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State workers’ comp premiums will increase an average of 7.6 percent next year

Post by C.R. Roberts / The News Tribune on Nov. 30, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
November 30, 2009 4:15 pm

The state Department of Labor & Industries announced today  that workers’ compensation premiums will increase by an average of 7.6 percent in 2010.

“I do understand how difficult the economic environment is right now and wanted to keep the increase as low as possible,” said L&I Director Judy Schurke in a press release.

Robert Malooly, assistant director for L&I’s Insurance Services Division, said the agency has intensified its efforts to reduce operational costs of managing the system while protecting benefits that injured workers receive. “We’re examining all of our costs and all of our processes to identify any potential additional savings that we can squeeze out of the system,” he said in the release.

Over the last five years, according to L&I, rate changes ranged from a decrease of  2 percent in 2007 to a 3.2 percent increase last year. Over the past 15 years, rates have increased an average of 2.1 percent annually.

Two of the biggest factors influencing the 2010 rate increase are health-care inflation, up 8.5 percent, and wage inflation, up 3.4 percent last year, the agency said.

The 7.6 percent rate increase is an average for all Washington employers. Average premiums will go up by about 4 cents per hour worked. Individual employers could see their rates go up or down, depending on their recent claims history and any changes in the frequency and cost of claims in their industry.

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