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N.H. high court says ex-LGC risk pool can delay $17.1 million repayment

The state Supreme Court yesterday granted permission for one of the former Local Government Center’s risk pools to put off paying a $17.1 million bill that had been due Dec. 1.

An administrative hearing officer last year ordered that, among other things, the Property-Liability Trust repay its sister risk pool, HealthTrust, for money the health insurance pool gave it over the years to subsidize its operations.

(Both public risk pools, which provide insurance coverage to New Hampshire governments and their employees, had been run by the LGC but became technically independent Sept. 1 as part of a corporate reorganization.)

The Dec. 1 deadline for repaying the $17.1 million raised the prospect of insolvency for the Property-Liability Trust, which held net assets of less than $11.6 million at the end of 2011, according to its most recent available annual report.

“It would be very difficult right now for PLT to pay the $17.1 million,” said Executive Director Wendy Lee Parker yesterday.

The LGC has appealed the August 2012 administrative hearing order to the Supreme Court, which is scheduled to hear oral arguments Nov. 14 from the risk pools and their regulator, the state Bureau of Securities Regulation.

The high court refused last year to stay the implementation of the order during the appeal. But the Property-Liability Trust earlier this month asked the court to stay at least the $17.1 million payment until the case is decided.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court granted the partial stay in a brief order that didn’t specify a reason.

Parker called it a “great day,” and he said the risk pool is confident it will prevail in its appeal.

The Bureau of Securities Regulation couldn’t be reached for comment yesterday.

(Ben Leubsdorf can be reached at 369-3307 or bleubsdorf@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @BenLeubsdorf.)

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