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Nov. 29, 1999

Department adopts no rate increase for year 2000

TUMWATER - The Department of Labor & Industries today adopted no general rate increase for workers' compensation premiums in the year 2000.

This marks the sixth consecutive year that the average cost for workers’ compensation coverage in Washington will not go up. The new rates take effect Dec. 31, 1999.

The workers’ compensation system in Washington covers about 163,000 employers and 1.6 million workers and is managed by L&I. The system, referred to as the State Fund, pays for lost wages, medical bills and pensions when employees are injured in the workplace.

Several factors account for no general rate increase for 2000:

• A stable level of claims filed by injured workers.

• Manageable medical inflation within the workers' compensation system.

• Continued success in investments for the workers' compensation system, which helps finance benefits and payments for services for injured workers. The system is referred to as the State Fund.

In recent years, L&I has managed to reduce premiums, avoid rate increases and meet legislatively mandated benefit increases for qualified injured workers. Washington also ranks near the lowest of states in costs for workers’ compensation, according to a recent performance audit.

The proposal for 2000 continues a trend. L&I returned $200 million to employers in 1999 and also cut general rates by $19 million. The department reduced premiums by $50 million in 1998, had no general increase in 1997 and sliced premiums by $300 million in 1996. There also was no rate increase in 1995.

The proposal for 2000 is an average for all industry groups. Some employers may see decreases and others increases depending on their industry classification and their own claims history.

A copy of the base rates for 2000 by class and industry can be downloaded in an Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. If you are having problems opening this file, please try it after downloading the free Excel viewer.  The spreadsheet can also be downloaded and viewed in Adobe Acrobat's .pdf format here (157kb)


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