For Immediate Release - March 01, 2011

AG Coakley and the State Rating Bureau Block Proposed $65 Million Rate Hike in Workers Compensation Insurance

BOSTON - Today, Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office and the State Rating Bureau of the Division of Insurance announced that they have reached an agreement with insurers that will mean that workers compensation rates will remain flat until at least September 2012 and the Attorney General will have the opportunity to review industry data next year to determine whether a further rate rollback in 2012 is necessary. The industry had been seeking to raise rates on average by 6.6%, which would have cost Massachusetts businesses approximately $65 million.

"The industry's request to raise rates could not have come at a worse time for small businesses in Massachusetts," said Attorney General Coakley. "We told the industry that we believed the rate was unjustified and that we would litigate to stop it. Blocking the rate increase helps ensure that businesses do not overpay for workers compensation insurance."

Rates for workers compensation insurance are set at least every other year in an administrative rate hearing before the Commissioner of Insurance. Businesses in Massachusetts are required to purchase workers compensation insurance, which provides coverage for expenses and lost wages of workers injured on the job.

The industry rate filing was provided to the Attorney General and the State Rating Bureau last month, and the agencies and the industry have been negotiating a potential resolution. The settlement in the rate case along with a copy of the industry filing were submitted to the Division of Insurance today. A public hearing regarding the industry's initial rate proposal and the settlement will be held by the Commissioner of Insurance prior to any final approval.

The Attorney General's Insurance and Financial Services Division represents the public interest in these rate trials, and advocates for fair rates for insurance customers. During the past four years, the Attorney General's Office has obtained approximately $340 million in savings for employers and small businesses by intervening in workers compensation insurance administrative rate cases.

This matter was handled by Assistant Attorney General Peter Leight, Mathematician Burt Feinberg, and Assistant Attorney General Glenn Kaplan of Attorney General Martha Coakley's Insurance and Financial Services Division.