For Immediate Release
December 28, 2017
HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry President and CEO Gene Barr issued the following statement regarding the Pennsylvania Department of Insurance’s approval of the Pennsylvania Compensation Rating Bureau’s mid-year loss cost increase filing, with a Feb. 1 effective date. The unprecedented action by the PCRB called for an overall average change in loss costs of +6.06 percent. The filing was deemed necessary as a result of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision in the Protz v. Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board case, which threw out Impairment Rating Evaluations. IREs, a feature of the workers’ compensation process since 1996, are conducted by physicians designated by the Department of Labor & Industry who utilize guidelines from the American Medical Association to assess an injured employee’s level of impairment in order to determine their disability status. The Court’s holding was essentially based on a technicality and legislation has been introduced to address the decision and stave off cost increases.
“As we warned when the PCRB first issued its mid-year loss cost increase filing, employers should be aware that they could see their workers’ comp costs increase early in the new year. While impacts will vary, the PCRB testified at a September House Labor and Industry Committee hearing that the overall impact on employers that carry workers comp insurance policies is expected to be at least $165 million. This figure does not account for employers that self insure, which means the overall impact on Pennsylvania’s business community is likely to be significantly greater.
“The PCRB’s filing and the Department of Insurance’s subsequent approval clearly demonstrate the need for swift legislative action. The PA Chamber is strongly urging the General Assembly to act on H.B. 1840 or companion legislation in the Senate, S.B. 963 – legislation to reinstate the impairment rating evaluation process with the Supreme Court’s concerns addressed.”
The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry is the state's largest broad-based business association, with its statewide membership comprising businesses of all sizes and across all industry sectors. The PA Chamber is The Statewide Voice of BusinessTM.