Insurers are applying the brakes to workers’ compensation rate increases in Missouri, according to the state’s insurance department.
After almost one-third of such insurers filed rate changes in January, overall rates increased an average of only 0.7 percent — compared to 14.7 percent for 2003.
More companies lowered rates in January than filed increases. With 96 of 310 carriers submitting rate changes, 54 reduced their average rates while 42 posted increases.
Scott Lakin, the Missouri Department of Insurance director, said the companies’ rate filings reflect the fact that workplace injuries in Missouri are falling faster than medical costs are rising. State reports show the number of such injuries fell by more than 30,000, or by 18 percent, from 2001 to 2003.
Companies lowering rates included most members of the large Travelers, American International, CIGNA and CNA groups. Multiple companies in the Liberty Mutual and American Financial insurance groups, however, raised rates.
Most of the rate reductions followed the recommendation of the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI), an industry trade group, that insurers should lower rates 1.4 percent in 2004. Both MDI and NCCI recommended that companies reduce rates in 2004.
January historically is the most active month for rate filings.