California — Commissioner Lara issues new, lower workers’ compensation benchmark rate: Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara adopted and issued a new and decreased rate for workers’ compensation insurance that reflects California’s growing economy. The Commissioner’s action lowers the benchmark rate to $1.46 per $100 of payroll for workers’ compensation insurance representing a 2.6 percent decrease from last year and which will go into effect on September 1, 2023.
Consistent with both benchmark rates approved by the Commissioner in 2021 and 2022, this rate does not include a COVID-19 factor. Commissioner Lara will continue to review data in future pure premium rate filings to determine the long-term impact of COVID-19 claims as well as other experience data.
“While our economy continues to grow, insurance companies should be sharing the savings and benefits of increased stability with California’s businesses and workers,” said Commissioner Lara. “This year’s rate continues the pre-pandemic trend of decreasing costs brought on by workers’ compensation reform.”
The market is stabilizing as the overall system continues to recover from disruptions caused by COVID-19. Key factors in the Commissioner’s decision include faster settlement of injured workers’ claims, a decrease in the number of medical services needed for each claim, and a lower percentage of claims with permanent disability benefits. After considering the healthy state of the workers’ compensation market, overall economic conditions, and his staff’s actuarial projections concerning long-term and short-term trends, Commissioner Lara concluded that a reduction in the average pure premium rate is reasonable and appropriate at this time.
Commissioner Lara’s decision results in an average advisory pure premium rate that is below the $1.50 average rate proposed by the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California (WCIRB) in its filing with the California Department of Insurance. Commissioner Lara issued today’s advisory rate after a virtual public hearing that he convened on June 7, 2023 and careful review of the testimony and evidence submitted by stakeholders.
The Commissioner’s recommended rate is based on insurance companies’ cost data, trends, and recommendations made to him by the Department workers’ compensation experts. The pure premium rate is only advisory, as the Commissioner does not have statutory rate setting authority over workers’ compensation rates. The average advisory pure premium rate level of $1.46 approved by the Commissioner is about 14.6 percent lower than the industry-filed average pure premium rate of $1.71 as of January 1, 2023.
Oregon — July recognized as National Vehicle Theft Prevention Month: In recognition of July as National Vehicle Theft Prevention Month, the Oregon Division of Financial Regulation, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), urges vehicle owners to be aware of the ongoing threat of vehicle theft.
Vehicle theft continues to be a significant concern in the U.S., costing vehicle owners more than $8 billion in 2022 alone. Shockingly, more than 1 million vehicles were stolen in the same year, reflecting a 25 percent increase in vehicle theft totals compared to previous years. Of all stolen motor vehicles, passenger cars historically accounted for more than 74 percent, with an estimated occurrence of one motor vehicle theft happening every 32 seconds.
In 2021, Oregon ranked fifth in the country for stolen vehicles based on the highest rate of vehicle theft per 100,000 residents, according to data provided by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB). The states with the highest theft rates were Colorado, District of Columbia, California, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma, and Texas.
Theft of vehicles is covered – subject to the deductible – if you have comprehensive insurance coverage. Talk to your insurance company or agent to make sure you have the correct coverage for your needs.
To ensure the safety of your vehicle, it is essential to adopt preventive measures. Always remember to:
Park in well-lit areas
Close and lock all windows and doors when parking
Conceal your valuables
Avoid leaving your keys inside your vehicle
Refrain from leaving the area while your vehicle is running
Check with your vehicle’s manufacturer to make sure the vehicle’s software is up to date
While some vehicles come equipped with alarm and anti-theft systems, those without such features should consider purchasing additional layers of protection. Anti-theft systems are readily available for purchase online or in stores and can provide an extra level of security for your vehicle. For more comprehensive information on motor vehicle theft prevention, visit www.NHTSA.gov/theft. Also, more resources can be found at www.NICB.org, providing further guidance and tips on safeguarding your vehicle from potential theft.