Maine Workers Compensation Rates Plummet as Insurers Realize Lumberjacks Can’t Cut Off the Same Hand Twice

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loggersAUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage has announced that workers compensation rates will decrease by nearly 8 percent—the largest decrease since 1998—saving Maine employers over $15 million in the coming year.

Maine and New Hampshire are the only two states in the Northeast getting reductions, and Maine’s decrease is the larger of the two. The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) evaluated Maine’s workers compensation system and recommended a premium reduction of 7.7 percent based on multiple factors, including injury experience, injury trends, benefits and expenses.

“Maine employers and employees should take credit for the improvement in the workers compensation system,” said Governor LePage. “Maine claim frequency is relatively flat, lost time is stable, and the average medical costs per case are down. There has been a concerted effort in the state to improve safety in the workplace, promptly return injured workers to employment as soon as possible and control medical costs.”

NCCI sent the recommendation in a February 5 letter to Eric Cioppa, the Maine Superintendent of Insurance. In its Annual Report on the Status of the Maine Workers’ Compensation System, the Workers’ Compensation Board noted that the workers’ compensation system in Maine has transitioned from one of the most expensive in the nation to one that is moving to a level of average costs for both premiums and benefits.

The Maine Bureau of Insurance expects employers to save $15.2 million over the coming year.

“I am pleased with the NCCI voluntary market recommendation,” said Paul Sighinolfi, executive director and chairman of the Workers’ Compensation Board. “Their analysis of the Maine workers’ compensation market is consistent with—or perhaps even better than—my impression. All stakeholders within our system should be pleased with this recommendation because it is a combined effort of both the management and labor communities to reduce injuries and control costs that led to the recommended reduction in premium.”

February 7, 2014
Governor’s Office

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