2010 North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Rate Changes Inch up over 2009 Numbers: Business Owners Appear Pleased

October 28, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

The State of North Carolina and the North Carolina Rate Bureau (NCRB) reached an agreement over North Carolina workers’ compensation rates for next spring. The 2010 filings – which will go into effect on the 1st of April, 2011 – should save businesses approximately $7 million over what they might have had to pay, had the North Carolina Rate Bureau completely gotten its way. Wayne Goodwin, the State’s Insurance Commissioner, agreed that the “slight increase” in North Carolina workers’ compensation employers costs (0.6% for voluntary market loss costs and just a little more than 4% for assigned risk markets) was justified.

The Rate Bureau had hoped for slightly higher increases – 1.2% for the voluntary market costs and 5.5% for the assigned risk markets. The industry argued that it needed a hike in rates because of rising medical costs across the state. But opponents of large increases argued that the number of workers’ comp claims in NC has declined; therefore, rates shouldn’t be bumped too much. The Rate Bureau’s director speculated that the number of claims may have declined because:

A) High risk manufacturing jobs preferentially disappeared during the recent recession.
B) Employers have made strides in making their workplaces safer.

The Rate Bureau believes that employers across North Carolina will pay approximately $1.16 billion in 2011 in premiums alone. While a spokesperson for the NCRB claimed to be “a little bit disappointed” with the final decision, the Bureau didn’t seem too frustrated by the final outcome.

These macroscopic changes to the system may be interesting to policy analysts. But what if you are a worker who has recently been diagnosed with a chronic disease or who just got into a serious accident on the job? Will these rate changes affect you? And if so, how?

The trickle-down effect of major policy changes can be very difficult to detect and to quantify. Rather than getting distracted by macroscopic state rate politics, focus instead on what you need to do maximize your claim and speed up your recovery. If you’ve been having trouble with an employer or an insurance company – for instance, an employer unreasonably denying your benefit request or an insurance company acting in “bad faith” and refusing to pay money owed – consult with a North Carolina workers’ compensation law firm to figure out your best next steps.

More Web Resources

North Carolina Rate Bureau (NCRB)

More about the rate hike


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