March 2, 2005

2004 Workers Compensation Premium Rate State Ranking Summary

A reader put our "google-fu' to a serious test with this question: "I am very interested to know if there is a free website or publication that will show a side-by-side cost comparison showing all 50 states' workers' comp insurance rates for the employer. I want to see which states have less expensive rates."

After some searching, we found a 2004 Workers Compensation Premium Rate Ranking Summary (PDF) put out by Oregon's Department of Consumer and Business Services. Apparently, this snapshot is issued every two years. It includes a color-coded map and a chart that offers more detailed information, such as the 2002 rates so that you can learn if a state is trending up or down. California, Alaska, and Florida have the dubious distinctions of having the highest rates; they are the only three jurisdictions that exceed $4.00 per $100 of payroll. There are 9 states with premium rates less than $2.00 per $100 in premium. Ranked from lowest to highest, these include North Dakota, Indiana, Arizona, Arkansas, Virginia, Utah, Massachusetts, Kansas, and Iowa.

We invite readers who know of other free resources comparing the 50 states to post them in the comments.

Credit where credit is due: we came by this link from another Northwest source - the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO issues a daily news headline aggregator for local, state, and national news of interest to organized labor. It's a good resource for tracking employment-related issues.



Congrats to Lynch Ryan for posting this important biannual survey of comparable workers comp costs.

There are four sources of regular comparisons.

1. NCCI, which restricts circulation tightly.
2. Oregon
3. John Burton, who performs the work every few years
4. Actuarial & Technical Solutions (ATS), which performs the work annually.

I have been tracking ATS's work for the past decade and have kept informed of Oregon's work. I tend to prefer ATS's for two reasons. First, it is annual. Second, one feature in is methodology. It constructs a market basket of a hypothetical mfg firm, (i.e. 2.3% plastics mfg workers, 4% auto mfg, etc) and then applies this same firm to each state. The Oregon people take the distribution of all workers in OR and then applies that to the other states. There is another noteworthy difference. Oregon uses manual rates. ATS ont he other hand goes thorugh a more elaborate exercise of looking at net insurance costs.

Both OR and ATS report pretty much the same rank order. For instance,. CA is way at the top, and IN and VA are near the bottom. there are a few major individual differences. In ATS, VT is very high and in OR VT is middling/high.

Thanks for taking the time to share such valuable info, Peter - much appreciated! I see that with a little more Google digging, we might have found your excellent article on this very topic.


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This page contains a single entry by Julie Ferguson published on March 2, 2005 7:27 AM.

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