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Calif. workers comp reforms prompts change to 2013 rate filing

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California’s Workers Compensation Information Rating Bureau plans to amend its 2013 rate filing to recommend no rate increase for next year in light of recent workers comp reforms passed in the state.

The WCIRB’s governing committee voted 6-5 Wednesday in favor of amending the bureau’s rate filing, a spokesman told Business Insurance. The San Francisco-based bureau previously had requested a 12.6% average pure premium rate increase that would have been effective Jan. 1 for new and renewing policies.

WCIRB’s governing committee chose to “wait and see” whether S.B. 863 will reduce costs for California’s comp system next year, the spokesman said. The bureau could still recommend a midyear average pure premium rate increase for July 2013, he said, based on whether S.B. 863 produces sufficient savings.

The bill, which takes effect Jan. 1, is expected to boost permanent disability benefits for injured workers while implementing several measures to help lower comp costs for insurers and employers.

The rating bureau’s most recent estimate projects that S.B. 863 will reduce California comp costs by $300 million annually. However, the bureau has said it is not yet able to predict the impact of some reforms.