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2.7% workers compensation rate hike proposed for Washington

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Washington’s State Department of Labor & Industries on Monday proposed a 2.7% average workers compensation rate increase for 2014.

L&I Director Joel Sacks said in a statement that his organization needs to restore workers comp reserves that were used to hold down rates during the Great Recession.

He also cited Washington’s unusual method of collecting premium as a need to raise rates.

"I want wage inflation to be our benchmark for steady and predictable rates," Mr. Sacks said. "Wage inflation is a good benchmark because workers' comp costs increase as wages increase."

Wage inflation is running at 3.4% in Washington.

“However, because Washington's rates are based on hours worked and not payroll like other states, Washington needs to raise rates to get the revenue that other states get automatically,” according to L&I.

Public hearings on the monopoly workers comp insurance provider’s proposal will be during October.