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Senate Leader Calls on Governor to Join Rate Hike Appeal

Senate President Pro-Tempore Stratton Taylor called on Governor Keating and others to join Senate leaders in their fight against a workers compensation rate increase approved in September by the Board of Property and Casualty Rates.

"I understand the Governor and others have unveiled a workers' compensation proposal, but I have not seen the details about this plan. Obviously, this is something for the legislature to consider next year," said Taylor.

"However, if they are serious about reducing workers' compensation costs, they have an opportunity today to help the Senate in its efforts to save businesses throughout the state $24 million," commented Taylor.

That's the amount Oklahoma businesses will be forced to pay as a result of the State Property and Casualty Rates hearing held September 28th. The Senate attempted to enter an actuarial report documenting the need for a 2.7 percent rate cut, but the board voted not to consider the evidence. Instead, board members examined only actuarial reports that advocated rate increases and voted accordingly.

"The Senate filed an appeal of that rate increase with the State Supreme Court. We would urge the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and others concerned about workers' compensation costs to file friend of the court briefs supporting our position," said Taylor. "This is an immediate action that would guarantee savings for Oklahoma businesses."

"In addition, I would urge them to consider reform of the rate making process for the future. We cannot obtain real workers' comp savings without a complete overhaul of that process," noted Taylor.

"It's obvious that the workers' compensation rate making process has failed us when the legislature has enacted numerous reforms and can't even get consideration of an actuarial study that shows a workers comp decrease is in order," said Taylor.

"One of the things that appears to be missing is consideration of workers' compensation insurance rate payers at rate review hearings. We need to consider broadening who makes the appointment to the board that reviews workers' compensation rate increases and make sure that the board considers any evidence that would justify a rate decrease," commented Taylor.

"This is a key ingredient that will be necessary for any meaningful rate reduction to occur in the workers compensation process. We've already seen that enacting workers compensation reforms at the legislature does not necessarily translate into workers compensation rate reductions with the current rate review system in place," said Taylor.

Contact info
Senate Communications Division - (405) 521-5605