Missouri Gov. Blunt’s Workers’ Compensation Reform Could Cut Costs By Nearly Eight Percent


Missouri Ranks No. 1 in Midwest in Cost Reductions

Jefferson City, MO  (CompNewsNetwork) - A recent filing by the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) indicates Missouri workers' compensation reform measures enacted by Gov. Matt Blunt in 2005 have helped decrease workers' compensation rates in Missouri by nearly 8 percent.

“The effects of workers' compensation reform are having a positive impact on Missouri employers, while providing essential protections for Missouri workers,” Gov. Blunt said. “This dramatic 7.7 percent reduction in costs for Missouri employers is helping attract and retain more jobs, promote continued economic growth, and providing more opportunities for Missouri workers.”

Data collected by the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, Workers' Compensation Division, indicate a continued downward trend in overall workers' compensation costs. The NCCI recently proposed an overall decrease of 7.7 percent on average from its 2008 loss costs for the state of Missouri. Insurers and self-insurers use these loss costs to establish workers' compensation premiums for Missouri employers. The manufacturing industry will see the largest decrease in costs, followed by the office and clerical sector.

Based on data collected by the NCCI, Missouri ranks No. 1 out of 11 Midwestern states with the largest reduction in workers' compensation insurance rates. Data compiled was based on states that completed a voluntary market filing. In the report, Missouri could see an approximate 7.7 percent reduction in workers' compensation insurance rates beginning in January 2009, while Oklahoma could see the highest spike in rates with an increase of 7.2 percent in costs.

State Voluntary Market Filings

Oklahoma           +7.2%

Kansas             &nbs p; +5.6%

Illinois             &n bsp;    +4.0%

Indiana             &nb sp;  -0.2%

South Dakota    -0.4%

Wisconsin         -2.47%

Minnesota          -2.6%

Iowa*               ;    -3.8%

Nebraska           -4.0%

Michigan            -4.2%

Missouri              -7.7%

* Pending

“The data released by the NCCI indicates a decline in claim frequency, and we believe the primary reason for this downward trend can be attributed to the workers' compensation reform championed and enacted by Gov. Blunt in 2005,” said Todd Smith, director of the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. “We continue to see more employers entering the market because they can afford to provide workers' compensation insurance for their employees.”

 In 2005, Gov. Blunt signed into law legislation keeping his promise to restore fairness to Missouri's workers' compensation system by protecting rights of injured workers without threatening Missouri jobs. The legislation introduced several improvements to the workers' compensation system that ensures employers are liable only for injuries for which they are directly responsible, limits benefits available to employees found to be under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs at the time of the accident, increases penalties against those who seek to abuse Missouri's Workers' Compensation laws and makes administrative law judges subject to performance audits to promote neutrality, so claimants are not unfairly favored over defendants, or vice versa.

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