Rates down for 6th year in a row.
Employers in Wisconsin are required to have workers’ compensation insurance, to protect both workers and employers when work injuries inevitably happen. Workers are entitled to benefits without having to prove fault, and employers are protected from lawsuits in circuit court involving potential pain and suffering damages. Many employers forgot that without work comp insurance, they system is one where they could be sued for negligence or safety violations.
The good news for WIsconsin’s employers is that the premiums being paid for work comp insurance continue to go down. Based on information from the Wisconsin Insurance Commissioner, work comp rates will see a 5.44% decrease in 2021. This is the sixth year in a row that rates have gone down! See the release from the OCI. This means that rates are down 25-30% in the past 5-6 years.
Accordingly, when employers complain about having to pay work comp insurance, a reminder of the declining rates is also helpful. Moreover, suggesting that without the work comp system (in place since 1911), the employer could face lawsuits with major damages.
Declining Work Comp rates raise questions about legislative proposals.
Despite work comp rates continuing to go lower and lower, management and employer-side interests continue to make legislative proposals that allege the need for cost savings. Specifically, management continues to propose and push for a “medical fee schedule” to allegedly address rising health care costs in the work comp system. With the continuous decline of work comp premium rates for employers, it seems inconsistent to suggest costs are going out of control.
The legislature should look at these continuing declining WC premiums rates for Wisconsin’s employers when reviewing whether any drastic changes are needed to the WC system on the management-side of the equation. (Note: permanent disability benefits for Wisconsin’s workers have been the same since 2017! If anything, it is time to assist workers with those ever-declining benefits).