Western Growers Urges Further Workers’ Comp Reductions

June 4, 2004

Following up on their successful plea for workers’ compensation rate reductions, Western Growers’ leadership again called on remaining insurance companies to decrease their rates. In April, the fresh produce trade association called for immediate relief for California businesses in an open letter to workers’ compensation insurance companies. The action was prompted by the passage of Senate Bill 899, the milestone reform bill signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Last week, Zenith Insurance Company in Woodland Hills decided to cut their rates by 10 percent effective July 1.

“Workers’ compensation reform is a vital component for reviving and retaining businesses in California, as well as stimulating economic growth,” said WG President and CEO Tom Nassif. “The fresh produce industry has been particularly affected by the current broken worker’s compensation system and applauds Zenith for their role in initiating reforms.” Although the State Fund insures most of agriculture, the momentum has begun.

Nassif said he has heard from other companies who also plan to reduce premiums.

“We look forward to working with them as they plan for cuts in July and further cuts in January.”

Western Growers is an agricultural trade association whose 3,000 members grow, pack and ship 90 percent of the fresh vegetables and nearly 70 percent of the fresh fruit and nuts grown in Arizona and California, about one-half of the nation’s fresh produce.

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