In 2002, North Dakota employers paid the lowest workers’ compensation premium rates in the nation, according to a new survey by the Oregon Department of Consumer & Business Services. National premium rates ranged from North Dakota’s low of $1.24 per $100 of payroll to a high of $5.23 per $100 of payroll in California.
“This is great news,” Brent Edison, executive director and CEO of North Dakota Workers Compensation (NDWC), commented. “With the legislative reforms of the mid-1990’s and the strategic decisions made by our Board of Directors, we have come a long way in making our organization one of the best in the country. This survey clearly demonstrates how far we have come.”
North Dakota employer premium rates have declined for eight straight years. Total premium collected peaked in Fiscal Year 1996 at $133 million dollars, while in fiscal year 2002 it was $93 million dollars, a 30 percent reduction since 1996. During that same time period, claims by workers have declined from 7.47 per 100 workers in 1996 to 6.60 per 100 workers in 2002. ND employer’s emphasis on safety and “return-to-work” programs, which began in the mid-1990’s has helped to reduce the number of wage-loss claims, thus reducing premiums.
“The cumulative effect of eight years of premium reductions means that over $130 million dollars has gone back into this state’s economy,” Edison said. “We hope those involved in economic development efforts for our state can use this important information to show potential businesses thinking of relocating here, that this is a great state to do business with, especially when it comes to workers’ compensation premium rates.”
Chairmen of the House and Senate Industry Business and Labor committees, Senator Duane Mutch and Rep. George Keiser, applauded the new ranking.
“The dramatic transformation of workers’ compensation in North Dakota is a real success story,” Mutch, remarked. “Improving government regulations can make a huge difference on the bottom line for businesses. We now have a lot to brag about when it comes to workers’ compensation, which is a major cost of doing business.”
“We are working to make North Dakota’s business environment the best in the nation, and this new ranking definitely helps,” Keiser, chair of the House Industry, Business and Labor committee, said. “This is an example of what can be done when business and government work together.”
“This reduction in premium rates comes at a time when injured workers’ benefits are ranked among the best in the country,” Edison noted. Another study released last June by the National Academy of Social Insurance, shows benefits paid for injured workers in North Dakota are in the top third in the nation per $100 of payroll. This study casts North Dakota’s benefit structure in a very positive light.
North Dakota injured workers received an average of $1.06 per $100 per payroll, which is the 17th highest in the nation.
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