Site Alert

WorkerWeb and ProviderWeb online claim filing are down for maintenance until Monday, October 27th. We apologize for any inconvenience.

News for Small Business - September 12, 2006

Special Edition

Proposed 2007 workers' comp premium rates drop for most industries

Most Washington state industries will enjoy lower workers’ compensation premiums next year under a rate plan proposed by the state Department of Labor & Industries (L&I).

If the proposal is adopted, L&I would lower workers’ compensation premium rates next year by an overall average of 2 percent. It is the first general rate reduction in six years, and would save employers about $31 million in premiums.

L&I Director Gary Weeks said he was able to propose lower rates because of the strong economy, a good return on investment of reserve funds and the agency’s ability to control medical costs. He said the rate proposal meets his and Gov. Chris Gregoire’s goal of keeping rates relatively steady rather than allowing large decreases followed by large increases such as those adopted in 2003 and 2004.

This rate proposal is an average for all industries and risk classes. Construction has the largest average rate decrease of any industry (down 4 percent), followed by forest products, food processing and manufacturing, metal and machinery manufacturing, and transportation/warehousing. Those were all down 3 percent.

Other industries would see increases or decreases, depending on the number and severity of workplace-injury claims they produce.

Here are average proposed rate changes for a selection of risk classes in different industries:

  • Clerical office workers (Risk Class 4904) – Up 1 percent.
  • Restaurants and taverns (Risk Class 3905) – Down 1 percent.
  • Retail stores (Risk Class 6406) – Up 3 percent.
  • Hardware, auto parts and sporting goods stores (Risk Class 6309) – Up 1 percent.
  • Boarding homes and retirement centers (Risk Class 6509) – Down 2 percent.

You can find the proposed average rate for your risk class by going to: www.LNI.wa.gov/ClaimsIns/Insurance/RatesRisk/Check/RatesHistory/default.asp.

Your rates can be higher or lower than the average for your risk class, depending on how your company’s workplace-safety record stacks up with other employers in your industry.

You are invited to send written comments to L&I or attend one of four public hearings scheduled statewide. L&I will announce a final decision on 2007 rates in November and notify you about your company’s rates in December.

Links to the L&I web site for more information:


Workers’ compensation premium rates will drop 4 percent for construction

The construction industry will see an overall 4 percent decrease in workers’ compensation premiums next year under a rate plan proposed by the state Department of Labor & Industries (L&I).

L&I Director Gary Weeks said he was able to propose lower rates because of the strong economy, a good return on investment of reserve funds and the agency’s ability to control medical costs. He said the rate proposal meets his and Gov. Chris Gregoire’s goal of keeping rates relatively steady rather than allowing large decreases followed by large increases such as those adopted in 2003 and 2004.

The 4 percent decrease proposal is an average for all firms in the construction industry, and is the largest decrease for any industry in Washington. Each company’s 2007 premiums, and those of each risk class, can be higher or lower than the average, depending on their history of workers’ compensation claims.

Here are average proposed rate changes for the five construction-related risk classes with the largest number of workers:

  • Wood frame building construction (Risk Class 0510) – Down 5 percent.
  • Electrical wiring: Buildings and structures (Risk Class 0601) – Down 4 percent.
  • Construction estimator (Risk Class 4911) – No change.
  • Excavation and grading, not otherwise classified (Risk Class 0101) – Down 6 percent.
  • Plumbing (Risk Class 0306) – Down 5 percent.

You can find the proposed average rate for your risk class by going to: www.LNI.wa.gov/ClaimsIns/Insurance/RatesRisk/Check/RatesHistory/default.asp.

Your rates can be higher or lower than the average for your risk class, depending on how your company’s workplace-safety record stacks up with other employers in your industry.

Weeks said his rate proposal would have little effect on the state workers’ compensation insurance fund’s large, $1.7 billion contingency reserve – the difference between assets held today and liabilities anticipated to be paid out over the next 60 years. He said L&I is working with the Workers’ Compensation Finance Committee to determine the appropriate size of the contingency reserve. One option being explored for lowering it is a six-month rate holiday on the portion of the premium that pays for medical costs. A decision on the contingency reserve will be made later this fall. A rate holiday, if approved, would appear in the second half of 2007.

These proposed rates must be presented at public hearings. You are invited to attend and/or send written comments to L&I. Your company’s 2007 rates will be sent to you in December.

Links to the L&I web site for more information:


Workers’ compensation premium rates will drop in agriculture and food processing

The agriculture and food processing industries will see overall lower workers’ compensation premiums next year under a rate plan proposed by the state Department of Labor & Industries (L&I).

Industry-wide average rates in agriculture would drop 1 percent, while average rates would decrease by 3 percent next year for firms that process and manufacture food. Each company’s 2007 premiums, and those of each risk class, can be higher or lower than the average, depending on their history of workers’ compensation claims.

L&I Director Gary Weeks said he was able to propose lower rates because of the strong economy, a good return on investment of reserve funds and the agency’s ability to control its medical costs. He said the rate proposal meets his and Gov. Chris Gregoire’s goal of keeping rates relatively steady rather than allowing large decreases followed by large increases such as those adopted in 2003 and 2004.

Here are average proposed rate changes for the five agriculture and food processing-related risk classes with the largest number of workers:

  • Orchards (Risk Class 4803) – No change.
  • Fruit and vegetable packing - Fresh (Risk Class 2104) – Down 1 percent.
  • Fruit/Vegetable canneries/Food product mfg. (Risk Class 3902) – Down 5 percent.
  • Meat, fish and poultry dealers - wholesale (Risk Class 3304) – Down 3 percent.
  • Vegetable farms – machine harvest (Risk Class 4801) – Up 2 percent.

You can find the proposed average rate for your risk class by going to: www.LNI.wa.gov/ClaimsIns/Insurance/RatesRisk/Check/RatesHistory/default.asp.

Your rates can be higher or lower than the average for your risk class, depending on how your company’s workplace-safety record stacks up with other employers in your industry.

Weeks said his rate proposal would have little effect on the state workers’ compensation insurance fund’s large, $1.7 billion contingency reserve – the difference between assets held today and liabilities anticipated to be paid out over the next 60 years. He said L&I is working with the Workers’ Compensation Finance Committee to determine the appropriate size of the contingency reserve. One option being explored for lowering it is a six-month rate holiday on the portion of the premium that pays for medical costs. A decision on the contingency reserve will be made later this fall. A rate holiday, if approved, would appear in the second half of 2007.

These proposed rates must be presented at public hearings. You are invited to attend and/or send written comments to L&I. Your company’s 2007 rates will be sent to you in December.

Links to the L&I web site for more information:


Workers’ compensation premium rates will drop 3 percent for transportation industry

The transportation and warehousing industries will see an overall 3 percent decrease in workers’ compensation premiums next year under a rate plan proposed by the state Department of Labor & Industries (L&I).

L&I Director Gary Weeks said he was able to propose lower rates because of the strong economy, a good return on investment of reserve funds and the agency’s ability to control medical costs. He said the rate proposal meets his and Gov. Chris Gregoire’s goal of keeping rates relatively steady rather than allowing large decreases followed by large increases such as those adopted in 2003 and 2004.

The 3 percent decrease proposal is an average for all firms in the transportation industry. Each company’s 2007 premiums, and those of each risk class, can be higher or lower than the average, depending on their history of workers’ compensation claims.

Here are average proposed rate changes for the five transportation-related risk classes with the largest number of workers:

  • Trucking (if not covered under a specialized classification) (Risk Class 1102) – Down 5 percent.
  • Parcel and package delivery services (Risk Class 1101) – Down 1 percent.
  • Warehouses (if not covered under a specialized classification), grocery distribution and recycle centers (Risk Class 2102) – Down 4 percent.
  • Freight handling services (Risk Class 2002) – Down 2 percent.
  • Bus companies (Risk Class 1407) – Down 8 percent.

You can find the proposed average rate for your risk class by going to: www.LNI.wa.gov/ClaimsIns/Insurance/RatesRisk/Check/RatesHistory/default.asp.

Your rates can be higher or lower than the average for your risk class, depending on how your company’s workplace-safety record stacks up with other employers in your industry.

Weeks said his rate proposal would have little effect on the state workers’ compensation insurance fund’s large, $1.7 billion contingency reserve – the difference between assets held today and liabilities anticipated to be paid out over the next 60 years. He said L&I is working with the Workers’ Compensation Finance Committee to determine the appropriate size of the contingency reserve. One option being explored for lowering it is a six-month rate holiday on the portion of the premium that pays for medical costs. A decision on the contingency reserve will be made later this fall. A rate holiday, if approved, would appear in the second half of 2007.

These proposed rates must be presented at public hearings. You are invited to attend and/or send written comments to L&I. Your company’s 2007 rates will be sent to you in December.

Links to the L&I web site for more information:


Workers’ compensation premium rates will drop 3 percent for forest products industry

The forest products industry will see an overall 3 percent decrease in workers’ compensation premiums next year under a rate plan proposed by the state Department of Labor & Industries (L&I).

L&I Director Gary Weeks said he was able to propose lower rates because of the strong economy, a good return on investment of reserve funds and the agency’s ability to control medical costs. He said the rate proposal meets his and Gov. Chris Gregoire’s goal of keeping rates relatively steady rather than allowing large decreases followed by large increases such as those adopted in 2003 and 2004.

The 3 percent decrease proposal is an average for all firms in the forest products industry. Each company’s 2007 premiums, and those of each risk class, can be higher or lower than the average, depending on their history of workers’ compensation claims.

Here are average proposed rate changes for some of the largest forest products-related risk classes:

  • Wood products manufacturing (Risk Class 2903) – Down 4 percent.
  • Cabinet and counter manufacturing (Risk Class 2907) – Down 2 percent.
  • Sawmills and automated shake and shingle mills (Risk Class 1002) – Down 4 percent.
  • Logging operations, not otherwise classified (Risk Class 5001) – Down 2 percent.
  • Log hauling (Risk Class 5003) – Down 2 percent.

You can find the proposed average rate for your risk class by going to: www.LNI.wa.gov/ClaimsIns/Insurance/RatesRisk/Check/RatesHistory/default.asp.

Your rates can be higher or lower than the average for your risk class, depending on how your company’s workplace-safety record stacks up with other employers in your industry.

Weeks said his rate proposal would have little effect on the state workers’ compensation insurance fund’s large, $1.7 billion contingency reserve – the difference between assets held today and liabilities anticipated to be paid out over the next 60 years. He said L&I is working with the Workers’ Compensation Finance Committee to determine the appropriate size of the contingency reserve. One option being explored for lowering it is a six-month rate holiday on the portion of the premium that pays for medical costs. A decision on the contingency reserve will be made later this fall. A rate holiday, if approved, would appear in the second half of 2007.

These proposed rates must be presented at public hearings. You are invited to attend and/or send written comments to L&I. Your company’s 2007 rates will be sent to you in December.

Links to the L&I web site for more information:


Workers’ compensation premium rates for drywall industry take sizeable drop

Companies employing drywall installers and tapers will see workers’ compensation premiums next year that average between 3 and 9 percent lower than this year’s rates under a rate plan proposed by the state Department of Labor & Industries (L&I).

L&I Director Gary Weeks said he was able to propose lower rates because of the strong economy, a good return on investment of reserve funds and the agency’s ability to control medical costs. He said the rate proposal meets his and Gov. Chris Gregoire’s goal of keeping rates relatively steady rather than allowing large decreases followed by large increases such as those adopted in 2003 and 2004.

The premium decreases for drywallers are among the largest for any industry in the state, and are part of an overall average decrease of 2 percent for all industries. Each company’s 2007 premiums can be higher or lower than the average for its risk class, depending on its history of workers’ compensation claims.

Here are average proposed rate changes for the four drywall industry risk classes:

  • Risk Class 0540, Wallboard Installation – Discounted Rate: Down 9 percent.
  • Risk Class 0550, Wallboard Installation – Undiscounted Rate: Down 8 percent.
  • Risk Class 0541, Wallboard Taping – Discounted Rate: Down 3 percent.
  • Risk Class 0551, Wallboard Taping – Undiscounted Rate: Down 4 percent.

You can find the proposed average rate for your risk class by going to: www.LNI.wa.gov/ClaimsIns/Insurance/RatesRisk/Check/RatesHistory/default.asp.

Your rates can be higher or lower than the average for your risk class, depending on how your company’s workplace-safety record stacks up with other employers in your industry.

Weeks said his rate proposal would have little effect on the state workers’ compensation insurance fund’s large, $1.7 billion contingency reserve – the difference between assets held today and liabilities anticipated to be paid out over the next 60 years. He said L&I is working with the Workers’ Compensation Finance Committee to determine the appropriate size of the contingency reserve. One option being explored for lowering it is a six-month rate holiday on the portion of the premium that pays for medical costs. A decision on the contingency reserve will be made later this fall. A rate holiday, if approved, would appear in the second half of 2007.

These proposed rates must be presented at public hearings. You are invited to attend and/or send written comments to L&I. Your company’s 2007 rates will be sent to you in December.

Links to the L&I web site for more information:


L&I Small Business Contact:

Ron Langley
Small Business Liaison
Phone: 360-902-4205
Fax: 360-902-4202
E-mail: SmallBusiness@LNI.wa.gov

Want to subscribe to L&I News for Small Business? Contact Ron using the contact information listed above.

End of main content, page footer follows.

Access Washington official state portal

© Washington State Dept. of Labor & Industries. Use of this site is subject to the laws of the state of Washington.