The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries is proposing no increase in the average rate for workers' compensation insurance for 2013.
If adopted, this would be the second straight year with no increase in workers' comp rates.
"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 news 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."
Savings due to reforms are beating expectations, according to the agency. L&I is now projecting the reforms passed in 2011 will save $1.5 billion over four years, $300 million higher than originally estimated.
While the reforms play an important part in lowering costs, Schurke pointed to additional factors responsible for lower costs in 2013, including:
? Fewer claims in high hazard industries like construction are resulting in fewer long-term disabilities;
? Overall claim frequency, or the number of claims per 100 workers, has gone down by 6.2 percent;
? L&I has held medical cost growth below 4 percent over the past five quarters and expects continuing to do so in 2013 with the new provider network and health technology assessments;
? L&I is resolving claims more quickly as a result of Lean and other improvements.
Washington is the only state where workers pay a substantial portion of premiums. Workers will pay about 24 percent of the premiums in 2013.
The proposal to keep rates flat in 2013 is an average for all Washington employers. Individual employers may see their rates go up or down, depending on their recent claims history and changes in the frequency and cost of claims in their industry.
More information regarding the rate proposal is available at Rates.Lni.wa.gov. The final rates will be adopted in early December and go into effect Jan. 1, 2013.
Reach DAVE GALLAGHER at email@example.com or call 715-2269. Visit his business blog online at blogs.bellinghamherald.com/business or get updates on Twitter at twitter.com/BhamHeraldBiz.