(a) No disbursements shall be made from the workers' compensation fund on account of any provision of this article: Provided, That the Legislature may at any time merge, consolidate, alter or liquidate this fund as it may determine and in no instance shall the operation of this article be construed as creating any contract which would deprive any injured employee of future benefits or increases awarded by an act of Congress, nor shall this section operate to create any liability upon the State of West Virginia.
(b) The Legislature hereby finds and declares that there is a substantial actuarial surplus in the coal-workers' pneumoconiosis fund in excess of $200 million. The Legislature further finds and declares that there is a substantial actuarial deficit in the workers' compensation fund in excess of $400 million, and that this deficit is in large part attributable to claims arising out of the coal industry. The commissioner is hereby directed to conduct an actuarial audit to determine the amount, computed at book value, of the actuarial surplus in the coal-workers' pneumoconiosis fund as of June 30, 1990, and to certify such amount, as of that date, in a written order which together with the results of said audit shall be a public record. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section or any other provision of this article to the contrary, the commissioner shall, by written order, transfer the assets underlying said surplus to the workers' compensation fund, which assets shall thereupon become merged into and consolidated with the workers' compensation fund: Provided, That the value of the assets so transferred, when computed according to the book value of said assets on the date of transfer, shall not exceed $250 million: Provided, however, That such assets so transferred shall be held in a separate account and shall not be used for the satisfaction of obligations of the workers' compensation fund until all other assets of the workers' compensation fund have been expended: Provided further, That the income earned, from time to time, on the assets so transferred may be used to satisfy obligations of the workers' compensation fund: And provided further, That a sufficient reserve shall be retained in the coal-workers' pneumoconiosis fund to guarantee the payment of all claims incurred, including claims which were incurred but not reported, on or before June 30, 1990: And provided further, That any moneys due and owing to the coal-workers' pneumoconiosis fund as a result of any transfer of moneys pursuant to section eight-a of this article shall be construed as an asset of the coal-workers' pneumoconiosis fund and shall be included as an asset transferred to the workers' compensation fund under the provisions of this section. If at any time subsequent to the transfer of the aforesaid assets to the workers' compensation fund, the standards for obtaining benefits under Title IV of the Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969, as amended and as subsequently amended, are changed such that the actuarial audit performed hereunder may no longer accurately reflect the liabilities of the coal-workers' pneumoconiosis fund for claims arising prior to July 1, 1990, the commissioner shall promptly conduct a new audit to determine whether any portion of the foregoing separate account should be returned to the coal-workers' pneumoconiosis fund in order to provide adequate reserves for claims arising prior to July 1, 1990, and, if the results of such new audit determine that said reserves are inadequate, the commissioner shall transfer back to the coal-workers' pneumoconiosis fund that portion of the assets in the separate account necessary to provide adequate reserves for such claims.