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Starting Jan. 1, Alaska businesses will see an average decrease of 17.5% for workers compensation insurance assigned risk rates, and an average 14.8% decrease for workers compensation voluntary loss costs, according to an approval posted on the state Division of Insurance on Nov. 6.
Alaska Insurance Director Lori Wing-Heier approved the decreases, in line with those proposed by the Boca Raton, Florida-based National Council on Compensation Insurance in its filing.
The 2019 rate reductions follow 2018 rates that fell 5.4% from 2017. Alaska has reduced rates by approximately 25% since 2015, thanks to continuing declines in claim frequency and favorable medical cost trends, according to a statement released by Gov. Bill Walker’s office on Oct. 8.
“This would be the biggest year-to-year decrease in workers’ compensation rates in 40 years,” Labor Commissioner Heidi Drygas said in the statement. “The department worked tirelessly to reform the workers’ compensation system to increase efficiency and lower medical costs, both major factors in premiums.”
“These proposed rate reductions are welcome news for Alaska businesses — lower workers’ compensation costs reduce the burden on the small businesses that strengthen our economy,” Gov. Walker said in the statement. “Thank you to the Alaska State Legislature and the Department of Labor and Workforce Development for their work on payment reform, contributing to significant rate reductions for 2019.”
Alaska Gov. Bill Walker on Friday signed into law a bill that aims to reduce administrative costs in the workers compensation system and provide a clear definition of independent contractor, thus helping to combat worker misclassification.