Last month, the Department of Labor & Industries announced it’s proposed rates for the 2015 calendar year. Under the proposal, average L&I premiums across all industries would increase 1.8%. However, rate increases (or decreases) will vary based upon the risk classification of your company.
For example, the proposed average rate increase in the Building Construction and Trades category, where premiums are among the highest of any industry is 3%, not 1.8%. Within the Building Construction category, rate increases are broken down further by specific risk classification.
So, while L&I’s announcement of a 1.8% average increase seems small and reasonable to some, in many construction risk classes, the hit to employers and workers will be substantial in a residential construction industry that is still struggling to recover from the recession.
See rate table below
It’s important to note that L&I’s proposed 1.8% rate increase is actually 5-6% above the necessary “break even” or “indicated” rate that L&I’s actuaries have determined that the L&I fund needs for 2015. According to L&I officials, the indicated rates for 2015 are actually an average decrease of -3% to-4%. So, by proposing a 1.8% increase, L&I is asking for 5-6% more than their actuarial staff says is necessary. L&I’s reason for this padding of the rates is that L&I’s reserve fund needs to be increased beyond the 7% of liabilities that it stands at today. A 1.8% rate increase will raise an additional $70 – $90 million for L&I’s reserve fund.
If you would like to join us in commenting on L&I’s proposed 2015 rates, you can attend a public hearing being held here in Vancouver, this Thursday, Oct. 30, 9 a.m., at the Northwest Regional Training Center – Rainier Room. (Address is: 11606 NE 66th Street, Suite 103 – Vancouver, Washington 98662)
You may also send written comments to Jo Anne Attwood, L&I Employer Services, P.O. Box 41448, Olympia, WA 98504-4148, or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org . Written comments must be received by 5 p.m. Nov. 3, 2014.