Sept. 11 Hearing Set on Okla. Workers’ Comp Increase

August 1, 2003

The State Board for Property and Casualty Rates approved a Sept. 11 hearing for a proposed 6.4 percent increase in a key component of workers’ compensation rates.

Insurance Commissioner Carroll Fisher, who chairs the board, promised a thorough and fair review of the request, which was filed late Wednesday by officials with the National Council on Compensation Insurance. NCCI represents private workers’ compensation carriers in Oklahoma.

“Certainly I would prefer to see the NCCI requesting a decrease, as they have in the recent past,” Fisher said. “Experience has shown us that the best thing we can do for a healthy workers’ compensation market, is to set fair rates that encourage private sector companies to write insurance. However, you can bet that every dime will have to be justified before we will grant any increase.”

Under the property and casualty board’s scheduling order, the filing now goes to an independent actuary as well as an actuary working for Attorney General Drew Edmondson. By law, Edmondson represents consumers in the matter.

The filing would affect the “loss cost” portion of workers’ compensation rates for the private insurance industry. Each insurance company is required to file its own administrative expenses, which when coupled with loss costs creates the full rate. Insurers use the full rate in order to set premiums for each employer.

CompSource, formerly know as the State Insurance Fund, sets its own rates, and is not affected by the filing. CompSource provides coverage for more than 50 percent of the insured market.

When making their request, NCCI officials blamed the increase on medical inflation and high attorney involvement in Oklahoma. They noted the increase would have been more, but the number of workers’ compensation claims has actually dropped in recent years.

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