L&I Confirms 7.6 Percent Workers' Comp Increase; Reform Battle Looms

The Department of Labor & Industries announced Nov. 30 that the proposed 7.6 percent average increase in workers’ compensation insurance premiums will indeed take effect January 1 2010.

The increased rate remains unchanged from the amount originally proposed by the Department in October despite protests by several AGC members and representatives from other industries in hearings held around the state.

The increase guarantees that workers’ comp will be a major topic during the 2010 Legislative Session. AGC and its business coalition partners are pushing for significant reforms of the system rather than large tax increases in the midst of a recession.

Among the reforms sought by AGC are:

  • Create a Settlement Option. Allow workers employers and L&I the option to settle and release claims for a lump sum. Washington is in a tiny minority of states that forbid this proven claims resolution mechanism.
  • Better Define Occupational Disease. Washington has one of the broadest occupational disease definitions in the country. It must be revised to exclude conditions that are not work-related.
  • Establish Medical Provider Networks. Injured workers deserve access to medical providers trained and experienced in treating their particular condition – as is the practice in 42 other states. We need to establish these networks to treat injured workers statewide.

For a copy of the full position paper created by AGC and its business coalition partners click here.