Washington Delays 2011 Workers Comp Premium Adjustments
Republished with permission from ReduceYourWorkersComp.com
The Washington Department of Labor & Industries has put on hold the unveiling 2011 workers compensation premium adjustments until November, following an election that includes a proposal that would drastically change the program.
According to the Spokesman-Review, Director Judy Schurke informed legislators recently the department has not run the numbers, normally put out in September because, if Initiative 1082 passes, they would have to be removed. Releasing any numbers, she commented, might “confuse” business owners. (WCxKit)
According to business interests they are prisoners of one of the last remaining state workers comp monopolies, and one moving down the road of insolvency at that.
Businesses accuse L&I of “hiding the ball” in not unveiling large premium increases that would work to the benefit of I-1082 supporters. They also chastise the department for permitting prolonged, expensive worker absences that grossly top the norm in other parts of the country.
The most damaging claim made is centered on a December 2009 independent audit of the program's accident fund, which pays no medical costs such as lost wages and pensions. The auditors claimed insolvency was a 74.4% possibility within two years, and a 90% possibility within five years.
Business interests claim the alternative to the problems is I-1082, which would permit employers to purchase coverage from private insurers, not only the state. And the way rates are to be calculated would change.
The non-partisan public policy think tank, Washington Policy Center (WPC), recently released a report explaining how passage of the business community-backed Initiative 1082 will be a boon to business owners and workers in WashingtonState.
The study, Citizens Guide to Initiative 1082: To Reform Workers Compensation in Washington, concludes that terminating the state monopoly on workers comp and allowing competition from private insurers will “help keep premium increases in check, encourage innovation in rehabilitating injured workers, and most importantly, provide safer workplaces.” (WCxKit)
According to the Washington State Labor Council, business exaggerates the damage from a pair of extraordinarily bad years.
Workers comp premiums went up only 8% during the 2004-2009 periods, and fell in eight of the last 15 years.
Author Rebecca Shafer, JD, President of Amaxx Risks Solutions, Inc. is a national expert in the field of workers compensation. She is a writer, speaker and website publisher. Her expertise is working with employers to reduce workers compensation costs, and her clients include airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. Contact: RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.comor 860-553-6604.
Disclaimer: WorkersCompensation.com publishes independently generated writings from a variety of workers' compensation industry stakeholders. The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of WorkersCompensation.com.