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June 30, 2008

Workers’ compensation dividend to be paid to 139,000 employers

Audio available

TUMWATER — The Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) will begin mailing dividend checks this week to 100,000 employers as the final step of a process to return excess funds from the state’s workers’ compensation system. Another 28,000 employers will receive credit toward their next workers’ compensation premiums. The remaining 11,000 employers will have their dividends applied to premiums already owed or other debts.

“L&I strives to make sure no individual or group pays more or less than it should for workers' compensation insurance,” said Director Judy Schurke.

“Last year, employers and workers enjoyed a partial workers’ comp rate holiday,” she explained. Employers and workers saved more than $300 million in workers’ compensation premiums by not having to pay Medical Aid fund premiums during the second half of 2007.

To complete the rate holiday, employers who did not participate in L&I’s Retrospective Rating Program are also entitled to a one-time dividend. (Retro employers receive their proportionate share through their retrospective rating assessments.)

The dividends will total $37 million, and dividends will average $266 per employer. How much an individual employer receives will be based on the Accident Fund premium he or she paid in the second half of 2007. Checks will be sent to 100,000 employers in amounts ranging from $10 to several thousand dollars. About half the checks will be between $10 and $100. Another 28,000 employers will have their next-quarter premiums credited.

About 11,000 employers who owe workers’ comp premiums or may otherwise have a debt with L&I or other agencies may see their dividends applied to those debts rather than receive a check directly. An employer will be notified if a dividend is applied to debts.

More information is available on the L&I Web site at http://www.lni.wa.gov/ClaimsIns/Insurance/RatesRisk/Check/RatesHistory/PrevYearsRates/RateHoliday/Default.asp.


For media information: Jerry Gilliland, L&I Public Affairs, at 360-902-5411

Radio broadcast version:
One hundred thousand Washington employers are going to receive a check in the mail beginning this week. It’s a dividend averaging $266 each on their workers’ comp insurance. Another 28,000 employers will receive credit of less than $10 toward their next workers’ comp premiums. It’s the last step in a two-year process by the Department of Labor & Industries to return more than $300 million in excess premium funds to employers and workers. The dividends total $37 million.

Audio message (16 seconds)

Click the "play" button to listen or download audio (right-click and choose "save as" or "save link as.")

Voice of Jerry Gilliland, L&I communications manager: "This dividend is possible because of the great job employers have done to reduce workplace injuries, and also higher-than-expected investment earnings and everyone's commitment to controlling health-care costs."

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