Insurance Rates Cut 10 Percent Workers’ Comp Savings Reflect Reduction In Claims

Washington businesses will get a $100 million break in their workers’ compensation premiums next year, the Department of Labor and Industries announced Thursday.

The cut amounts to an average of 10 percent. The proposal was previously announced by Gov. Mike Lowry and Labor Director Mark Brown, but it did not become final until Thursday, following a number of public hearings.

“This is good news for the economy of our state because the rate reduction will put $100 million into the wallets of workers and the tills of business,” Brown said.

Workers and employers split the cost of premiums. The staterun system covers 1.6 million workers and 153,000 employers. The coverage pays for lost wages, medical bills and pensions when employees are injured in the workplace.

Actual rate cuts will depend on an industry’s risk class. Logging, for instance, will be reduced 18 percent, saving employers $2,053 for each employee and each logger about $900.

Some individual employers could get decreases even larger than the overall reduction for their industry, if they have a good recent history of preventing workplace injuries and illnesses.

Brown said the lower rates are due to a 5 percent drop in the number of claims, holding medical inflation to 1 percent, and better management of the state investment fund.

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