State proposes no increase to workers' compensation rates

The state Department of Labor and Industries plans no increase in the average rate for workers’ compensation insurance next year.

L&I officials said the workers’ compensation reform passed by the state Legislature in 2011 will likely save about $300 million more than originally estimated, bringing a total of $1.5 billion in savings within four years.

“Had the governor and the Legislature not adopted the 2011 reforms, I wouldn’t be making this proposal today,” said L&I Director Judy Schurke, in a press release. “In fact, without those reforms, we would be facing a rate increase. Instead, we’re able to keep rates down for Washington’s businesses and workers.”

The current proposal would place $82 million in the state-fund reserves by the end of 2013, according to L&I. The Workers Compensation Advisory Committee, which has been working with L&I to develop way to rebuild the state’s reserves, has endorsed the department’s proposal.

State officials said workers will pay about 24 percent of insurance premiums in 2013. Each year, about 100,000 workers’ compensation claims are filed in Washington, according to the L&I department.

L&I officials have scheduled a series of public hearings on the proposed rates:

-Tukwila, Oct. 23, 10 a.m., L&I office

-Bellingham, Oct. 23, 1 p.m., Public Library Lecture Room

-Spokane, Oct. 24, 10 a.m., CenterPlace Event Center

-Richland, Oct. 25, 10 a.m., Community Center Activity Room.

-Tumwater, Oct. 26, 10 a.m., L&I Auditorium

-Vancouver, Oct. 29, 10 a.m., Red Lion at the Quay, Quayside Portside Room

More information regarding the rate proposal is available at www.rates.lni.wa.gov.

The final rates will be adopted in early December and go into effect Jan. 1, 2013.

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