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Workers’ compensation insurance rates expect decrease

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Insurance Commission announced workers’ compensation insurance rates will decrease for the sixth year in a row, effective December 1, 2022. Both the voluntary market and the residual market will see rate decreases in the double digits.

“Lowering worker’s compensations costs time and time again helps our local businesses, who have faced several years of uncertainty and economic difficulty due to the pandemic,” Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro said in a press release. “It also helps us to attract new companies and jobs to our state. While costs continue to decrease, companies are keeping their eye on the ball by reducing risk through programs like our Workplace Safety initiative.”

This year’s decrease in worker’s compensation insurance rates is expected to be coupled with the reversal of voluntary and residual market trends – the residual market is expected to see a greater rate decrease. Residual insurers provide ‘last resort’ coverage for companies unable to obtain or afford coverage in the traditional market. Generally, rates in the residual market do not decrease more than the voluntary market, as the clientele tends to be businesses with higher risk or claims history. The reduction seen in the residual market is an indicator that these policies are being used less frequently, as companies can better afford the traditional, voluntary market.

Workers’ compensation insurance provides coverage when an employee is hurt on the job and can provide medical coverage as well as payments for lost wages if a person is unable to work due to their injury. Lower premiums don’t change the amount of compensation an injured employee receives.

Final rates are expected to be announced in early November, following a review of the Delaware Compensation Rating Bureau (DCRB) filing by independent actuaries, and a public hearing with DCRB and the State’s Ratepayer Advocate. Actual savings will vary by policy.

These lower rates are just one component of several Department efforts to help businesses financially. More than 1,200 employers are saving even more money on their workers’ compensation premiums by participating in the department’s Workplace Safety Program, saving approximately $7.4 million last year. Eligible businesses can earn up to a 19% discount on their insurance by successfully undergoing annual safety inspections and complying with recommendations. Importantly, employees may also benefit directly from employer-based safety goals – for example, a workplace may offer bonuses if there are no injuries in a given timeframe and pass on the savings to workers.

Businesses eligible for the Workplace Safety Program are notified each year seven months prior to their renewal date. Organizations interested in participating can access questionnaires online and contact safety@delaware.gov to begin the process. For the first time in 20 years, the Department will update the Inspection Fee Schedule for program participants. Businesses will be notified accordingly. Only benefits can be gained by participating, failure to qualify cannot be the basis for premium increases or sanctions imposed by other safety officials.

 

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