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Workers' comp rates go down.

Byline: Tim Christie The Register-Guard

For the second year in a row, the state Department of Consumer and Business Services has decreased the rates businesses pay for workers' compensation premiums.

The workers' compensation pure premium rate for 2008 went down 2.3 percent, marking the 18th consecutive year of no increase, a national record, the department said.

The pure premium rate is the base rate employers pay their insurance company for workers' compensation coverage. Next year, Oregon businesses will pay about 32 percent less per $100 of payroll for workers' compensation than California employers and about 14 percent less than those in Washington.

The department said improved workplace safety is a major reason that Oregon rates have gone down. Workplace injury and illness rates have declined 50 percent since 1988. At the same time, benefits to injured workers have gone up.

"Collaboration between labor and management has been key to the successful turnaround of Oregon workers' compensation system," Cory Streisinger, director of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, said in a statement.

"Employees and employers have worked together to make their workplaces safer, and they have been deeply involved with us in other improvements to make the system more efficient."

On average, Oregon employers can expect a 2.3 percent decrease in pure premium, but some will see rates go up and others may see no change, the department said.

Specific cost changes vary from business to business, depending on the employer's industry, claims experience, workforce and other factors.

The department also announced that two workers' compensation fees would remain unchanged next year after five years of decreases. The workers' compensation premium assessment, which pays for the administration of workers' compensation and workplace safety programs, is proposed to remain at 4.6 percent for 2008 (4.8 percent for self-insured employers and employer groups).

The Workers' Benefit Fund assessment, which pays for special benefits for injured workers and their employers, will remain at 2.8 cents per hour worked in 2008. Employers and workers each pay half of the Workers' Benefit Fund assessment.
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Title Annotation:Business; Improved workplace safety in Oregon is a prime reason that businesses within the state will pay less for premiums
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Sep 20, 2007
Previous Article:Koke focuses on horizon for growth.

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