. Department of Labor
Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs
Division of Coal Mine Workers’ Compensation, Room N3464
200 Constitution Avenue N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20210
(800) 347-2502

Or e-mail us at DCMWC-Public@dol.gov