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Delaware workers compensation rates to increase 14.6%

Delaware workers compensation rates to increase 14.6%

Delaware businesses will see a 14.6% average increase in workers compensation rates this year, the Delaware Department of Insurance said Friday.

Delaware Insurance Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart approved the rate hike based on a filing by the Philadelphia-based Delaware Compensation Rating Bureau Inc. Delaware's residual comp market will see an average 19% increase under the new rate structure, the insurance department said in a statement.

The new rates are effective as of Dec. 1, 2012, the department said.

In its initial August rate filing, the Delaware rating bureau sought a 38.27% hike in voluntary comp market rates and a 43.53% increase in residual market rates. That was partly based on steeply rising medical severity and medical loss ratios in 2010, according to the bureau's filing at that time.

The rating bureau said in a statement Friday that it amended its rate filing to request a lower increase after the Delaware insurance department held a series of public meetings about the proposed comp rates.

In Friday's statement, Ms. Weldin Stewart said the approved rate increase is expected to save businesses $22 million from the rating bureau's initial filing.

“I recognize that any rate increase in the workers' compensation system is going to be tough on businesses during this economic climate,” she said. “The amended rates I approved were the best balance between the several considerations that bear on the workers compensation filing.”