The DOI settled with the WCRIBMA & AG’s Office to avoid an overall rate increase
The Massachusetts Division of Insurance has announced that there will be no overall average rate change for worker’s compensation rates in the Commonwealth in 2014. In December 2013, the Worker’s Compensation Rating and Inspection Bureau (WCRIB) filed an industry-wide rate filing requesting an overall average increase of 7.7 percent. After conducting over a month-long hearing on the matter, the DOI announced that it had reached a settlement with both the WCRIB and the Attorney General’s office which will result in a zero overall rate change, effective April 1, 2014.
“Our aim when reviewing rate requests is to ensure affordability for those buying insurance while also maintaining a financially stable insurance market in the Commonwealth,” said Commissioner of Insurance Joseph G. Murphy. “This outcome meets those dual goals. As with every insurance line we regulate, Division staff entered this review committed to maintaining a fair and competitive market.”
As part of the settlement agreement, the parties agreed that while there would be a zero overall rate change, certain employer group classifications would be modified in order to allow for a more accurate prediction of worker’s compensation losses. As a result of this agreement, the Division says that less than 2 percent of Massachusetts employers may see an adjustment in their rates to reflect the modified classification of their workers.
According to WCRIB, approximately 141,000 employers in Massachusetts currently carry workers’ compensation coverage. The last time a rate increase for worker’s compensation rates was approved was in 2001, when the Division approved a one percent increase. Since then, says the Division, rates have declined by nearly 25 percent.
In 1991, the Massachusetts’ worker’s compensation system was completely overhauled in order to create a system with more efficient claims management, workplace safety, and better return-to-work programs. With only limited exceptions, every employer in Massachusetts that claims at least one or more employee is required to have an active workers’ compensation policy at all times.