Workers’ comp insurance costs drop for 7th straight year

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Workers’ compensation insurance rates will decrease for the seventh year in a row, effective December 1. The voluntary market is expected to decrease 10%, while the residual market will decrease nearly 14%.

“From the start of my administration to today, Delaware’s local businesses have never seen a worker’s compensation rate increase. We started with some of the highest costs in the country and endured a pandemic, yet our reforms are still proving themselves to be effective. Most importantly, businesses are doing their part by committing to reducing risk through employee protections and creating safe work environments,” said Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro. 

Reforms, this time around, continue to put downward pressure on costs. A previous effort had a temporary impact but led to further changes as companies indicated moves to less expensive states if changes were not made. Not everyone is happy with the current system. There have been scattered complaints about the denial of benefits.

As of 2022, Delaware’s worker comp costs ranked 23rd highest among the 50 states, after finishing seventh in 2020.

This year’s worker’s compensation insurance rate decrease continues reversing voluntary and residual market trends. With the residual market expected to see a greater rate decrease, it shows that companies that previously could only obtain coverage in this ‘last resort’ market due to cost, high risk, or claims history can now obtain traditional voluntary market coverage. A release stated that this is the second year of this trend, indicating substantial coverage affordability and employee safety improvements.

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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 later this fall, following a confirmation 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.

More than 1,100 employers are saving even more on their premiums by participating in the department’s Workplace Safety Program, saving approximately $6.9 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.

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 contactsafety@delaware.gov to begin the process.

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