NCCI Requests Work Comp Rate Hikes in Okla.

August 5, 2004

Worker’s compensation insurers operating in Oklahoma want a significant increase in the premiums they charge for coverage, the Associated Press and The Oklahoman reported.

An industry group representing the companies plans to ask state regulators for an 11.5 percent increase in “loss cost” rates, a key element of those premiums.

The state Board for Property and Casualty Rates is expected to consider the requested increase from the National Council on Compensation Insurance late next month, state insurance department spokesman David Meuser said.

The state board, led by Insurance Commissioner Carroll Fisher, last year rejected an application for a 6.4 percent increase in the loss cost portion of workers’ compensation premiums.

Loss cost refers to the direct costs of settling workers’ compensation claims, such as medical bills and salary reimbursements. It’s about 70 percent of the rate a covered company pays.

Justin Whitefield, local counsel for the Florida-based National Council on Compensation Insurance, said the failure to win an increase last year has boosted the size of this year’s request. “I hope they step back and look at things on a purely statistical basis and take all the other variables out,” Whitefield said.

In its application, the council said that the average medical claim in an Oklahoma workers’ compensation case has increased 10 percent in each of the past five years.

Injury claims that include lost time from work have increased an average of 2.8 percent in the last five years, according to the council’s filing.

The requested increase would cost state employers about $24.6 million.

Private companies represented by the council provide about half of Oklahoma’s workers’ compensation coverage.

Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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