The costs of workers’ compensation insurance premiums continue to drop. The steady decline is just another sign of the difficulties that injured workers face after they get hurt on the job.
How Workers’ Compensation Insurance Works
When workers get hurt while on the job, they can often file a workers’ compensation claim with their employer. If approved, this claim will lead to payments that cover the costs of the medical expenses an injured worker has incurred, as well as disability payments – typically two-thirds of the worker’s salary.
These payments do not come from the employer, though. They come from the employer’s workers’ compensation insurer. Just like you pay regular premiums to an auto insurance company so that company will pay for the costs of a crash, employers pay workers’ compensation insurance premiums to an insurer for coverage if one of their workers gets hurt on the job.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance Costs Drop 3.5%
Recently, the Missouri Department of Insurance announced that it was recommending a 3.5% decrease in the costs of workers’ compensation insurance for 2019. The decrease, according to the Department, would be justified because of a decrease in the number of workers’ compensation claims for lost time at work. With fewer claims to cover in Missouri, workers’ insurance companies could lower their rates for employers.
Decrease Continues Long Trend in Workers’ Compensation Insurance
The recommended 3.5% decrease in the costs of workers’ compensation insurance is not an anomaly in Missouri. It would actually be the fifth straight year that the average cost of workers’ compensation insurance has fallen.
Of course, the Department’s recommended decrease is just that: A recommendation. However, because there are more than 300 companies that provide workers’ compensation insurance to employers in Missouri, insurers would risk losing customers to their competitors if they did not follow through.
What This Says About the State of Workers’ Compensation in Missouri
The free fall in workers’ compensation insurance rates is just another indication of the state of workers’ compensation law in the state. It means that insurance companies are not being called on to provide as much workers’ compensation coverage as they were, before. According to the Missouri Department of Insurance, those savings came from a lower number of workers’ compensation claims.
Does that mean that fewer workers are getting hurt on the job? Probably not. While the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has claimed that there is a trend towards fewer workplace injuries, the data that the BLS relies on is notoriously unreliable because employers have a vested interest in underreporting workplace injuries.
Instead, the decreased costs incurred by workers’ compensation insurance companies probably comes from the fact that it is becoming more and more difficult for injured workers to have their claims heard.
Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at the Smith Law Office in St. Joseph
When workers’ compensation insurance companies are making so much money that they can lower their prices, it means either that workplace safety has gotten a lot better, or that fewer injuries are being reported and taken seriously. It is far more likely that we are looking at the latter.