Drop in Workers’ Comp Rates in Washington Proposed for 3rd Straight Year

September 18, 2019

The price of workers’ compensation insurance in Washington would drop for the third year in a row under a proposal by the Washington Department of Labor & Industries.

The L&I on Wednesday proposed a 0.8% decrease in the average premium employers would pay for the coverage in 2020.

“Workplace injury rates in Washington are declining, and we’ve had great success in recent years helping injured workers heal and return to work,” L&I Director Joel Sacks said in a statement. “That’s good for everyone and is helping us keep the price of workers’ compensation insurance down.”

In 2018, the average workers’ comp premium rate dropped by 2.5%. L&I lowered the 2019 rate by another 5%, the largest decline in more than 10 years.

The proposed decrease would mean Washington employers, as a group, pay a total of $21 million less in premiums. According to L&I, the price drop would result in employers paying an average of about $15 less a year per employee for workers’ comp.

Employees would see a very small increase in the amount they pay because of a rise in costs related to the supplemental pension fund, due to an increase in the average wage in Washington. The supplemental pension fund supports cost-of-living adjustments for long-term time-loss and pension benefits.

The public will get an opportunity to provide input about the rate proposal before a final decision is made in late November.

Three public hearings are scheduled:

  • Tukwila, Oct. 29, 10 a.m., Deptartment of Labor & Industries Tukwila office
  • Spokane Valley, Oct. 30, 9 a.m., Spokane CenterPlace
  • Tumwater, Nov. 1, 10 a.m., Tumwater Labor & Industries office

People can also comment in writing to Jo Anne Attwood, administrative regulations analyst, at P.O. Box 41448, Olympia, WA, 98504-4148; or email joanne.attwood@Lni.wa.gov. All comments must be received by 5 p.m. on Nov. 5.

More information about the proposal is available at www.Lni.wa.gov/Rates. Final rates will be adopted by early December and go into effect Jan. 1, 2020.

L&I workers’ compensation insurance covers about 3 million workers and nearly 180,000 employers in Washington.

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