From Washington’s L&I:
TUMWATER —The Department of Labor & Industries announced there will be no overall increase in workers’ compensation insurance premiums in 2013. This is the second year in a row that L&I has held overall rates flat.
While there will be no overall rate increase in 2013, individual employers may see their rates go up or down, depending on their recent claims history and changes in the frequency and cost of claims in their industry. L&I has published a rate table online and will soon send all employers a rate notice. The new rates take effect Jan. 1, 2013.
Earlier this year, when L&I proposed no increase for 2013, Director Judy Schurke credited the proposal to savings from the reforms passed during the 2011 legislative session and other factors projected to hold down costs next year.
The 2011 reforms will save $1.5 billion over four years, $300 million higher than originally estimated.
One of the 2011 reforms, a new statewide provider network scheduled to launch in January, will help L&I continue holding growth in medical costs below 4 percent, said Schurke. “We are very excited about the new network because injured workers will get the best possible care from network providers, who will meet standards similar to those required by other large health insurers,” she added.
Continuing to streamline claims handling will also help L&I hold down costs next year. “We have a number of Lean projects underway to eliminate inefficiencies and process claims faster. By doing our jobs better and faster, we’re helping injured workers recover and return to their jobs sooner. This holds down claims costs for L&I and premiums for employers and workers,” Schurke noted.
L&I expects to receive fewer claims from high hazard industries like construction in 2013, as the economy continues a slow recovery. Injuries in these industries tend to be more severe and costly.
L&I’s rate decision means an additional $82 million will be placed in the State Fund reserves by the end of 2013. The Workers’ Compensation Advisory Committee, which has been working with L&I on a plan to rebuild the reserves, endorsed L&I’s proposal to hold rates steady in 2013 and begin rebuilding the reserves.
Washington is the only state where workers contribute a substantial portion of the premiums. Next year, their share will be about 24 percent.
More than 100,000 workers in Washington state are injured on the job each year. L&I must review premium rates annually and make adjustments to cover the anticipated costs of claims that will be filed in the next year.
More information about 2013 workers’ comp rates is available at www.Rates.Lni.wa.gov