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Washington announces 4.8% increase in comp premiums


The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries on Wednesday announced a 4.8% increase in the average workers compensation premium rate for 2023.

The rate increase, prompted by wage inflation and rising medical costs, means employers and workers will jointly pay an additional $61 a year, on average, for each full-time employee, the department said.

Workers will continue to pay on average about a quarter of the premium in 2023, a similar percentage to that paid in 2022, the department said.

While comp rates in many states are set as a percentage of payroll — so that when wages go up, more premium is collected — Washington rates are based on the number of hours employees work. The result is that when wages go up, the state needs to increase the hourly rates employers and workers pay.

L&I also noted that it tapped into its contingency reserves to mitigate the extent of the rate increase.

“We’re adopting this modest increase in the workers compensation rate to boost the long-term health of our state workers’ comp system,” department director Joel Sacks said in a statement. “This move will assure that our contingency reserves, which we’re using to buy down the impacts of the rate increase, will continue to be healthy and viable.”

WorkCompCentral is a sister publication of Business Insurance. More stories here.