Massachusetts Workers’ Comp Rates to Rise an Average of 1.5%

April 20, 2016

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration announced Wednesday that the state’s workers’ compensation rates will rise an average 1.5 percent beginning July 1.

Officials said this nominal increase is the result of a settlement between the Division of Insurance’s State Rating Bureau, the Workers’ Compensation Rating and Inspection Bureau (WCRIB), and the Office of the Attorney General.

The settlement reduced the WCRIB’s original request from 6.4 percent, saving approximately $50 million annually in Massachusetts workers’ compensation premiums. Another $30 million in premiums was averted as a result of an agreement to remove an experience rating offset proposal from the WCRIB’s original rate filing.

The last time Massachusetts raised the average workers’ comp rates was in 2001, when the rates rose by an average of 1 percent.

“In a time when the costs of doing business continue to be a challenge, I’m pleased that our State Rating Bureau worked convincingly to broker an agreement on this important and mandatory insurance coverage,” Massachusetts Insurance Commissioner Daniel Judson said.

“This is an outcome that has a substantial positive impact for Massachusetts businesses,” Judson added.

“This is welcome news for employers both large and small in the Commonwealth,” said John Chapman, undersecretary for the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation.

“We’re pleased that our workers’ compensation system is a healthy one and that our workforce can be reassured that a stable safety net is there when it’s needed,” Chapman said.

In the Massachusetts workers’ comp system, rate changes vary for individual classes of employment. As a result of this agreement, the maximum rate increase for any class was reduced by 15 percent. With the rates now approved by the insurance commissioner, insurers may submit downward deviation requests that could lower rates for some employers. Currently about 50 insurers offer such reductions, which range from a few percentage points to over 25 percent.

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