A recent poll shows that Washingtonians are divided over whether to open the state workers’ compensation system up to the private market. Elway Poll results indicate 31 percent of voters are in favor of passing voter initiative I-1082, 31 percent oppose the initiative, and 38 percent are undecided.
The initative would eliminate Washington’s workers’ compensation insurance monopoly. Currently the state Department of Labor and Industries runs the workers’ compensation system.
According to Daniel Holst, executive vice president of the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of Washington, his membership supports the passage of I-1082, and has raised more than $300,000 for the campaign.
“Our members believe the current system doesn’t serve customers well,” Holst said. “L&I has a chance of becoming insolvent, and we believe customers will be better served by having choices. It’s the reason [independent agents and brokers are] in business to begin with.”
Of course, if the measure passes, the association’s membership would play a part in the insurance transaction, he added.
Holst said this election year seemed like an opportunity to approach the issue opening up the workers’ compensation system to the private market because residents are concerned about jobs and overturning large, government monopolies.
“Right now the race is too close to call, but I think we’ve got a good shot,” he said.
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