California Commissioner Rejects Rate Increases – Move May Influence North Carolina Workers' Compensations Insurance Policy

July 16, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

North Carolina workers’ compensation insurers, independent employers, and laborers paid close attention to California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner’s July 8th announcement that rejected increases for workers’ compensation rates. Poizner, who many believe might be positioning to run in California’s next gubernatorial election, argued that inefficiencies in workers’ comp bureaucracy indicate that rates should not be arbitrarily raised. Various parties reacted predictably to Poizner’s announcement. For instance, California’s State Compensation Insurance Fund, the largest insurer in the golden state and a model for many North Carolina workers’ compensation insurers, vowed to increase rates by 15%. The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau argued that the state rate should be raised by almost 24%.

Nevertheless, Governor Schwarzenegger and other California GOP operatives lauded Poizner’s decision not to advocate a “pure premium” increase. But industry watchers believe that compensation rates will likely continue to climb in California and elsewhere, particularly in states with diverse economies, such as North Carolina. Whether CA’s regional moves will influence policy in North Carolina remains to be seen. California traditionally serves as a policy bellwether for other states. But North Carolina is often slow to follow the lead of its counterpart on the opposite coast.

Poizner Says No to Workers’ Comp Rate Increases, Sacramento Business Journal, July 8, 2009

Poizner Balks at Workers’ Comp Hike, Los Angeles Business Journal, July 8, 2009

More Web Resources:

‘Pure Premium’ Q&A

Steve Poizner


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