Tennessee reforms cut workers comp claims, costs

Tennessee reforms cut workers comp claims, costs

Rates to drop another 12.8 percent for seventh year of decline

September 6th, 2017 by Dave Flessner in Business Around the Region

Workers' compensation rates will drop again next year for most Tennessee businesses as safer work sites and non-judicial settlements of workers' comp claims continue to cut the costs of the insurance in Tennessee.

The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) said Tuesday it is seeking a loss cost reduction of 12.6 percent for workers' compensation that will have the impact of bringing down insurance rates, effective March 1, 2018.

The new filing represents the seventh consecutive reduction and reflects a continuing trend of reduced workers' compensation insurance premium prices since the Tennessee General Assembly changed the state's workers 'comp rules and moved to an administrative, rather than a judicial, process of paying claims for workers who are injured on the job.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam led the effort to reform Tennessee's workers' compensation system in 2014 when businesses complained that Tennessee had some of the most expensive workers' comp insurance rates in the country.

"We used to be ranked among some of the worst states in the country (for costs to employers), but now we're generally in the middle of the pack, " said Bradley Jackson, president of the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry. "We had a lot of businesses complaining about the costs of our former workers' comp program and threatening to move to other states. We have a safer environment and a better system today."

By moving from a judicial to a non-judicial settlement process, Jackson said cost increases have been held in check.

NCCI filings have totaled loss cost reductions of over 36 percent since 2014.

"The 2014 workers' compensation reforms fueled these lower costs," said Julie Mix McPeak, the state's insurance commissioner. "These benefits extend to Tennessee's workforce as well because the loss cost reductions are a result of decreases in lost-time claim frequency and stabilizing claim costs."

Contact Dave Flessner at dflessner@timesfreepress.com or at 423-757-6340.