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Alaska Has Highest Workers' Comp Rates, Oregon Study Shows

California's workers' compensation reforms have had a dramatic effect, and Florida also has done well at reducing the workers' compensation premium rates paid by its employers, according to a new national study by the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services. Posted Nov. 3, the study determined Alaska has the highest comp rate currently, followed by Montana, Ohio, Vermont, and New Hampshire. The lowest rate, $1.08 per $100 of payroll based on the 50 occupations with the greatest losses, belongs to North Dakota.

Florida's rate of $2.20 per $100 of payroll placed it 28th on the list; the state ranked sixth two years ago. California's rate, $2.72, ranks 14th this year, but the state was second-highest in 2006 before enacting major reforms.

"Employers can reduce their workers' compensation rates through accident prevention, safety training, and by helping injured workers return to work quickly," authors Mike Manley and Jay Dotter wrote in the study.

They said employers in Oregon -- it now ranks 39th with a rate of $1.88 per $100 of payroll -- will pay 5.9 percent less next year after a third consecutive annual rate decrease. Low comp costs are a competitive advantage for employers and states.

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