For the second year in a row, the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries announced it will propose no rate increase in workers compensation insurance.
L & I Director Judy Schurke credited the legislature and governor for pursuing workers' compensation reforms in 2011 for her ability to propose no rate increases
"Without those reforms, we would be facing a rate increase," she said in a statement. "Instead, we’re able to keep rates down for Washington’s businesses and workers."
Savings from these reforms are beating expectations. L&I now projects the reforms will save $1.5 billion over four years which is $300 million more than originally thought. L&I estimated it would have had to propose a four percent rate increase if reforms hadn’t been passed.
“This announcement is great news for labor and business and further proof of the good that we can do for the state when the legislature works together,” said Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, who led the charge of moderate Democrats in the senate pushing for workers’ comp reforms in 2011. “These reforms provided relief for businesses, but at the same time we made sure that workers and their families were still protected.”
“The solutions to our fiscal problems are out there. Tackling them in a bipartisan fashion is always a more effective method. This is proof of that.”
These additional savings also means that an additional $82 million will be placed in the State Fund reserves by the end of 2013. Reserves have reached critically low levels in recent years due to the effects of the Great Recession.