(1) There is hereby created an Excess Liability Fund to be collected and received by the director for the exclusive use and purposes stated in the Nebraska Hospital-Medical Liability Act. Such fund and any income from it shall be held by the State Treasurer in trust, deposited in a separate account, and invested and reinvested pursuant to law.
(2) To create the fund, an annual surcharge shall be levied on all health care providers in Nebraska who have qualified under sections 44-2824 and 44-2827. The surcharge for each health care provider shall be determined by the director subject to the following limitations:
(a) The annual surcharge shall not exceed fifty percent of the annual premium paid by such health care provider for maintenance of current financial responsibility as provided in sections 44-2827 and 44-2837 to 44-2839; and
(b) The charge shall not exceed the amount necessary to maintain the fund in the amount stated in section 44-2830.
(3) Such surcharge and any primary insurance premiums due under sections 44-2837 to 44-2839 shall be due and payable within thirty days after the health care provider has qualified in Nebraska pursuant to section 44-2824 and shall be payable annually thereafter in such amounts as may be determined by the director insofar as the surcharge is concerned and by the risk manager insofar as primary liability coverage is concerned.
(4) The net premiums payable for primary insurance provided by the risk manager pursuant to sections 44-2837 to 44-2839 shall be deposited in the fund at least annually by the risk manager.
(5) If the annual premium surcharge or premiums for primary insurance under sections 44-2837 to 44-2839 are not paid within the time specified in subsection (3) of this section, the qualification of the health care provider under section 44-2824 shall be suspended until the annual premiums are paid. Such suspension shall not be effective as to patients claiming against the health care provider unless, at least thirty days before the effective date of the suspension, a written notice giving the date upon which the suspension becomes effective has been provided by the director to the health care provider.
(6) The Director of Insurance, as administrator of the fund, shall be responsible for legal defense of the fund. The director, using money from the fund as deemed necessary, appropriate, or desirable, may purchase the services of persons, firms, and corporations to aid in protecting the fund against claims. The Department of Justice shall not be responsible for legal defense of the fund. All expenses of collecting, protecting, and administering the fund shall be paid from the fund.