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Tag: 2018 News

EquityComp Arbitration Agreement is Unenforceable.

Respondents Low Desert Empire Pizza, Inc., Hi Desert Empire Pizza, Inc., Ten Cap, Inc., and Capten, Inc. sued several related insurance entities – Applied Underwriters, Inc. (Applied), Applied Underwriters Captive Risk Assurance Company, Inc. (AUCRA, and together with Applied, appellants) and California Insurance Company (CIC) (together with appellants, defendants).

Desert Pizza challenged the legality of defendants’ EquityComp workers’ compensation insurance program, which consists of an insurance policy and two related side agreements.

Applied and AUCRA moved to compel arbitration based on arbitration provisions in the side agreements, and Desert Pizza countered that the provisions were unenforceable because defendants failed to file them with California’s Insurance Commissioner for approval, as required in Insurance Code section 11658 (Section 11658).

The trial court agreed and denied the motions to compel arbitration. The Court of Appeal affirmed the denial in the unpublished case of Low Desert Empire Pizza, Inc. v. Applied Underwriters, Inc.

This case involves the intersection of California’s workers’ compensation insurance laws and the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA).

This is one of several actions in this state and across the country challenging the legality of defendants’ EquityComp program based on their failure to seek and obtain regulatory approval of side agreements to the insurance policy. (E.g., Citizens of Humanity, LLC v. Applied Underwriters, Inc. (2017) 17 Cal.App.5th 806 (Citizens of Humanity); Minnieland Private Day Sch., Inc. v. Applied Underwriters Captive Risk Assur. Co. (4th Cir. 2017) 867 F.3d 449; Citizens of Humanity, LLC v. Applied Underwriters Captive Risk Assur. Co. (2018) 299 Neb. 545.)

California’s Insurance Commissioner recently issued an administrative decision concluding appellants’ failure to file a virtually identical EquityComp side agreement under Section 11658 rendered the arbitration provisions in that agreement void and unenforceable. (Matter of Shasta Linen Supply, Inc., Decision & Order, dated June 20, 2016, file No. AHB-WCA-14-31, at p. 43 (Shasta Linen).)

Even more recently, the Fourth Appellate District, Division One, reached the same conclusion. (Nielsen Contracting, Inc. v. Applied Underwriters, Inc. (2018) 22 Cal.App.5th 1096, 1118 (Nielsen), review den. Aug. 15, 2018.)

Thus, in this case, the Court of Appeal concluded that defendants’ violation of Section 11658 renders their arbitration provisions unenforceable, and affirmed the order denying the motions to compel arbitration.

Written Consent Required for Comp Attorney Referral Fee

Mark R. Leeds sued Reino & Iida, a Professional Corporation, and individual lawyers Donald Reino and Myles Iida, claiming that defendants breached an agreement to pay him 25 percent of attorney fees earned for workers’ compensation cases plaintiff referred to them. According to the complaint, plaintiff and his law firm separated from defendants in October 2010, and a controversy arose regarding plaintiff’s entitlement to fees for cases plaintiff had referred to defendants.

This is the second time this case has been before the Court of Appeal. In the first review, the trial court sustained defendants’ demurrer to the complaint. In 2013, the Court of Appeal reversed and remanded for further proceedings, concluding that plaintiff and his law firm should be given leave to amend their complaint to state a cause of action for breach of contract.

After remand, the trial court granted defendants’ motions for summary judgment, reasoning that the fee splitting agreement was illegal under Rules of Professional Conduct, rule 2-200 because the parties had not obtained written client consent. Leeds again appealed. Following a second review, the Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court in the unpublished case of Leeds v. Reino and Iida.

State Bar Rule 2-200, captioned “Financial Arrangements Among Lawyers,” provides that “[a] member shall not divide a fee for legal services with a lawyer who is not a partner of, associate of, or shareholder with the member unless: [¶] (1) The client has consented in writing thereto after a full disclosure has been made in writing that a division of fees will be made and the terms of such division; and [¶] (2) The total fee charged by all lawyers is not increased solely by reason of the provision for division of fees and is not unconscionable as that term is defined in rule 4-200.” (Rule 2-200(A).)

The Supreme Court has held that rule 2-200 unambiguously directs that a member of the State Bar ‘shall not divide a fee for legal services’ unless the rule’s written disclosure and consent requirements and its restrictions on the total fee are met. Rule 2-200 “encompass[es] any division of fees where the attorneys working for the client are not partners or associates of each other, or are not shareholders in the same law firm,’ and a lawyer’s failure to comply with rule 2-200 precludes him from sharing fees pursuant to a fee splitting agreement.”

It is undisputed that the parties have not obtained written client consent for the division of fees among them. Leeds contended that client consent was not required, because he performed all of the work on the cases under defendants’ control, and he did not merely refer the cases to defendants. Plaintiff argues that rule 2-200 was not intended to apply to this type of situation.

The Court of Appeal concluded that “no authority supports plaintiff’s contentions.”

Court of Appeal Denies Tristar Lien Law Challenge

Michael E. Barri, Tristar Medical Group, and Coalition for Sensible Workers’ Compensation Reform petitioned the court of appeals pursuant to Labor Code section 5955, seek orders directing the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board to perform its duties and adjudicate Tristar’s lien claims and not enforce provisions contained in newly enacted anti-fraud legislation. (§§ 4615 & 139.21.) claiming certain provisions were unconstitutional.

The new anti-fraud scheme cast a very broad net to halt all proceedings relating to any workers’ compensation liens filed by criminally charged medical providers, as well as any entities “controlled” by the charged provider. The Legislature created this new scheme because existing laws permitted charged providers to collect on liens while defending their criminal cases, allowing continued funding of fraudulent practices.

Pursuant to these two new statutes, the Government gained authority to automatically stay liens filed by charged providers and noncharged entities, without considering if the liens were actually tainted by the alleged illegal misconduct. (§ 4615.) As a result, untainted liens may be stayed (and go unpaid) for a lengthy stretch of time because, in addition to the period required for completion of the criminal case, the statute provides for two post-conviction evidentiary hearings. In the first hearing, the administrative director decides whether to suspend the convicted provider from further participation in the workers’ compensation system. (§ 139.21, subd. (b).)

Following this hearing, the “special lien proceeding” attorney identifies and gathers liens to be adjudicated together by a workers compensation judge (WCJ) in a consolidated “special lien proceeding.” (§ 139.21, subd. (e)(2).) In this second hearing, the lienholder has the evidentiary burden to rebut the statutorily mandated presumption the consolidated liens are all tainted by the misconduct and should not be paid. (§ 139.21, subd. (g).)

In their petition, Barri, Tristar, and CSWCR maintain these statutory provisions go too far and are forcing many legitimate lien providers to stop treating injured workers because the process has become too onerous, expensive, and financially risky. They maintain the creation of a “significantly delayed post deprivation hearing,” the over-inclusive application to untainted liens, and the Government’s failure to provide adequate notice to noncharged entities, has effectively dismantled the safety net in place for injured workers. They suggest the true legislative purpose of the statutes goes beyond fraud prevention and serves the district attorney’s desire to financially cripple criminally charged lien claimants, hampering their ability to adequately defend themselves at trial.

The court of appeal took judicial notice of a number of related documents including the proceedings in federal court by other lien claimants -Vanguard Medical Management Billing, Inc. v. Baker, No. EDCV 17 CV 965 GW(DTBx). It found no merit to any of their claims and denied them the requested relief in the published case of Barri v WCAB.

WCIRB Reports Payments to Indicted Providers Declines

The California WCIRB recently released a new study in which its researchers examine the impact that increased efforts to identify and prosecute provider fraud may be having on the California workers’ compensation system.

As of April 7, 2018 (the time of this analysis), more than 450 medical providers have been indicted and/or suspended by the DIR from practicing in the California’s workers’ compensation system. Many of these providers previously billed and were paid significant amounts for workers’ compensation-related services. While many of the procedures billed by these providers may have been for legitimate services, the suspension of their practices in California’s workers’ compensation is likely a significant driver of reduced medical costs.

The Impact of Medical Fraud Enforcement on California Workers’ Compensation study uses data from the WCIRB’s medical transaction database to analyze the volume and type of medical services that were performed by providers who were subsequently indicted or suspended for fraud (“Indicted Providers”).

The Indicted Providers identified in the WCIRB’s medical transaction data included medical doctors, pharmacists/ pharmacies and other providers and entities such as chiropractors, suppliers of durable medical equipment and hospitals. As shown in Chart 1, approximately half of the Indicted Providers were medical doctors and about one third were pharmacists or pharmacies. Medical doctors accounted for 55% of total medical payments to Indicted Providers, while pharmacists or pharmacies totaled approximately 30% of the payments.

Almost half of the providers received less than $100,000 in payments for medical services in the California workers’ compensation system, and about 10% received more than $10 million in medical payments.

Notable findings of the study include:

– Within the California workers’ compensation system, the share of medical payments to Indicted Providers declined from 7.2% in the second half of 2012 to 1.9% in the second half of 2017. The share of paid transactions by Indicted Providers also fell from 4.4% to 1.4% over the same time period.
– The payments to Indicted Providers for different medical services varied over time. For example, for the second half of 2012, Indicted Providers accounted for 5% of payments for Physician Fee Schedule Services, while by the second half of 2017, Indicted Providers accounted for 1.2% for Physician Fee Schedule Services.
– The proportion of payments to Indicted Providers for Medical Liens showed a steady increase, from 18% for the second half of 2012 to 45% for the second half of 2017.
– The time between when the service was provided and when the payment was made was noticeably longer for Indicted Providers than for Other Providers, with the exception of medical lien payments.

The complete study is accessible in the Research section of the WCIRB website

WCIRB Data Shows So. Cal. Has CT Epidemic.

The WCIRB has released The World of Cumulative Trauma Claims report which focuses on workers’ compensation claims for workplace injuries that result from repetitive mentally or physically traumatic activities extending over a period of time.

CT claims have always been a part of the California workers’ compensation system. Recently, although overall claim frequency and average indemnity and medical costs have been flat to declining, the proportion of claims involving CT has increased sharply. This report explores the world of CT claims including how they differ from specific injury claims and the key drivers of the recent CT claim increases.

CT claims have continued to grow at a significant rate through the economic recovery. CT claims are also much more likely to be reported late, so early estimates of CT claim proportions typically understate the true proportions for an accident year.

Like many cost components, CT claim rates differ significantly across the regions of California. While the proportion of CT claims has typically been higher in the Los Angeles Basin, these rates have diverged significantly over the last several years and are also showing a similar pattern in San Diego.

All of the recent growth in CT claims has been in the Los Angeles and San Diego regions. CT claim rates in other regions of California have declined and are lower than the 1998 levels.

Although the WCIRB does not use the phrase “epidemic” some might say this adjective accurately describes the phenomena in Southern California. According to Merriam-Webster, an epidemic is something that is “excessively prevalent”, or “affecting or tending to affect a disproportionately large number of individuals within a population, community, or region at the same time.”

Beginning in 2008, Construction CT claims increased in the Los Angeles Basin and has accelerated in recent years to be 4 times the 2007 lows.

Los Angeles Basin CT rates in Manufacturing diverted from the rest of the state starting in 1999 and accelerated rapidly starting in 2012. The Los Angeles Basin’s share of all Manufacturing claims has been consistent over time, suggesting that some shifting from specific claims to CT claims may be occurring. The recent CT rates of over 20% in the Los Angeles Basin are among the highest of any industry and the growth in this industry is one of the most significant drivers of recent CT claim growth.

The proportion of CT claims has increased in the Los Angeles Basin Trade industry in recent years though at a somewhat less significant rate than in other industries. The percentage of all Trade industry indemnity claims from the Los Angeles Basin has also increased which is partially attributable to the increases in CT claims.

The vast majority of indemnity claims in the Information industry are from the Los Angeles Basin. Unlike other industries, CT rates in the Information sector across California regions have cut in half from the high in 2004.

The Finance & Insurance industry typically has higher CT claim proportions than any other industry. CT claims decreased to historical lows in the Los Angeles Basin during the 2007 – 2008 financial crisis and rebounded since 2010 to more typical levels for this industry.

CT claims have increased significantly in the Los Angeles Basin Real Estate industry and in 2016 are 4 times the 2008 level. CT claims in Real Estate in other regions of California have also increased, but by a less significant magnitude.

The proportion of CT claims in the Administrative industry is increasing across all regions of California though at a faster pace in the Los Angeles Basin.

The ratio of Arts & Entertainment CT claims in the Los Angeles Basin reached a historical high of 15% in 2015, but shows some indications of decline in 2016 . The proportion of all Arts & Entertainment industry claims from the Los Angeles Basin has increased almost 10% in the last 3 years, driven in part by the CT claim growth.

Beginning in 2008 , the ratio of CT claims in the Los Angeles Basin Hospitality industry increased significantly, more than doubling through 2016. Growth in Los Angeles Basin CT claims from this large industry is one of the most significant drivers of the overall recent growth.

The full report available on the WCIRB website continues to report similar data supporting the conclusion that there is indeed a CT epidemic in the Los Angeles Basin.

LETF Targets Unsafe Car Washes

California’s Labor Enforcement Task Force (LETF) is a coalition of California state agencies formed in 2012 to combat the underground economy. The task force operates under the direction of the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) and conducts monthly inspections in high-risk industries. LETF member partners include DIR divisions Cal/OSHA and the Labor Commissioner’s Office, officially known as the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, the Contractors State License Board, the Employment Development Department, the California Department of Insurance, the Bureau of Automotive Repair, Alcoholic Beverage Control and the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration.

This week, California’s Labor Enforcement Task Force has discovered safety violations during targeted inspections that put workers in immediate danger of fatal and serious injuries, including amputation and lacerations. The task force issued orders shutting down dangerous machinery at seven high-risk work sites in Southern California, including four car wash and three manufacturing businesses.

At four car washes, task force inspectors discovered that industrial water extractors for towels did not have functioning interlock devices to stop the machines when the door is unlocked or open. Inspectors issued stop orders known as Orders Prohibiting Use to Pasadena Auto Wash, Baldwin Park Hand Car Wash and Star Auto Spa in El Monte, and Fair Oaks Car Wash in Altadena.

Cal/OSHA removed the stop orders at Pasadena Auto Wash and Fair Oaks Car Wash after the machinery was adequately repaired. The other two businesses have not corrected the hazards.

Inspectors also cited Baldwin Park Hand Car Wash $6,000 for violation of child labor laws after finding minors working in dangerous occupations. “LETF monitors not only for safety violations, but also for violations of wage, tax and licensing laws,” added LETF Chief Dominic Forrest. “We issue stop orders when we find hazards that require immediate action to prevent serious injury and we also offer information that helps employers understand and follow their responsibilities.”

Imminent safety hazards were also discovered when LETF inspected three manufacturing companies located in Santa Ana: Maximum Security Safes, Trinity Window Fashions and Pierre’s Fine Carpentry. Inspectors issued orders to shut down woodworking table saws that were not properly guarded. The orders were subsequently lifted after the hazards were corrected.

LETF inspectors also issued stop-work orders and cited Trinity Window Fashions $3,000 and Pierre’s Fine Carpentry $1,500 for failure to maintain workers’ compensation insurance. The orders were lifted after the companies provided proof of insurance.

San Jose PQME Indicted for Fraud and Illegal Prescribing

A federal grand jury has indicted South Bay doctor and PQME Venkat Aachi, charging him with distributing hydrocodone outside the scope of his professional practice and without a legitimate medical need, and with health care fraud related to the submission of false and fraudulent claims regarding the health care benefits.

Aachi is listed on the DIR database as a PQME in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation with offices in San Jose and Campbell California.

According to the indictment filed October 9, 2018, and unsealed Friday, October 12, 2018, on six occasions from November 27, 2017, through March 5, 2018, Aachi knowingly distributed hydrocodone to two individuals knowing that the distribution was outside the scope of his professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose.

Further, on July 2, 2018, Aachi allegedly submitted to an insurance company a false and fraudulent claim for payment for healthcare benefits, items, and services.

Aachi made an initial appearance on October 12, 2018, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Virginia K DeMarchi. At that time, he was arraigned on the indictment, entered a plea of not guilty, and was released on bond. Aachi is scheduled to appear next before Magistrate Judge DeMarchi on October 22, 2018, for a further bond hearing.

If convicted, Aachi faces a maximum 20 years in prison and a one-million dollar fine for each of the six distribution counts and an additional 10 years in prison for the insurance fraud count.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Shailika Kotiya is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Rawaty Yim.

This prosecution is the result of investigations by the DEA, FBI, HHS-OIG, and the California Department of Justice Bureau of Medi Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse (BMFEA).

Through the BMFEA, the California Department of Justice regularly works with other law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute fraud perpetrated on the Medi Cal program against a wide variety of healthcare providers, including doctors and pharmaceutical companies.

This case was investigated and prosecuted by member agencies of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, a focused multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional task force investigating and prosecuting the most significant drug trafficking organizations throughout the United States by leveraging the combined expertise of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies.

Uninsured Subcontractor Must Repay Contract Payments

In 2013 D.L. Falk Construction, Inc. entered into a contract with the Central Contra Costa Sanitary District under which Falk was to be general contractor on district project No. 8226, “Seismic Improvements for HOB.”

The project involved seismic upgrades for the District in Martinez, which required removing various existing finishes to expose the building’s structural steel columns; strengthening the columns by welding on specially manufactured pieces; testing the columns; and restoring the building’s finishes to make it ready for occupancy.

B.A. Retro, Inc. was a subcontractor on a project on which D.L. Falk Construction, Inc.was the general contractor. Retro began sending workers to the project, who were from the union hall. Retro’s work on the project was, as its President acknowledged, dangerous: it included working “with heavy metal objects”; lifting “big plates from trucks into the work site”; some “welding” that required a “fire watch” mandated by law; and similar dangerous activities.

At the conclusion of the project, Retro sued Falk for $260,000, the amount it claimed Falk owed on the balance of the subcontract. This was in addition to the $440,447 Falk had had paid Retro on the contract by that time.

During litigation, Falk learned that Retro had begun work on the job at a time when it did not have workers’ compensation insurance, the effect of which was to cause an automatic suspension of its license. Retro’s certified license certificate showed that at the time of the subcontract with Falk Retro had an “exemption from workers’ compensation” insurance, which exemption is available only if the contractor had no employees.

The case proceeded to a court trial on the licensure issue,as a defense to the contract balance, and a cross complaint by Falk for restitution of the $440,447 it had previously paid on the contract. The court ruled against Retro, rejecting its claim of substantial compliance with the licensing law, and entered judgment against Retro on both its claim and Falk’s restitution claim. Retro appealed, and the court of appeal affirmed the trial court in the unpublished case of B.A. Retro, Inc. v. D.L. Falk Construction, Inc.

The Contractors Licensing Law, Business and Professions Code 7031, provides that no person “engaged in the business or acting in the capacity of a contractor” can bring an action for compensation for work requiring a contractor’s license if the person was not properly licensed at all times during the performance of the work. Subdivision (b) permits a person “who utilizes the services of an unlicensed contractor” to bring an action for disgorgement of “all compensation paid to the unlicensed contractor.

The California Supreme Court has acknowledged that the statute, while punitive, is necessary to protect an important public policy. (Hydrotech Systems, Ltd. v. Oasis Waterpark, supra, 52 Cal.3d at pp. 995, 997.)

First Comp Providers Finally Join Opioid Lawsuits

Two Illinois-based nonprofit risk pools, who provide more than 203 local municipalities and other public entities with workers’ compensation and employee healthcare insurance, filed a joint lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Cook County against leading opioid manufacturers, distributors, professional associations, and prescribers. It is the first opioid lawsuit brought by insurance risk pools in Illinois.

The Intergovernmental Risk Management Agency (IRMA) and Intergovernmental Personnel Benefit Cooperative (IPBC), seek injunctive relief and financial compensation from defendants to recoup substantial costs resulting from the far-reaching impact of the over-prescription and abuse of opioid medication. IPBC’s costs include vast expenditures on hospitalizations due to overdose, addiction treatment services, and overdose reversal medications, while IRMA has paid millions of dollars in cases involving injured workers who were unnecessarily given long-term opioid prescriptions to treat chronic pain.

The suit alleges opioid manufacturers, including Purdue Pharma, Allergan, and Teva, engaged in aggressive and deceptive marketing campaigns; distributors including AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and McKesson failed to act as gatekeepers against overprescribing the addictive narcotics; professional organizations including Chicago-based American Academy of Pain Medicine and American Pain Society deceptively promoted the use of opioids for chronic pain management; and suburban Chicago doctors Paul Madison and Joseph Giacchino served as “pill mills,” doling out opioids to anyone who came through the door of their clinic.

The 217 page civil complaint  alleges that the defendants’ plan to flood the Illinois market with opioid medication worked: in 2015, eight million opioid prescriptions were filled in Illinois, the equivalent of 60 prescriptions per 100 people.

The lawsuit is the latest step in a proactive multi-pronged strategy IPBC and IRMA have enacted to address and reduce opioid abuse in their members’ employee communities.

“This lawsuit is about real costs incurred directly as a result of the opioid epidemic. We have seen fully employed, respectable public employees with work injuries who were prescribed opioids unnecessarily and became addicted, ultimately rendering them unable to return to work and costing our members millions,” said IRMA Executive Director Margo Ely. “Opioid abuse and addiction has cost our members through not only lost productivity, but very sad stories of lost careers and lives.”

“As a taxpayer-supported health insurance provider to public entities across Illinois, we have a fiduciary obligation to aggressively seek to recoup the millions of dollars in claim costs that have been wasted due to over-prescription of opioid medications and addiction treatment,” said IPBC Executive Director Dave Cook. “The impact of long-term opioid use and abuse has been significant to our organization financially, and to many of our members who have suffered as a result of defendants’ egregious behavior.”

Founded in 1979, the Intergovernmental Risk Management Agency (IRMA) was the first municipal risk pool in Illinois, and today, provides comprehensive risk management services, including workers’ compensation coverage, for 72 municipal groups in northeastern Illinois.

The Intergovernmental Personnel Benefit Cooperative (IPBC) is a public risk entity pool established in 1979 by Chicago area municipalities to administer some or all of the personnel benefit programs offered by participating members to employees and retirees.

California Comp Costs Moves One Step From Worst

Workers’ compensation premium rates fell considerably nationwide, while California continued to see among the worst rates in the nation, according to a new study out from the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services. The department puts out its Oregon Workers’ Compensation Premium Rate Ranking Summary report every two years. The full report is due out in about two months, and is expected to include details such as classification code rankings for each state.

“We’ve noticed that generally everyone’s still moving down,” said Jay Dotter, who authored the report along with Chris Day. ‘It’s the most we’ve seen for a while.”

Day noted that majority of states saw rates move down on the index. He couldn’t say exactly why that was, but offered some possible explanations.  ‘For (National council on Compensation Insurance) states, loss costs have been dropping,’ Dotter said. ‘We’ve been seeing that the losses due to medical and indemnity have been going down.’

California was behind only New York as the state with highest index rate. New York was in third place in the prior study, and moved up to worst in the nation, which resulted in California moving to second worst.

According to the report in the Insurance Journal, the California Department of Workers’ Compensation, which has touted the success of system-wide changes that have been ongoing over the past six years, took issue with the state’s ranking.

“Oregon’s study is based on the industrial mix in their state and does not reflect actual costs in California’s workers compensation system,” a statement provided by a DWC spokesperson reads.

The Oregon report compares 50 classification codes with the largest losses for Oregon only and is based on payroll figures over a three-year period in that state from 2012 to 2014. This gives an overall index rate for the state based on state rates by class code weighted by premium. The authors of the report use a common set of class codes so they are comparing the rates without a class codes difference added in, since class codes vary broadly from state to state. However, the index rates are based on each state’s rates as of Jan. 1, 2018.

Since the 2012 workers’ comp reforms were enacted, California has seen a reduction in costs to employers while increasing injured workers’ benefits and improving access and quality of evidence-based care, according to the DWC statement.

“This is the result of our work to identify and reduce high litigation and administrative costs,” the statement continues.

The statement also notes that as a result of these changes, the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau has for the past three years consistently recommended that pure premium costs be lowered.

The WCIRB in August submitted to the insurance commissioner proposed advisory pure premium rates to be effective Jan. 1, 2019 that average $1.70 per $100 of payroll. That indicated average pure premium is 4.5 percent less than the average approved July 1, 2018 advisory pure premium rate of $1.78 and 20 percent less than the corresponding industry average filed pure premium rate of $2.13 as of July 1, 2018.

New York was the worst ranked state $3.08, or 181 percent of the study median. New Jersey ($2.84), Alaska ($2.51) and Delaware ($2.50) followed.

Oregon’s $1.15 index rate ranked 46th. North Dakota (.82 cents), Indiana (.87 cents), Arkansas (.90 cents), West Virginia ($1.01) were the top ranked states with the lowest index rates.

Oregon ranked 43rd on the previous list, the best performance since the list first started to be complied in the late 1980s, according to Dotter.  The state ranked 6th on the first report. Oregon later initiated reforms that included reducing litigation and sending contested workers’ comp cases through newly created administrative review processes, according to Dotter.