Insurance commissioner opposes workers' comp increases

CALIFORNIA, July 8, 2009 - California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner recommended this afternoon that workers' comp carriers make no change to rates in the next policy period, striking down the insurance rating bureau's referral earlier this year that pure premiums rise by 23.7 percent.

However, the commissioner and bureau's recommendations do not force companies to change rates either way, but are meant to be used as a benchmark. Many carriers have already filed rates for the next cycle and most include increases between 4 and 10 percent, though some went as high as 33 percent.

The Workers' Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau, the agency that analyzes the experiences of state insurers and recommends rate changes to the commissioner, has asked for an increase in rates for three consecutive cycles citing continued underwriting under the cost of claims, but the group has yet to receive approval. The commissioner continued his rejection streak releasing this statement today:

"My response to this requested record increase by workers' comp insurance companies is this - no."

Mr. Poizner said if self-insured groups have proven the ability to cut costs, it should also commercial carriers should also reduce their expenses instead of asking the purchasers to pay for company inefficiencies.


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