Workers’ comp complete: Will it keep rates down?



OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — An overhaul of Washington’s workers’ compensation system is complete. Now the question is whether it will be enough to satisfy the concerns of employers.

Businesses that fund the program faced an average rate increase of 12 percent in 2011 — one of the key factors in driving lawmakers to overhaul the system. Officials with the state Department of Labor and Industries expect the next rate increase to be in the single digits, but they won’t have a sure number until later this year.

Kris Tefft is general counsel at the Association of Washington Businesses. He says businesses still have some concerns about the system but hope that this year’s changes will lead to years of rate stability.

Gregoire says a plan to offer limited settlements to injured workers will save the program hundreds of millions of dollars in the coming years.