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Published on Friday, September 30, 2016

L&I releases workers’ comp rates for 2017

Cities that are not self-insured pay insurance premiums for workers’ compensation to the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I). Premiums are determined by rates based on the type of employee work performed and then multiplied by the jurisdiction’s experience factor. A jurisdiction’s experience factor can go up or down based on claim history and costs.

On September 22, L&I announced a 0.7 percent average increase to the rates employers pay for workers' comp insurance if they are part of the state fund (not self-insured). As with previous years, the average increase across all workers' comp rates is far less than the increases for public safety personnel.

For 2017, rates for firefighters will experience a double-digit increase for the fourth year in a row. The cumulative increase for firefighters is 53 percent over the past four years. Law enforcement officers are close behind with a 5 percent increase in 2017 and a 34 percent cumulative increase over the past four years.

On the other hand, rates for public works/parks and recreation will see a 1 percent decrease for 2017. The cumulative four-year increase for this group is only 10 percent.

AWC has expressed concerns with the double-digit rate increases, asked for more information about how the rates are set, and requested that L&I partner with cities to minimize future rate increases. AWC staff has continued to work together with L&I to look for opportunities to reduce claims and costs.

Base rates by worker type

 

2017 increase/decrease

4-year increase

Firefighters

10% increase

53%

Law enforcement

5% increase

34%

Public works/Parks

1% decrease

10%

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