Tara Reck, Managing L&I Attorney at Reck Law PLLC - Workers' Compensation Attorneys

L&I Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rate Increase in 2022 for Workers and Employers

The Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) in Washington State announced premium rate hikes this week. The rate change affects workers and employers alike. Interestingly, this is the first workers’ compensation insurance rate increase in 5 years. In fact, premium rates will increase by 3.1% in 2022. Yet, even with this increase, workers’ compensation premium rates will be lower than in 2017.


Work injury claim insurance coverage

It’s important to remember that L&I provides workers’ compensation coverage to roughly 2.6 million workers. The insurance fund uses funds from premiums that L&I collects from employees and employers statewide. These funds cover all aspects of L&I claim expenses. This includes medical treatment benefits and wage replacement such as time-loss compensation and loss of earning power benefits. It also covers permanent partial disability awards, L&I claim settlement, and L&I claim pension payments.


Employers and workers pay into the workers’ compensation system to help cover insurance costs. Payments for the L&I Accident Fund provide workers with wage and disability benefits after a work injury on the job. It also covers the medical treatment for the work injury, occupational disease, or other work-related illness.


L&I claim insurance rate hike – reasons and background

Per L&I, the rate increase in 2022 is necessary because of rising coverage costs. Specifically, according to L&I’s announcement, costs are rising due to Cost-of-Living Adjustments (COLA). Furthermore, costs are increasing because of higher average wages across the state and the spike in inflation.


Naturally, many wonder if the increase in insurance costs has to do with coverage for COVID L&I Claims. During the pandemic, L&I helped thousands of businesses with premium payment grace periods and payment plans. However, according to L&I, it is not including COVID claim cost exposure in calculating premium rates.


Not all work injury rate hikes are equal

Remember, the 3.1% L&I insurance rate increase is an average. This means that certain employers and employees might see different increases (or decreases). It all depends on a variety of factors. For example, factors include things like recent claim history. Moreover, they comprise changes in the frequency and cost of claims in industry risk classes. At the same time, employees will continue to pay approximately quarter of the higher premium cost. In fact, employee’s contribution share is comparable to the contribution percentages in 2021.


The workplace injury insurance outlook in Washington State

In its announcement, L&I explicitly emphasized the importance of keeping rates steady and predictable. It plans to do this through efforts to prevent workplace injury and workplace illness occurrences. Additionally, L&I plans to continue to help workplace injury claimants heal and return to work.


Furthermore, L&I announced its goal to support recovery and provide services more early in the workers’ compensation claim process. Given this statement, I humbly suggest that L&I does a better job authorizing necessary objective diagnostic studies early in claims. That way, we won’t need to discover herniated disks, fractures, and tears two years into the L&I claim administration process.


1 Comment

  1. Lauri Hooks

    For the last 2 months I have been experiencing issue dealing with my pay, time &1/2, holiday pay and overtime being put into a unknown formula that keeps taking hours that I have worked and not calculating them correctly one week to the next. I have talked to my supervisor, he seems to think its correct, talked to manager and he says it’s a formula that they use and I have tried talking to HR, was ignored, disrespected and basically treated like I don’t know how to count my hours and its affecting my personal life with my finances. There are others that keep experiencing hours not being reported and I work Tuesday-Sunday 1800-0600, and should have the same hours weekly but its not showing on my payslips.

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