Workers’ comp premiums will be reduced by an overall 2.3 percent next year, New Jersey Banking and Insurance Commissioner Karen L. Suter announced yesterday.
At the same time, weekly benefits to injured workers for time lost from work will increase to a maximum of $591 from $568, and to a minimum of $158 from $151. The change will affect new and renewal policies effective on or after Jan. 1, 2001.
The reduction will mark the sixth consecutive year that workers’ comp rates have gone down. There was a 2.4 percent decrease in 2000; a 5.2 percent reduction in 1999; a 9.3 percent decrease in 1998; an 11.2 percent reduction in 1997, and a 3.6 percent decrease in 1996. The cumulative effect is a decrease of 30 percent.
It is estimated that the net cost savings to the approximately 168,000 New Jersey businesses during 2001 will be about $31 million.
“These premium reductions flow from a relatively stable loss experience when compared to the exposures,” Commissioner Suter said. “Also contributing is the fact that the economy has maintained a steady and favorable pace. Greater employment like we have experienced here in New Jersey generally produces improved loss results.” Commissioner Suter also said that employers and insurers have been working together to improve workplace safety and, when accidents happen, they are providing optimum medical attention in many cases using certified managed care programs.
Although the overall premium reduction is 2.3 percent, the premium for individual businesses will vary based on the quality of experience generated by the designated business classification. Rates have been determined for 595 business classifications based on the loss experience of each. Rates for 407 classes are decreased; rates for 160 will increase, and rates for the remaining 28 are unchanged.
The New Jersey workers compensation system is the joint responsibility of the Departments of Banking and Insurance and the Department of Labor. The Labor Department administers the processing of claims for benefits. Banking and Insurance, through the Compensation Rating and Inspection Bureau, administers all matters concerning the required insurance.
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