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updated: 8/20/2013 6:51 AM

Workers' comp insurance rate down 4.5 percent in Illinois

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Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD. -- The rate used to calculate workers' compensation insurance premiums has dropped again, a direct result of reforms Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law in 2011, his aides said Monday.

The National Council on Compensation Insurance, a rating agency, issued a rate that reflects a 4.5 percent drop in the statewide average.

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The council issues rates for various categories of employees, such as truck drivers. Insurance companies that use the rate then multiply it by the number of employees in a company to determine a premium for covering workers' compensation claims.

Quinn's office says over the last three years, the rate has dropped 13.3 percent and resulted in $315 million savings on workers' compensation premiums for Illinois businesses.

"Illinois had one of the most burdensome workers' compensation systems in the country," the Democratic governor said in a prepared statement. "We turned that statistic around and (are) saving hundreds of millions of dollars for our businesses and keeping the system honest to our workers."

Quinn said the latest reduction could save another $110 million. A spokesman for the National Council on Compensation Insurance did not return a call seeking comment.

Lawmakers sent Quinn a package of reforms in 2011 that cut medical fees, capped the number of weeks of payment for carpal tunnel syndrome, made it harder for intoxicated workers to win claims and allowed employers to organize medical networks for handling cases.

State Department of Insurance actuaries must confirm the rate and approve it, which takes about 60 days. If accepted, it takes effect in January. Deputy Director James Stephens said about 70 percent of companies followed the rate last year.

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