Premium rates on workers’ compensation insurance increased for 2014, marking the first time premiums have gone up in three years, according to the Department of Labor and Industries (L&I). The average rate increase was 2.7%, which, as L&I Director Joel Sacks pointed out, comes out to a bump of less than two cents per hour worked.
This latest increase in rates is part of a long-term plan to maintain stable and predictable rates by benchmarking them along with wage inflation. The adjusted rates “will also help to gradually rebuild the workers’ comp reserves,” said Sacks.
Acknowledging that the 2011 reforms will save a projected $150 million in the fiscal year ending next July, Sacks promised that the agency will go even further to lower costs for Washington businesses and workers. “We are looking at every step in the claims process for ways to lower costs while getting better results for injured workers. We’ve committed to reducing costs by $35 to $70 million by June 2014 through initiatives that improve efficiency and address the needs of our customers,” he said.
The rate hikes, which economists calculate will generate nearly $55 million in additional premiums next year, are averaged for all Washington employers. This means that particular employers could find their own rates increased or reduced, depending on the history of injuries and claims in their workplace, as well as changes in the cost and frequency of claims within their industry. L&I hosted public hearings to discuss rates in Washington state last October. The 2014 rates by industry are currently available on the L&I website.
Washington remains the only state in the country where workers pitch in to cover a substantial portion of worker’s compensation insurance premiums. Next year, their share will come out to 25%.
Washington’s workers’ compensation system (or L&I), is the 7th biggest industrial insurance consortium in the U.S., providing health and injury coverage to nearly 2.5 million workers and over 150,000 employers. L&I also administers workers’ compensation programs that insure an additional 860,000 workers whose employers opt for self-coverage. Each year, approximately 100,000 Washington residents file work injury claims with L&I.
If you have a work injuryor occupational disease, the Workers Compensation Lawyers of Emery Reddy can help you through the claims process and get you the maximum benefits allowed by law. We also have extensive experience defending victims of third party injury. Call an L&I Attorney today for a free consultation.
Broadcast version: Businesses in Washington state will pay 2.7 percent more for workers’ compensation insurance next year, the Department of Labor and Industries announced today. L&I said 2.7 percent is an average for all businesses and some will pay more or less than this, depending on their safety record and other factors. About 100,000 workers file claims with L&I each year for workplace injuries. The insurance premiums are used to pay medical costs and time-loss for workers who can’t work due to a job injury.