The Department of Labor & Industries has proposed an average 2.7 percent rate increase for 2014 workers’ compensation premiums.
Over the past two years, workers’ compensation surveys have shown an increase in rates nationally, however this will be L&I’s first rate increase in three years, the organization stated.
“This proposal is part of a long-term plan to ensure steady and predictable rates, help injured workers heal and return to work, and reduce costs by improving operations,” L&I Director Joel Sacks said in a statement. “My goal is to reduce costs by an additional $35-70 million in 2014.”
He added: “I want wage inflation to be our benchmark for steady and predictable rates. Wage inflation is a good benchmark because workers’ comp costs increase as wages increase.”
Washington’s most recent wage inflation number is 3.4 percent. However, because Washington’s rates are based on hours worked and not payroll like other states, Washington needs to raise rates to get the revenue that other states get automatically, according to L&I.
Public hearings on the proposed rates will be held:
- Tukwila, Oct. 22, 10 a.m. at Tukwila Community Center
- Bellingham, Oct. 23, 10 a.m. at Central Library Lecture Room
- Spokane Valley, Oct. 24, 10 a.m. at CenterPlace Event Center
- Richland, Oct. 25, 9 a.m. at Community Center Activity Room
- Tumwater, Oct. 28, 10 a.m. at L&I Auditorium
- Vancouver, Oct. 29, 10 a.m. at Northwest Regional Training Center Rainier Auditorium