Posted on May 19, 2014
This spring, Virginia employers can expect big changes to their workers compensation insurance premiums. Effective April 1, 2012, workers comp premiums will increase for all classifications within the standard market and assigned risk pool for both new and renewal policies.
Overall industrial workers compensation increases are 10.5 percent for voluntary markets while the assigned risk plan premiums are rising by 11.4 percent. Federal class premium increase differs from industry with voluntary rates up 2.8 percent and assigned risk rates up 1.7 percent. The surface coal industry will see increases of 16.8 percent for standard rates and 19.1 percent for assigned risk premiums. Underground coal mining will rise by 13.4 percent for both voluntary and assigned risk markets.
Despite the fact that Virginia workers compensation rates are increasing this year, the state is historically one of the lower cost states for workers comp. The Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) found that Virginia has a lower claims frequency among workers; however, the medical care costs were some of the highest in the country. In addition, the study documents that Virginia uses vocational rehabilitation more than other states and also has a lower average lump settlement per claim.
Virginia employers should take time before the April 1st rate increase to review their workers compensation insurance policies. Because rates vary for different job duties, employers should make sure that employees are correctly classified so that the appropriate rate is assigned. Over the long term, working on injury prevention can help to decrease rates so focusing on safety in the workplace is very important to maintaining low workers compensation costs.