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Missouri regulators recommend comp lost costs decrease for 2018

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The Missouri Department of Insurance is recommending a 3% decrease in workers compensation insurance loss costs for 2018, on top of a 4% decrease that took effect on Aug. 1, the department announced Friday.

This will be the fourth consecutive year of declining comp rates in the state, according to a department statement.

The 4% decrease earlier this year was associated with a court decision published by the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District in February 2017 that postponed the shift of claims from the Second Injury Fund to employers and their insurance carriers. Richard Gattenby v. The Treasurer of the State of Missouri-Custodian of the Second Injury Fund questioned the validity of permanent total disability awards, asserting that injuries outside of workplace injuries are to be considered when calculating disability classification.

The 3% proposed decrease in loss costs between Aug. 1 and Jan. 1, 2018 is driven by declining lost-time claim frequencies combined with stable average claim costs, according to the release.

“Missouri’s lost-time claim frequency has fallen since 2010, and average claim costs have stayed steady for the past several years,” Department of Insurance Director Chlora Lindley-Myers said in the statement. “This improvement in experience is driving the decrease in loss costs.”

The decreases are in line with that which was recommended by the National Council on Compensation Insurance in an Aug. 18 filing. 

Under Missouri law, insurers may set their rates based on the NCCI’s recommendations, the department’s recommendations or their own actuarial analysis. Insurers are not required to change their rates in 2018, regardless of the recommendations made, the release states.