0% Overall Increase in Workers' Comp Premiums Final

Its official: L&I recently announced that there will be no overall increase in workers comp insurance premiums in 2013 thanks to safer jobsites and the reforms pushed by AGC last year.

Note that the average increase is zero but the proposed increases for individual construction classifications differ ranging from an 8% decrease for machinery installation service and repair to a 9% increase for excavation road construction and land clearing. For the list of 2013 construction classifications click here.

L&I proposed the rates in September and this month they became official after public hearings.

“AGC members can see the positive results of the workers comp reforms that they helped enact into law last year said AGCs Government Affairs Director Rick Slunaker. The reforms actually saved about $162 million in the rate calculations dropping the projected rates downward. This makes possible an even more important effort: the rebuilding of the Fund’s reserves. There is no question that the reforms are working and giving momentum to additional reforms in the upcoming legislative session.

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% said retiring L&I Director Judy 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&Is 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.