296-17B-010 - Introduction and overview

296-17B-010. Introduction and overview

Retrospective rating (retro) is a voluntary financial incentive program offered by the department of labor and industries to encourage improvements in workplace safety.

Chapter 296-17 WAC defines the standard method for determining the price of workers' compensation insurance for employers insured with the state fund. All employers insured with the state fund must pay the accident fund, medical aid fund, and supplemental pension fund premiums established in that chapter.

Employers who participate in retrospective rating bind themselves to the rules of the retrospective rating program found in this chapter. Under these sections, a participant's ultimate cost of workers' compensation insurance will be different than under chapter 296-17 WAC.

Employers participate in retrospective rating because it creates an opportunity to earn refunds of premiums they are required to pay under chapter 296-17 WAC. However, participation involves risk: Participants not successful in controlling losses can be assessed additional premiums.

Employers control losses by preventing workplace illnesses and injuries, and helping injured workers return to work.

Employers that participate in retro can enroll either individually or as members of a sponsored group. Enrollment is for a one-year coverage period, but it is possible for employers to join a sponsored group after the group's one-year coverage period has begun, at the beginning of a calendar quarter.

After a coverage period is over, the department evaluates premiums and claims losses and determines retro premiums according to these rules. If a retro group's or an individually enrolled employer's retro premiums are less than the standard premiums paid initially, that firm or group will receive a refund. If the retro premiums are more than the standard premiums initially paid, the firm or group will be assessed the additional amount. Calculation of retrospective premiums is defined further in this chapter. The department goes through this annual adjustment process three times for each coverage period.

The department will repeat the studies that resulted in the hazard group assignments and changes to retrospective plan tables that are shown in WAC 296-17-901, 296-17B-300, 296-17B-560, 296-17B-830, and 296-17B-910 through 296-17B-990. The repeated studies will determine whether the results are consistent with the expectation of improved fairness in the distribution of the retrospective rating refunds among participants. These repeated studies will be done by April 1, 2020.

The department will evaluate and if necessary update the tables beginning at WAC 296-17B-910 every five years.

(Amended by WSR 17-12-020, Filed 5/30/2017, effective 6/30/2017)

Statutory Authority: RCW 51.18.010 and 51.04.020(1). 12-21-054, § 296-17B-010, filed 10/15/12, effective 12/14/12. Statutory Authority: RCW 51.16.035, 51.16.100, 51.04.020(1), and 51.18.010. 10-21-086, § 296-17B-010, filed 10/19/10, effective 11/19/10.

The following state regulations pages link to this page.