Missouri Insurance Regulator Recommends Decreased Workers' Comp - KOAM TV 7

Missouri Insurance Regulator Recommends Decreased Workers' Comp Rates

Joplin, MO -

A recommendation to decrease workers' compensation rates in Missouri could have big impacts on businesses.  Missouri's Department of Insurance, which regulates the insurance industry in the state, is recommending a three percent decrease in workers' compensation rates for next year.  But one local attorney points out data behind this recommendation does not show fewer people hurt on the job.

"Insurance companies are very savvy lobbyists," says Joplin attorney Austin Bradley.

Bradley, who specializes in workers' compensation cases, says relatively recent Missouri legislation is affecting workers' compensation.

"Bigger, more serious injuries, it still makes financial sense for the attorney and employee to pursue those claims.  Other claims, it just doesn't make financial sense to do it anymore," says Bradley.

The Missouri Department of Insurance says based on insurance data, work time lost because of injuries has been declining, and the average costs of workers' compensation claims have been stable.  A Department of of Insurance representative told us workers' compensation premiums are stable because of a growing economy and more jobs.  

Bradley says there's a bit of a catch-22 in Missouri with workers' compensation...

"Without an employee being able to hire a lawyer, it's hard to get that medical treatment because there is an adversarial court system you have to go through to pursue your work comp claim," says Bradley.

Cheaper workers' compensation insurance may be especially beneficial to small businesses.  Then again...

"The insurance company is likely to retain any extra profits they have made," says Bradley.

But companies will still have the right to shop for insurance elsewhere.

A four percent decrease in workers' compensation costs took effect in August, so 2018 could be the fourth straight year workers' compensation rates have dropped.


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