R.I.’s Top Workers’ Comp Writer, Beacon Mutual, Seeks 27% Decrease

January 17, 2006

Rhode Island’s biggest workers’ compensation writer, Beacon Mutual Insurance Company, is requesting a 27.7 percent average loss cost decrease in a filing to the Department of Business Regulation.

Rhode Island has not had an increase in workers’ comp insurance rates for 15 years.

Beacon’s filing comes about a week after state officials signed off on a 4.2 percent reduction in loss costs for workers’ comp risks not insured through Beacon Mutual, effective Jan. 1, 2006. Beacon Mutual writes almost 90 percent of businesses in the state. The other insurers writing in the state file for rates through the National Council on Compensation Insurance, which had asked for a 2.3 percent overall loss cost reduction.

Some Beacon Mutual accounts will see the loss cost portion of their rate go down as much as 36 percent and not one Insured will see an increase, as a result of this filing, the company said.

“This filing represents another major step for the Rhode Island workers’ compensation system,” commented Joseph A. Solomon, Beacon’s president and chief executive officer.

Carriers licensed to write workers’ comp insurance in Rhode
Island have the option of “adopting” the loss costs approved by the DBR for NCCI or they may make their own individual rate filings. Beacon Mutual has opted to file its own rates, based on Rhode Island rather than national data.

“By utilizing Rhode Island data, we can better trace the efforts of our policyholders to create safer workplaces. The end result is this unprecedented 27.7 percent loss cost decrease,” Solomon said.

In January last year, average loss costs were reduced 20.2 percent, after NCCI had filed for an 18.3 percent reduction. Prior to last January, rates in the state had not changed since 1998, when the state approved a 9.4 percent to 10.5 percent rate reduction. While the industry made a filing in 2001, lawmakers blocked the filing at that time.

NCCI’s figures in its filing last year were criticized by the state attorney general and by Beacon Mutual, although the insurer later declined to be a formal party in the hearing process.

“This continues the remarkable resurgence of Rhode Island’s workers’ compensation system. Through the continuing efforts of the executive branch, our legislators, the attorney general, the courts, the medical community, the agent community, and the exceptional efforts of the employees and employers in Rhode Island, we continue to have a system that everyone can be proud of,” Solomon concluded.

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