Washington Workers’ Comp Rates Dropping Third Straight Year

December 2, 2019

The price of workers’ compensation insurance is dropping in Washington for the third consecutive year.

The Washington Department of Labor & Industries in late November announced a 0.8% decrease in the average amount employers will pay for the coverage in 2020.

L&I cut rates by 5% in 2019 and 2.5% in 2018.

“Our workers’ compensation system is in good shape. Every year we help tens of thousands of people recover from on-the-job injuries and go back to work,” L&I Director Joel Sacks said in a statement. “Our programs to help injured workers are making a real difference, and workplace injury rates in Washington are declining. That’s great for workers and their families and is helping us keep costs down.”

Under the lower 2020 rate, employers will pay an average of about $15 less per employee for a year of workers’ comp. As a result of the reduction, as a group, employers will pay $21 million less in premiums next year.

Workers will see a very small increase in what they pay for workers’ comp insurance because the average wage for workers in Washington has gone up. The new rates take effect the first of the year.

L&I made the final decision on rates after taking public input, including hosting three public hearings around the state.

L&I workers’ comp insurance covers about 3 million workers and nearly 180,000 employers in Washington. The department accepts more than 95,000 injured worker claims each year.

In the past six years, the projected long-term costs for the workers’ comp system have fallen more than $2.9 billion thanks to a variety of department efforts.

The 0.8% rate decrease is an average. An individual employer’s actual rate change may be more or less depending on that employer’s industry and claims history.

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