Synopsis: Illinois WC Premiums Remain in the Middle of the Pack.

Editor’s comment: The “every-other-year” Oregon WC Insurance Premium Rankings are out. It is difficult to find a metric for WC costs around our great country but Oregon has what I, and most WC observers feel is the most scientifically significant ranking for WC insurance premiums.

New Jersey maintained its spot as the most expensive state in the U.S. for purchasing workers’ compensation coverage in the ranking by the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services.

While the top half of the list remains populated by California, New York and Hawaii, Wyoming, of all states, is now in the top 10 following a more than 29% increase in average costs in 2022.

Average premiums of $2.44 per $100 of payroll in New Jersey were 192% of the study median — $1.27 per $100 of payroll set in Pennsylvania. New Jersey also topped the year 2020 analysis with average costs of $2.52.

Hawaii, which ranked fifth in 2020, jumped to second place in 2022 with average premiums of $2.27. California jumped from fourth in 2020 to third in 2022 with average costs of $2.26. New York dropped two spots to fourth in 2022 with average costs of $2.15. And Louisiana, which ranked eighth in 2020, rounds out the top five in 2022 with average costs of $2.13.

The Illinois WC premium costs moved up five spots to 19th with an index rate of $1.39. Noting number 25 is half, our IWCC has kept costs reasonable for the last study period. We are sure they are working to be fair and reasonable in evaluating accidental injuries.

In my view, the biggest and most expensive continuing issues with IL Work Comp are

  • The new focus on “body as a whole” for anyone with any arguable job restriction, even if the employer fully accommodates. When a restriction is present, regardless of its validity, PPD spirals up in a fashion I struggle to understand. As I have told my readers repeatedly, don’t use or pay for FCE’s—they don’t help IL WC defense at all. If you are not sure why, send a reply.

  • The never-ending litigation where no Arbitrator is willing to put their foot down and start dismissing claims when nothing is happening from a Claimant attorney for years on end.

Another odd potential out there is the possibility things like “walking” at work would be deemed to be an “accident”—I reported this judicial anomaly recently and hope it doesn’t become a legal trend for this system, as costs will then staggeringly skyrocket. I also feel we may then see litigation levels drop, as certainty of indefensible claims may cause employers to pay everything and everyone. That means claim costs/reserves will go up. I ask everyone—how do you possibly reserve an IL WC claim if the only issue is Claimant was “walking” at work when they felt pain? In what language is walking an accident?

Florida and Texas saw little change in their rankings. Florida moved down one spot to 28th in the latest study with average premiums of $1.26. Texas moved up three spots to 46th with average costs of 88 cents.

Oregon moved up three spots to 42nd with average costs of 93 cents per $100 of payroll, tied with Colorado.

The Oregon stat-geeks said the U.S. national median index rate of $1.27 per $100 of payroll is the lowest value since it started conducting the national rate comparisons in 1986. In the first year of the study, the national median index rate was $3.18 and by 1994 it had increased to $4.35.

The Oregon Department also reported narrowing in the range of index rates during the history of the study. In 1988, for example, the index for the most expensive state, Hawaii, was $6.50, and the index for the cheapest state, Wyoming, was $1.04. The spread in the latest report is from $2.44 to 58 cents in North Dakota.

The Oregon study calculates rates for all 50 states and D.C. using a standard mix of the 50 industries with the highest workers’ compensation claims costs in Oregon. Although intended to inform Oregon lawmakers about how the state’s system is performing compared to others, the report is often used as a benchmark by legislators and regulators in other states as well.

The 2022 Oregon work comp premium rate study is here.

Reports from previous years are available here under the “workers’ compensation premium rate ranking summary” tab.

We appreciate your thoughts and comments. Please post them on our award-winning blog.



Synopsis: Another “Never-Ending” Story of an IL WC/OD claim. Is There Any Way to Move Such Claims Faster?

Editor’s comment: In Cummings v. IWCC, decided August 5, 2022, the IL WC Appellate Court considered a claim that started in November 2014 or about 8 years earlier. What is clearly odd about the claim is Petitioner is seeking benefits for an occupational disease of unknown identity. Please consider how strange that is—how can an Arbitrator and/or the IWCC review panel provide benefits when the disease remains unknown eight years later? To this moment, there is no strong proof of any scientifically documented “occupational disease” process in Claimant’s body.


After a hearing, the Arbitrator denied benefits, the IWCC review panel affirmed the denial and the Circuit Court confirmed denial also.


The IL WC Appellate Court, in its wisdom, focused on 109 pages of medical records. The problem with the records is defense counsel didn’t have a problem with their admission and put the lack of objection on the record. The Arbitrator, acting on his own, noted there was a lack of certification of some of the records and refused to consider them, regardless of the lack of objection by defense.


Please note the rejected records should have been placed into the record as a “rejected exhibit” and therefore could have been informally considered by the Commission, the Circuit Court judge and the Appellate panel. If there was blockbuster evidence in those rejected-but-attached records, I truly feel some one of the three Commissioners, single Circuit Court judge or five Appellate Court justices could have noted it and sought their admission.


Instead, the Appellate Court, WC Division unanimously considered the Arbitrator’s refusal to consider them as reversible error, mandating the entire claim be returned to the Commission for another several years of litigation for an occupational disease that still doesn’t have a name.


On remand, the IL WC Commission will consider the 109 pages, then issue a new decision to then possibly return to the Circuit Court to then return to the Appellate Court, hopefully before the end of the next decade.


All I can do is shake my head and ask everyone in this system to move things faster so employers/insurance carriers and local municipalities aren’t paying exorbitant carrying costs for endless litigation. If you want to read the Appellate Court’s ruling, please send a reply.


We appreciate your thoughts and comments. Please post them on our award-winning blog.