This is the largest increase that has been approved in the state for at least six years.
The Maine Bureau of Insurance has just approved a rate increase of 3.9 percent for the workers compensation coverage in the state, which represents the biggest rise in the price of the coverage in more than half a decade.
The primary cause of the increase is due to a rise in health care costs that will arrive on April 1.
This, according to the Maine Workers’ Compensation Board executive director Paul Singhinolfi. Back in the year 2000, the payments for this coverage had been equally split between the injured employee’s indemnity payments, and the payouts that were made to the health care providers. Now, the costs for the health care products and services have risen to 58 percent of the total.
These workers compensation rate increases will mean that municipalities and businesses will need to pay more.
The Maine Employers’ Mutual Insurance Co. (MEMIC) senior vice president of external affairs, Michael Bourque, explained that the rate increase for the workers compensation in Maine will meant that the coverage will be more costly for the state’s businesses and municipalities. Bourque’s company currently controls approximately 60 percent of the Maine commercial market.
Bourque explained that the insurance companies that offer workers compensation are not required to apply these changes to the rates, regardless of whether they are higher or lower. The majority do, as the increases in the rates are backed by actuaries. The senior management of MEMIC met yesterday in order to begin the decision making process as to whether or not the rate increase will be applied to its own coverage and, if so, how much.
He has estimated that the total cumulative increase that will be faced by businesses and municipalities in Maine for their workers compensation coverage will likely be as high as $10 million. The highest increases in total payments will be experienced by businesses that have employees in higher risk positions, such as within the construction industry. He explained that “It’s a time when the economy is difficult, so it’s not anything that people will be happy about.”