Liberal court affects workers’ comp

A decision by the Oklahoma Supreme Court could cause a jump in workers’ compensation rates.

The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) supplemental advisory loss cost filing received by the Oklahoma Insurance Department shows an overall increase in loss costs of 3.4 percent. The increase was attributed to the April 12 Court ruling in the Maxwell vs. Sprint PCS case.

“It is important for both consumers and the Legislature to understand how these legal issues impact our economy,” said Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak. “I fully support the difficult work the Legislature has taken on with its efforts to improve our state’s workers’ compensation system. This filing gives us all a chance to see how the recent court decision impacts costs related to workers’ compensation insurance.”

NCCI provides comprehensive loss cost filings to the state annually to show how changes in the law and employer loss experience trends are expected to impact future losses.

Over the past three years, these annual filings have totaled a reduction of 37.2 percent. In addition, NCCI can file supplemental documents when changed circumstances impact these annual filings. These loss cost filings do not change workers’ compensation insurance premiums on their own. Insurers use the loss cost filings filed by NCCI when setting their own insurance premium rates.

The loss cost filing is scheduled to go into effect July 1, 2016. However, NCCI has reviewed pending legislation in Oklahoma and has acknowledged that if the language is passed this session, the filing could be withdrawn.