Washington state seeks input on rate increase

Olympia, WA – The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries is seeking comment from the state’s Workers’ Compensation Advisory Committee on a proposed 2012 rate increase to help restore workers’ comp reserve funds.

The proposal for the 2012 rate ranges from 4.5 to 8 percent; in a Sept. 12 press release, L&I said selecting the higher rate would lead to lower rate increases in the future. The rate increase is part of reforms that L&I is pushing to save $1.1 billion over the next four years.

According to L&I, the department drew down its reserves by $332 million over the past three years to avoid raising rates during a recession. As a result, the state’s reserves are low by industry standards: For every dollar in held reserves by other public industrial insurers, Washington has 20 cents in reserve.

L&I plans to announce the proposed 2012 rate on Sept. 20, host hearings in October and finalize the rates in early December.

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