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Workers' compensation rate increases affect Colorado businesses

Colorado workers may be interested in recent reports indicating that workers' compensation rate worries may affect local businesses. Sources indicate that, as the economy continues to upswing, changes in workers' compensation rates could impact the ability of some businesses to hire new employees. According to a spokeswoman for the Division of Insurance for the state, the recent increase in workers' compensation claims has led to the 3.7 percent average rise in 2012 rates.

What the suspected additional rise in rates will mean for current workers is unclear, but based on the 2012 figures, certain industries have already been significantly affected. For example, the construction industry experienced an average increase of 4.5 percent in 2012. At the other end of the spectrum, the clerical industry only experienced a 1.2 percent rise on average.

The Division of Insurance spokeswoman stated that the increase in rates follow a flat period where companies placed their focus on containing cost and workplace safety. Such a statement may cause some to question whether the increasing rates equal increasing dangers. The answer to that question is unclear. What is clear is that, as rates continue to rise, businesses may have a difficult time keeping up.

Whenever there are reports of changes or rate increases to Colorado workers' compensation, employers and employees both may take an interest. If businesses are unable to financially support the needed staff due to rate increases, current employees may find their workload, hours, or responsibilities increased. Such changes could increase the risk for a work accident, for a number of reasons.

Workers' compensation benefits are designed to protect injured workers and provide invaluable support for them and their families after an on-the-job accident or illness. Workers' compensation typically involves seemingly complex paperwork and filing deadlines. To ease the process, Colorado workers may benefit from the consideration of seeking experienced assistance as they move forward.

Source: Northern Colorado Business Report, "As economy recovers, worries turn to workers' comp rates," Beth Potter, Sept. 4, 2012

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