Thursday, October 5, 2017
NORMAN - Governor Mary Fallin today announced results of various workers’ compensation reforms passed in 2013. The governor highlighted the significant reduction in time delays of claims for injured workers to receive health care benefits, a reduction in injured-worker case filings, decreasing costs of insurance premiums, and efficiencies at the Workers’ Compensation Commission (WCC).
The percentage of cases going to trial has dramatically decreased, with the majority of cases being diverted from costly and time-consuming litigation, Fallin said. She made the comments while addressing the Fourth Annual Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Educational Conference, held at the Embassy Suites Hotel & Conference Center in Norman, and presented by the WCC.
The WCC was created in the 2013 reform package to replace the previous Workers’ Compensation Court system. The WCC began operations February 1, 2014.
“After three years of experience, it's important to review the results and report back to all stakeholders. The results we are seeing are very positive for our state,” said Fallin.
Oklahoma’s premium loss costs rates filed by the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) have decreased 60 percent in the last five years, including the largest single year decrease of 16 percent filed for 2018. Aggregate premiums paid by Oklahoma businesses have decreased 30 percent, totaling $288 million since 2013.
“From the dramatic decrease in premium costs and number of cases being filed, to the efficiencies found at the WCC, both Oklahoma’s businesses and workers are seeing the benefits of our reforms,” Fallin said.
The governor focused on a significant reduction of injured-worker cases being filed, dropping from more than 14,000 in 2012 under the previous court system, to just over 7,700 under the WCC in 2016.
Efficiencies made at the WCC were also identified, with the WCC having only 76 orders appealed in 2016, compared with 799 in the previous court system in 2012. That represents a 90 percent reduction.
The WCC also had a 33 percent reduction in total expenditures in 2016 compared with the previous court system in 2012.
“Our goal is to ensure a workers’ compensation system that fairly and effectively serves injured workers, employers, and Oklahoma’s economy.”