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Washington comp regulators propose 4.8% rate hike for 2023


Citing wage inflation and increasing medical costs, the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries on Tuesday announced it is proposing a 4.8% increase in the average price of workers compensation insurance for 2023.

If adopted, the increase would mean employers and workers would jointly pay an additional $61 a year, on average, for each full-time employee within a business. Workers will continue to pay on average about a quarter of the premium, a similar percentage to that paid in 2022.

In 2021 and 2022, L&I said it tapped its contingency reserves to avoid a larger increase in premium rates. L&I said it wants to take a similar approach to prevent a larger rate increase for 2023. Under the current proposal, L&I will use contingency reserves to cover any gap between premiums and costs to keep rates steady and avoid a larger increase.

“After keeping rates steady to help businesses that were struggling during the pandemic, we're now proposing a modest rate increase that’s in line with our goal of stable and predictable rates for businesses to ensure the long-term health of the workers compensation fund,” L&I Director Joel Sacks said in a statement. “Even with the increase, the average hourly rate businesses will pay will be about the same as what they were paying in 2016.”

Following a series of public hearings in October, final rates will be adopted on Nov. 30 and go into effect Jan. 1, 2023.