It was good news for Phoenix employers last year when workers’ compensation insurance premium rates fell by 6 percent statewide in 2015. This markdown outpaced 2014’s rate increase of 3.2 percent. Now, for 2016, a major workers’ compensation rating organization is recommending further cuts in insurance rates for this state, having requested that Arizona regulators approve a 2.2 percent reduction.
The apparent market trend that has led to lower rates also has meant more profits for big insurance companies. Although numbers for 2015 are not reported, Arizona workers’ compensation insurance carriers made a profit on their underwriting in 2014, meaning that they collected more premium than they paid in claims. While this is good news for the insurance companies, it is not good news for injured workers whose claims were denied.
Arizona employers are doing particularly well with respect to avoiding claims for lost wages. Arizona boasts one of the lowest rates of claims for lost time at work in its geographical area, with only 647 workers of 100,000 having to take time off work for a workplace injury. By comparison, Nevada has a rate of 1,078 per 1000,000 and Colorado’s rate is 986 per 100,000. Moreover, most payouts, over 75 percent, were for medical expenses paid on behalf of Arizona workers.
From these statistics, it is hard to tell whether Arizona has safer workplaces when compared to nearby states. However, the numbers may indicate that the employers and employees of this state are avoiding many injuries that cause an employee to miss time at work. The numbers may also indicate, however, that insurance companies operating in Arizona are particularly aggressive in denying injured workers’ claims. If that is the case, it is all the more reason for injured workers to pursue their claims with experienced legal help.