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Work comp rates drop

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The state's businesses pocketed new savings of more than $56 million in 1997 as workers' compensation insurance rates dropped almost 10 percent overall, according to a news release from the Missouri Department of Insurance.

Since 1994, when the state deregulated regular commercial workers' compensation rates, Missouri businesses have saved at least a projected $236 million, not counting special discounts for safety-conscious clients and related savings for self-insured firms, the release stated.

Final 1997 figures found 240 of Missouri's 293 licensed work comp insurers lowered rates an average of 13 percent each, based on their reports to the Department of Insurance. Only two insurers increased rates. When all rate changes are spread across the entire work comp market, the overall decline was 9.6 percent, the department stated.

Both the Missouri Department of Insurance and private industry advisers anticipate this cost-cutting trend will continue strongly in 1998. Already this year, 53 insurers have filed rate reductions averaging 12.3 percent.

The department has recommended rate reductions of 15 percent in 1998, while the National Council on Compensation Insurance has endorsed a 12.2 percent cut.

Also, business owners and managers can now access a list of companies with the lowest standard rates on a toll-free basis. The Department of Insurance in November 1997 changed its Workers' Compensation Rate Hot Line from a $1-a-minute 900-service to a toll-free number, according to the department.

The new number is 888-200-1697. [[In-content Ad]]

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