The DOI issued the decision on March 23, 2016
On December 3, 2015, the Workers’ Compensation Rating and Inspection Bureau of Massachusetts (“WCRIB”) submitted a filing for the revision of the rules and rates applicable concerning workers’ compensation insurance involving risks classified within the Admiralty and Federal Employer Liability Act (“FELA”).
Similar to its December rate filing seeking an overall statewide increase of 6.4%, this submission also requested that the changes be effective July 1, 2016.
Rates have not been revised since 1951
According to the WCRIB filing and the DOI Decision, the purpose of this rate filing was to modernize the existing Admiralty and FELA classes in order to make them consistent with their counterparts nationwide. Unlike other states, the workers’ compensation classes in Massachusetts have remained unchanged since 1951.
In comparison, the National Council for Compensation Insurance (“NCCI”) has revised the number and definitions of Admiralty classifications twice, during the same time period, once in 1975 and then again in 1996. The WCRIB says that because of the limited number of Massachusetts exposures within both the Admiralty and FELA classes, it had not been necessary to adopt the previous NCCI revisions. The current request, however, comes in response to requests by various member carriers of the WCRIB who would like the national rules adopted in order to allow them to simultaneously conform to both the national rules and Massachusetts practices.
Stipulation approved with little fanfare
Essentially, the rate filing requested eight proposed changes to the workers’ compensation programs both Admiralty and FELA classes, classifications and descriptions which for the most part have been adopted by the rest of the country. Additional increases in limits for coverage have also been increased.
Based on the evidence presented and the nature of the request, the Division of Insurance approved the stipulation between the parties finding that the classifications or premiums are “not excessive, inadequate, or unfairly discriminatory for the risks to which they respectively apply, and fall within a range of reasonableness.” As such, the revised classifications, rating methods and rates for risks in the Admiralty and FELA classifications, as set out in the December 3, 2015 will become effective on and after July 1, 2016.