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WV sees reduction in workers' comp insurance rates

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For the ninth consecutive time, the National Council on Compensation Insurance has reduced West Virginia's workers' compensation insurance rates, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced July 22.

The NCCI filed a proposed 8.8 percent overall decrease with the West Virginia Insurance Commissioner, which is expected to result in $36 million of projected premium reductions for West Virginia employers. The new loss cost rate is effective Nov. 1. In addition, NCCI filed an 8.5 percent rate reduction in the residual market as part of the filing.

"With this reduction, West Virginia employers will have saved $250 million since workers' compensation privatization," Tomblin said. "These savings demonstrate our willingness to address problems within the workers' compensation market years ago was the right decision for West Virginia employers and employees.

Industry officials are pleased with the reductions, saying the move indicates a safer workplace.

"We are encouraged by the announcement that workers' compensation rates are going down. This is an indication that our workplaces are becoming safer and that our businesses continue to make their employees a priority," said Jan Vineyard, president of the West Virginia Oil Marketers and Grocers Association, West Virginia Trucking Association and West Virginia Wholesalers Association. "The other good news is that our businesses are able to take workers' compensation savings and invest them back into their businesses. This is another example that West Virginia is heading in the right direction."

Karen Price, president of the West Virginia Manufacturers Association, said the announcement contributes to an improving business climate.

"Since West Virginia privatized our workers' compensation system, manufacturers have continued to see their premiums reduced," Price said. "Our members work hard to protect the safety of their employees and this announcement reinforces their efforts.

"Additionally, reductions in our workers' compensation contribute to our ever-improving business climate."

According to information from the governor's office, loss costs is the estimated amount necessary to pay all medical and indemnity costs associated with workers' comp claims. All workers' compensation insurance carriers use loss cost to calculate rates.

This serves as the ninth consecutive decrease in loss cost since workers' compensation was privatized 2005 and accounts for a cumulative decrease of 48.1 percent from pre-reform levels.