Ind. Department of Insurance Approves Decrease in Workers’ Compensation Rates

Ind. Department of Insurance Approves Decrease in Workers’ Compensation Rates

“The significant savings will help support Indiana businesses and encourage continued job growth for Hoosiers,” said Indiana Department of Insurance Commissioner Stephen W. Robertson.
Workers’ Compensation rates in Indiana have been on a downward trend for the last five years. This decrease in rates can be attributed to a drop in frequency of worker injuries due to an increased emphasis on safety in the workplace and better case management when injuries do occur. The robust job market also plays a key role as payrolls increase and the economy grows, creating a larger base for collecting premiums.
Indiana Workers’ Compensation rates consistently rank second lowest in the United States, according to the Oregon Workers’ Compensation Premium Rate Ranking report. The Information Technology and Research Section in the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services has examined state rates on a biennial basis since 1986.
“We are proud that Indiana continues to produce some of the lowest Workers’ Compensation rates in the nation. With overall rates decreasing in 2018, Indiana intensifies its tradition of offering employers a welcoming and responsive business environment,” said Robertson.

Free Work Safe, Texas Summit offers workers’ comp information

Free Work Safe, Texas Summit offers workers’ comp information

More than 256,000 Texas workers suffered injuries or illnesses in 2015 that were covered by insurers at a cost of more than $328 million.
On Nov. 7 Texas Mutual Insurance, the state’s largest workers’ compensation insurer, will offer a free seminar for big and small employers interested in learning more about the state’s workers’ compensation program and how to avoid risks and costs.
It’s called the Work Safe, Texas Summit, and it will run from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Wyndham El Paso Airport Hotel.
Doors open at 7:45 a.m. with a free breakfast.
And it’s not just for Texas Mutual policyholders, said Jeremiah Bentley, Texas Mutual’s vice president of marketing and customer engagement.
The company provides workers’ comp insurance for 48,000 businesses, or about 40 percent of the market in Texas.
“We just do workers’ compensation insurance, and we just do it in Texas,” he said.
Texas is the only state in the U.S. that doesn’t require employers to carry workers’ compensation coverage, but more than 80 percent of workers are covered by a policy.
There’s also the taking-care-of-the-employee thing because we cover all the medical related to an injury, and if they’re off work, we have wage-replacement benefits for them.” Businesses without workers’ compensation insurance tend to be small office operations or mom-and-pop businesses that don’t think they can afford insurance or don’t see themselves as needing it.
“But one injury can put those people out of business – that’s the risk they take,” Bentley said.

NYS Assembly Dems oppose proposed state workers’ comp changes

NYS Assembly Dems oppose proposed state workers’ comp changes

The following is an expanded version of the third item from my “Albany Insider” column from Monday’s print editions: Assembly Democrats have come out strongly against proposed workers’ compensation rules that they believe are anti-worker.
We are disappointed to see that the proposed guidelines and proposed regulations do just that,” the Assembly Dems said in a letter to Workers Compensation Board Chairwoman Clarissa Rodriguez.
The letter, signed by 95 of the 106 Assembly Democrats, including Speaker Carl Heastie, says the board did not revise the existing guidelines “to reflect advances in modern medicine as required by law, but instead took the liberty to completely re-write and re-structure the guidelines without evidence that the changes are reflective of advances in modern medicine.” The letter says it’s a priority of the Assembly majority to ensure that all injured workers are fairly compensated for workplace injuries and “are not subjected to arbitrary and unjustified benefit reductions.”
Assembly Dems are worried the new regs reduce the due process rights of claimants.
Among the overall concerns are proposals the Assembly Democrats say would place new caps on impairment limits, a reducing of what’s considered the normal range of motion for extremities, adding earning capacity as a factor in determining the extent in which an injured worker suffered a loss, and limiting what evidence claimants can present to the board.
The Dems also expressed concerts the new guidelines and regulations as proposed would narrow the instances in which a claimant can request additional medical exams and authorizes that the board can deny claims if an independent medical examiner determines that he or she has not cooperate with a medical exam or failed to properly fill out forms.
They also complained the regulations were developed before the board reached out to all stakeholders, which was supposed to occur.
The Assembly Dems are calling on the board to withdraw the proposed regulations and guidelines completely and start from scratch to make sure there is proper public input and that any changes are tied to “advances in modern medicine that enhances healing and result in better outcomes.”
The rules shoudld also make sure that “no worker is unnecessarily harmed by arbitrary” changes. “We look forward to working with you to ensure that injured workers can count on the workers’ compensation system to provide just and timely compensation when a tragic workplace injury occurs.”

Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board to increase rates in 2018

Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board to increase rates in 2018

The Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board will increase its assessment rates for most businesses in 2018, the board said in a press release Oct. 12.
Employers in industries such as building demolition, bricklaying and masonry will see the largest increase at 10.3 per cent (which translates to $5.70 per every $100 of payroll, up from $5.17 in 2017). Employers in industries like road making and electrical contracting, come in second with a 9.8 per cent increase ($3.24 in 2018, up from $2.95 in 2017).
Employers from other groups can expect to see a rate increase ranging between 0.3 to 6.2 per cent.
The sole group to buck the trend is the resources and transportation category which includes placer mining, exploration, reclamation and drilling water wells, which will see a 2.7 per cent decrease in rates next year ($4.66 in 2018 compared to $4.79 in 2017).
The YWCHSB press release said that even with the increases, most employers will still be paying less than they did from 2009 to 2015, and that rates are still “artificially low” thanks to a surplus that allows rates to be subsidized.
“When employers pay rates that reflect the actual costs of caring for injured workers, it helps them recognize the value of preventing injuries and getting workers back on the job as quickly and safely as possible following an injury,” board chair Mark Pike said in the release.
Rate increases for some groups are also the result of an increase in claims, YWCHSB President and CEO Kurt Dieckmann said in the press release.
“Employers may not be able to control rate subsidies, but they have direct control over how safe their workplaces are, and that’s a much more effective way to keep rates low,” Dieckmann said.

How a drug court rehab kept its participants’ workers comp

How a drug court rehab kept its participants’ workers comp

After Fred Barbee broke his ankle while working at a chicken processing plant in Arkansas, he expected time off to heal.
But he wasn’t in a normal workplace.
But CAAIR routinely files workers’ comp claims for men injured in the chicken plants and collects the payments, Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting has found.
The potential workers’ comp fraud raises a third legal issue for CAAIR, which is based in northeastern Oklahoma and sends workers to plants in Arkansas and Missouri.
Men in the CAAIR program said workers routinely were injured in the plants and fired when they couldn’t work.