The average premium rate on workers’ compensation insurance in Washington state will rise next year, according to a Dec. 2 announcement from the state’s Department of Labor and Industries.
The average rate increase on 2014’s premiums will be 2.7 percent, according to state officials, which would represent a rise of less than two cents per hour worked. The increase is part of a long-term plan to ensure predictable future rates by benchmarking them against changes in wage inflations, as well as to help rebuild workers’ comp reserves, according to L&I Director Joel Sacks.
The increase, which will bring in about $55 million in additional premiums next year, is an average for all Washington employers. 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. L&I held public hearings on the proposed rates around the state in October.
It is the first time in three years workers’ comp premiums will increase in Washington.
Among the professions that will see the greatest premium rate increase next year: land surveying service providers, 20 percent; volunteer law enforcement officers, 19 percent; concrete workers (foundation and flat work), 18 percent; wallboard installers (discounted rate), 16 percent.
The greatest premium rate decrease in 2014 will be seen in consulting engineering and architectural services, which is set to drop 9 percent.
Sacks said that L&I has committed to reducing workers’ comp costs statewide by between $35 million and $75 million by June 2014. Reforms made in 2011 are projected to save about $150 million by the end of the current fiscal year next July, according to L&I.
The state’s workers’ comp system, which is the seventh-largest industrial insurance system in the U. S., provides coverage to about 2.5 million workers and more than 160,000 employers. L&I also oversees workers’ compensation programs that cover an additional 870,000 workers whose employers self-insure.
About 100,000 workers file injury claims with L&I each year.