The Hartford Reports 18% Drop in Calif. Comp Rates

June 14, 2005

In a reported sign that legislative reforms are having the desired effects, The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. has filed reduced rates for new and renewed workers’ compensation policies in California. The reductions will average 18 percent on policies beginning July 1, 2005.

“The insurance commissioner, state legislature and governor worked
together to reform the system, and their efforts significantly reduced the cost of workers’ compensation claims in California,” said Judy Blades, senior executive vice president of The Hartford’s property-casualty operations. “The wide-reaching changes enacted by California’s lawmakers in 2003 and 2004 have allowed us to bring continuous rate relief to California’s businesses.

“These reforms allow insurers to provide reasonable care and benefits to injured workers at a cost that employers can afford. In particular,
California’s reforms brought evidence-based medicine, established fee
schedules for drugs and medical care and provided reasonable limits for chiropractic and physical therapy visits. The most recent reforms hopefully will bring standardization to how permanent disability is determined,” she added.

The Hartford, one of the 15 largest workers’ comp writers in the
state, has now reduced California workers’ compensation rates three times since January 2004. The total decrease in rates since then, including the reductions announced today, is 32 percent. The most recent reduction, of 2.3 percent, was put in place in January 2005. The rate reductions follow several years when rates were headed in the opposite direction, a reflection of ever-increasing claim costs that showed no sign of abating.

That trend changed, however, as a result of legislative progress. “California is an important state for our company and workers’ compensation is a significant business for The Hartford. The state’s enlightened actions since 2003 have dramatically improved the workers’ compensation business climate,” Blades said.

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