Delaware workers comp rates down for 4th straight year

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First State still ranks high in insurance coverage for injured workers.

Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro announced that workers’ compensation insurance rates would decrease for the fourth year in a row, effective December 1.

The voluntary market sees another double-digit decrease in loss costs, with an average 11.56 percent reduction, and residual market rates will go down an average of 8.8 percent.

The General Assembly enacted reforms to the system that are putting downward pressure on rates. Previous changes wore off and led to the state having among the nation’s highest workers comp rates. Both employers and employees share insurance costs.

As of last year, Delaware’s workers’ comp rates were still the fifth highest in the nation.

“For four consecutive years, we have been able to decrease workers’ compensation costs for businesses of all sizes. This year’s reduction will help decrease business expenses as we continue to experience the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Navarro. “These lower costs can attract new companies to our state and increase employment opportunities, as many organizations look to move out of major metropolitan areas.”

The Delaware Compensation Rating Bureau (DCRB) approved the lower rates after discussion with the Department of Insurance and the State’s Ratepayer Advocate. The approval process includes a review by actuaries for the parties, as well as a public hearing. Actual savings may differ and will vary by policy. Last year’s decreases saved businesses more than $4 million in premiums, a release stated.

These lower rates are just one component of several efforts to help businesses financially, a release from the Insurance Department stated. More than 1,100 employers save even more money on their workers’ compensation premiums by participating in the department’s Workplace Safety Program. Last year’s savings was about $7.6 million. Eligible businesses can earn up to a 19 percent discount on their insurance by providing and maintaining a safe place to work.

Eligible businesses are notified about the program each year seven months before their renewal date. Still, late applications are being accepted as many businesses were closed when they were notified of their eligibility. Organizations interested in participating can access questionnaires onlineand contact safety@delaware.gov to begin the process.

Interested employers are urged to note their current hours and best point of contact on their questionnaires if these have been adjusted due to COVID-19 so inspectors can plan site visits. A physical walkthrough is still required for employers to earn a safety discount. Only benefits can be gained by participaants; failure to qualify cannot be the basis for premium increases or sanctions imposed by other safety enforcement officials, the release concluded.

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