Harrisburg, PA – Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman recently announced approval of a loss-cost filing, including a 3.02 percent reduction in loss costs. Loss-costs are a component in determining workers’ comp insurance rates paid by businesses, and this reduction should lead to lower premiums for many Pennsylvania businesses.
This loss-cost revision was filed by the Pennsylvania Compensation Rating Bureau (PCRB), an independent bureau that makes filings to the Insurance Department on behalf of companies that write workers’ compensation insurance in Pennsylvania. Workers’ compensation insurance covers the cost of medical care and rehabilitation for injured workers, lost wages and death benefits for the dependents of those killed in work-related accidents.
“This decrease continues several years of loss-cost reductions, further helping businesses in our state be more competitive, and frees up money to spend on other priorities, which is vital as Pennsylvania recovers in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Altman said. “Under Gov. Wolf’s leadership, the insurance department is working to maintain a vibrant workers’ compensation insurance market, ensuring employers are able to find attractive, cost-efficient workers’ compensation coverage.”
Throughout the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pennsylvania Insurance Department has taken steps to ensure that workers’ compensation insurance rates reflect the impact of the health emergency, especially in light of the emphasis on teleworking and stay-at-home orders. Working with the PCRB, the department approved rules that applied the existing classification for permanent telework assignments to non-permanent telework situations, and provided that payroll for workers who were not actually working could be excluded from companies’ premium determination, reducing premiums for those businesses not operating at full capacity.
“The Insurance Department was proactive in our response to how COVID-19 changed the way Pennsylvania works, and how workers’ compensation insurance was affected by this new way of doing business,” Altman said.
More than 325 insurance companies offer workers’ compensation insurance coverage in Pennsylvania. Altman noted the loss-cost filing premium savings for an individual employer will vary based on the employer’s risk classification, claims experience and other factors. Not all employers will see a decrease.
Even with the reduction in loss costs, benefit levels will be maintained for injured workers. Labor & Industry Acting Secretary Jennifer Berrier said certified workplace safety committees, overseen by her department, are key for both cost and safety.
“Workplace safety committees bring together employers and employees for the shared goal of workplace health and safety of all,” Berrier said. “These committees are so effective at reducing costs that an additional five percent discount on workers’ comp insurance premiums is granted to the companies that certify their committees.”
Nearly 12,800 state-certified workplace safety committees have been established since March 1994, protecting more than 1.6 million workers. Additionally, employers with certified workplace safety committees have saved close to $823.7 million in workers’ compensation premiums. These savings in insurance costs are due solely to the five percent premium discount provided to businesses that have these committees.
Berrier added her department’s Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Health & Safety Division provides employers with the most up-to-date and relevant safety training and information possible for employees. Employers should contact their insurance company or agent for more information about how their workers’ compensation premiums could be affected.