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Oregon trims workers comp assessment fee for insurers, self-insured employers


SALEM, Ore.—Oregon plans to lower its assessment fee for workers compensation premiums next year despite an increase in the state's average premium rate, the state Department of Consumer and Business Services announced.

In a statement issued Friday, the department said insurers will pay an assessment fee of 6.2% on workers comp premiums earned on or after Jan. 1, 2012, down from 6.4% this year.

Self-insured employers and self-insured employer groups will pay a 6.4% assessment, down from 6.6% this year. Those groups are charged an additional two-tenths of a percentage point for a reserve fund that pays claims should a company enter bankruptcy, the state agency said.

The fee funds operations of Oregon's Workers' Compensation Division, the Workers' Compensation Board, most of the state's Occupational Safety and Health Administration and other divisions, according to a notice on the state's website.

Average workers comp rates are scheduled to increase 1.9% for Oregon next year, which the state attributed to “declining wages and increasing medical costs.” The state saw a 1.8% rate decrease this year, according to a presentation that rating and research organization NCCI Holdings Inc. made last month.

Boca Raton, Fla.-based NCCI said the 2012 rate change likely will result in a 2.6% rate increase for Oregon goods and services companies, and an increase of 2.2% for manufacturers.

Contractors are expected to see a 1.6% rate increase, while office and clerical firms can expect a 1.5% decline under the scheduled rate change, NCCI said.

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