Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, the board of supervisors of a county which is wholly or partially self-insured under the workers’ compensation laws, which is wholly or partially self-insured against public liability, or which is wholly or partially self-insured for employee health and welfare benefits, may contract with a qualified firm for the purpose of having such firm render investigative, administrative, and claims adjustment services relating to workers’ compensation and public liability and employee health and welfare benefit claims against the county. The contract may provide that the contracting firm may reject, settle, compromise and approve workers’ compensation, and public liability and employee health and welfare benefit claims against the county, its officers or employees, within such limits and for such amounts as the board of supervisors may specify, and may provide that the contracting firm may execute and issue checks in payment of such claims, which checks shall be payable only from a trust fund which may be established by the board of supervisors. Funds in the trust fund established by the board pursuant to the provisions of this section shall not exceed a sum sufficient to provide for the settlement of claims for a 30-day period as determined by the board of supervisors or the sum of twenty thousand dollars ($20,000), whichever is larger, at any one time. The rejection or settlement and approval of a claim by the contracting firm in accordance with the terms of the contract shall have the same effect as would the rejection or settlement and approval of such a claim by the board of supervisors and the county auditor. The contract may also provide that the contracting firm may employ legal counsel, subject to such terms and limitations as the board may prescribe, to advise such contracting firm concerning the legality and advisability of rejecting, settling, compromising and paying claims referred to said contracting firm by the county for investigation and adjustment, or to represent the county in litigation concerning such claims. The compensation and expenses of such attorney for services rendered to the county shall be county charges.
The contract provided for in this section may contain such other terms and conditions as the board of supervisors may consider necessary or desirable to effectuate the county’s self-insured programs.
In lieu of, or in addition to, contracting for the services described in this section, the board of supervisors may authorize a county employee to perform any or all of the services and functions which the board may contract for under the provisions of this section.
(a) “Firm” includes a person, corporation, or other legal entity.
(b) “Board of supervisors” includes governing boards of districts and other public agencies for which the board of supervisors acts as the governing board.
(c) “County” includes such districts and other public agencies for which the board of supervisors acts as the governing board.