Proposed Workers' Comp Increases Vary by Work Classification

The Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) proposed an average 2.7% rate increase for 2014 workers’ compensation premiums.

Rates are different for each individual risk classification. Within construction the changes range from a decrease of 12% for the bridge bulkhead and tunnel classification to an increase of 18% for the concrete work – foundations and flatwork classification. (See proposed rates for construction-related classifications here.)

The proposed rate increases are smaller than what was anticipated earlier this year when it appeared that double-digit increases would be needed to build up the systems reserves. However L&I is expecting $70 million in savings acquired through administrative savings. 

“We appreciate that Director Sacks is looking at the cost side of the ledger and we’re also pleased that AGC-backed reforms passed by the Legislature in 2011 are having some positive impact” said AGC Executive Vice President David D’Hondt. “But we think more can be done to build up the system’s reserves -- understandably depleted during the recession -- by decreasing costs. For example the next Legislature should pass additional reform legislation to remove the arbitrary 55-year-old age limitation on structured-settlement availability. By enacting this and other reform measures the Legislature can decrease the pressure to raise rates on employers and workers.”

The final rate decision will be announced in early December. Meanwhile the public is invited to comment on L&I’s proposal at public hearings around the state in October. AGC will be participating in the hearings and encourages members to do so as well. The hearing schedule is:

  • Tukwila Oct. 22 10 a.m. Tukwila Community Center
  • Bellingham Oct. 23 10 a.m. Central Library Lecture Room.
  • Spokane Valley Oct. 24 10 a.m. CenterPlace Event Center.
  • Richland Oct. 25 9 a.m. Community Center Activity Room.
  • Tumwater Oct. 28 10 a.m. L&I Auditorium.
  • Vancouver Oct. 29 10 a.m. Northwest Regional Training Center Rainier Auditorium.
For more information contact AGC’s Chief Lobbyist and General Counsel Van Collins at 360.352.5000.