Improved Maine Workplace Safety Likely to Lead to WC Rate Drop

The Lewiston Sun Journal reported last week that Maine Superintendent of Insurance Mila Koffman approved a request from the National Council on Compensation Insurance for a reduction in Maine workers’ compensation rates of 7.6%.  NCCI is the primary gatherer of workers’ compensation data.

It’s up to each individual insurer to decide whether or not to follow NCCI’s advice, but most do at least base their rate filings on NCCI’s indications.

This is good news on many fronts. Lower accident rates obviously are good for workers and their families; lower workers’ compensation rates help Maine employers as they compete in the global marketplace; and the reduced costs come at a time when other business expenses are increasing and many industries face shrinking revenues.

Just last month MEMIC, the state’s largest workers comp insurer, returned about 10% of 2005 premiums to its policyholders in the form of a dividend. MEMIC has received well-deserved attention for its efforts to increase workplace safety in Maine.

Whether or how much Maine WC rates decrease in 2009 remains to be seen. What is certain is that the system is much healthier than it has been in a very long time.