Montana State Fund Says Workers’ Comp Rates to Drop Next Year

The Montana State Fund is cutting workers’ compensation insurance rates by an average of 3 percent next year, the agency’s board said.

This is the second year in a row the State Fund, a semiprivate branch of state government, has announced modest reductions.

Laurence Hubbard, the State Fund president, said the cut shows Montana’s businesses have been safer and are working to return their injured workers to work quickly. He also said the State Fund has worked on safety programs and managing injured-worker claims to help cut costs.

The price changes will go into effect July 1.

“This is great news for our businesses,” said Joe Dwyer, chairman of the State Fund board of directors. “In comparison with other states, Montana has been ranked as having the fifth-highest workers’ compensation rates in the nation due to the high cost of injury claims. This reduction is a positive step toward changing that for the better.”

The 3 percent cut is an average only. Workers’ compensation rates for individual companies are based on many factors, including how dangerous the work is and how many on-the-job injuries a business has reported in previous years.

Some businesses, like day care centers, grain elevators and oil and gas lease operators will see rate cuts of about 33 percent, said Dan Gengler, a State Fund rate expert. But others, including manufacturers of fireproofing materials and taxidermists, will see their rates rise from 25 percent to 37 percent.

Montana businesses are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance on all their employees. The insurance covers the medical bills, treatment and other costs for people who are hurt on the job. The State Fund sells insurance to about 28,000 businesses in the state, including all of state government.