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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Privatization of workers, compensation continues throughout WV

A program set into motion by U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., continues to bring benefits to the state.

On Nov. 1 this year, the workers' compensation loss costs filed by the National Council on Compensation Insurance, or NCCI, over the summer became effective. The numbers reflected a massive overhaul that was nearly a decade in the making.

Then-governor of West Virginia, Manchin signed a law in 2005 fully privatizing the state's Workers' Compensation Commission and transforming it into a private insurance carrier — what became known as BrickStreet Insurance. Since the process completion in 2008, workers' compensation rates declined an average of 30 percent statewide, saving employers annual costs of $150 million in 2010. The number of protested claims is now hovering at about 4,000 a year — a dramatic difference from 2004 when it was about 24,000. In just the first two years, the number of outstanding, unfunded liabilities from the old state-run system dropped from $3.2 billion to $1.9 billion.

The current loss costs now reflect an overall reduction in cost levels for the voluntary workers' compensation insurance market of less than 8.8 percent.

From first filing the classification plan and loss costs on July 1, 2006, the state has enjoyed a continuous decrease in workers' compensation claim costs resulting in a cumulative loss cost level change of less than 46.5 percent.

Back in the early 2000s, West Virginia was experiencing one of the worst-managed...

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