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Workers' Compensation Insurers Record Profits Keep the Insurance Costs High

a dummy pinned by COST, workmans comp

Workers' compensation insurers in Illinois have reduced the financial payouts to injured workers while charging some of the highest insurance rates for the area. Due to this dynamic, proponents are seeking change that will embrace the rights of injured workers.

Recent Trends in Workers' Comp

Profits from workers' comp insurers have recently realized significant increases when compared to previous years. Profits have jumped from negative 11 percent in 2010 to a positive 11 percent in 2014, according to the governor's Department of Insurance report. Around the same time, these same insurers who have profited immensely from the insurance coverage have reduced financial payouts to injured victims to an amount less than the national average. Additionally, Illinois is statistically the most expensive state for workers' compensation in the Midwest and is ranked seventh among all of the states, according to the 2016 Oregon Workers' Compensation Premium Rate Ranking study.

The average rate of Illinois workers' compensation costs is 34 percent higher than the average of nearby states. Additionally, the state has costs that are 112 percent higher than those of nearby Indiana. The disparity between the costs was most significant when comparing rates for jobs that are considered more dangerous in nature. For example, the rate for concrete construction workers in Illinois was more than twice the average cost of surrounding states. The premiums in Illinois for equipment and machine repair manufacturing workers are 45 percent higher than the average surrounding states. These figures are based on 2014 data of the Oregon study.

Potential Problems

High workers' compensation insurance rates have been linked to decreased industrial jobs in Illinois. Neighboring states offer better premiums for employers, allowing them to attract industrial companies to their borders. At the same time, there is a prevalence of insurance companies that underwrite workers' compensation insurance, with a total of 332 different companies offering such services at last count. Due to the potential to score big profits, more insurance companies are providing this particular type of insurance product, leaving less ability to properly oversee them.

In addition to these concerns, insurance companies may take further steps to increase their bottom line. This may include denying more claims, cutting benefits and lowering medical reimbursements. Workman's comp lawyers focus on improving workplace safety and holding employers accountable when they permit workplaces that lead to employee injuries.

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