Business Journal: Workers Comp Going Up

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(Sacramento, CA)
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Workers’ compensation insurance could increase in 2009, likely grabbing the attention of business owners who have enjoyed declining rates for five consecutive years. It’s a big concern for business owners who challenged fast-rising insurance rates and prompted lawmakers to reform the program in 2004. But insurance providers say medical costs and permanent disability payments will force them to increase rates in to order cover their operating expenses and eke out a small profit. Even with the recent decline in rates, California has the nation’s second-highest rate for workers’ comp insurance, behind Alaska. And three-dozen states have rates at least 25 percent cheaper than California. The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau, an industry advisory group, has recommended a 16 percent increase effective Jan. 1. But some say the insurance commissioner will suggest a more modest 5 to 9 percent increase. Either way, business owners will likely pay more for workers’ compensation.