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June 12, 2014

Long-term downward trend continues for number of worker' compensation claims, costs of insurance premiums



Annual Minnesota Workers' Compensation System Report released

The number of paid workers' compensation claims in Minnesota fell 47 percent relative to the number of employees from 1997 to 2012, according to the 2012 Minnesota Workers' Compensation System Report, just released by the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI).

"Though each workplace accident is one too many, the report underscores that Minnesota's workplaces have become much safer for employees and comparatively less costly for employers since 1997," said Ken Peterson,
DLI commissioner. "As has been the case for the past few years, medical treatment for injuries was the chief cost driver for the system, increasing annually per claim by more than 5 percent above average wages since 1997."

Significant findings

  • The workers' compensation claim rate fell considerably from 1997 to 2012, from 8.7 to 4.6 claims per 100 full-time-equivalent employees.

  • The 2012 total workers' compensation system cost was $1.33 per $100 of payroll. In Minnesota and elsewhere, this cost follows a multi-year pricing cycle. However, there does seem to be a long-term downward trend.

  • Because of the falling rate of claims, total costs of benefits, including medical, cash and rehabilitation, fell 14 percent relative to payroll between 1997 and 2012.

  • Medical care accounts for the largest share of total system cost, 35 percent; next, insurance expenses,
    31 percent; then cash benefits, 29 percent.

  • The percentage of claims with disputes rose from 15.5 percent to 21.0 percent from 1997 to 2008, but has shown little change since 2008.

  • The proportion of claimants receiving vocational rehabilitation services increased from 1997 to 2008, but has shown little change since 2008.

The report, part of an annual series, presents data from 1997 through 2012 about aspects of Minnesota's workers' compensation system. The purpose of the report is to describe the current status and direction of workers' compensation in Minnesota and to offer explanations, where possible, for recent developments. It is available online at www.dli.mn.gov/RS/WcSystemReport.asp. Copies of the report may also be obtained by calling
(651) 284-5030 or 1-800-342-5354.

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News media contact:
Jenny O'Brien
(651) 284-5261

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