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Workers comp rate decreases recommended for two states

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The National Council on Compensation Insurance Inc. recommends workers compensation rate decreases for voluntary and assigned-risk markets in Arizona and Mississippi.

At its Arizona Advisory Forum presentation on Thursday, Boca Raton, Florida-based NCCI proposed an overall rate decrease of 2.2% for the voluntary and assigned-risk markets, to take effect Jan. 1.

This is the second consecutive rate decrease filed by NCCI. Arizona employers saw a 6% decrease for 2015 and a 3.2% increase for 2014, the agency said.

While indemnity benefits in the state make up 24% of total benefit costs, medical benefits make up 76%, according to NCCI. Countrywide, indemnity benefits represent 41% of total benefits costs and medical benefits represent 59%.

In 2014, Arizona's combined ratio improved 10 percentage points to 96%, NCCI said.

The state also has an average lost-time claim frequency of 647 claims per 100,000 workers, which is among the lowest in the region, the agency said, noting that Nevada's average lost-time claim frequency is 1,078 claims per 100,000 workers and Colorado's is 986 per 100,000 workers.

The proposed loss cost level decrease for the voluntary and assigned-risk markets in Mississippi is 7.9%, NCCI said at its Advisory Forum presentation for the state, which also took place Thursday. The rate would take effect March 1.

The recommended rate cut follows 2015's 3.2% decrease for the voluntary market and 1.6% decrease for the assigned-risk market, according to NCCI. In 2014, rates increased 3.8% for both the voluntary and assigned-risk markets.

Mississippi's combined ratio was 95% in 2014, an improvement from 101% in 2013 and 104% in 2012, NCCI said.

Indemnity benefits in the state make up 39% of total benefit costs, while medical benefits make up 61%, according to the agency. This is similar to the rest of the region, in which indemnity benefits represent 35% of total benefit costs and medical benefits represent 65%.

“The filing is currently under regulatory review by the Mississippi Insurance Department,” Jay Rosen, director and senior actuary at NCCI, said in an email.