Workers' comp costs fall over time

Workers' comp costs fall over time

1110_ATS14

The cost of workers’ compensation insurance for most Oregon employers will remain flat in 2011, according to the Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS), which sets those rates for every industry in the state. Average pure premiums will fall 1.8%, but because reduced payrolls have lowered department revenue, the premium assessment to fund workers’ comp and workplace safety programs will rise 1.8 percentage points. Premiums have fallen largely due to a 58% drop in the rate of workplace injuries since the 1980s. In 1990, major reforms were put in place, including an innovative return-to-work program, the state workplace safety program (Oregon OSHA) and a dispute resolution process. Almost 20 years later in 2008, Oregon’s rates were 13th-lowest in the U.S. While DCBS sets rates, employers can purchase workers’ comp coverage from private insurers or SAIF Corp., a not-for-profit, state-chartered company that issues nearly half the state’s policies. About 15% of employers elect to self-insure.

BRANDON SAWYER