Safety performance heralds lower rates for 2006

Time loss claims at lowest point ever means a sizable drop in claim costs

EDMONTON, AB June 16, 2005 – At today’s WCB Annual General Meeting, workers and employers heard from President and CEO, Guy Kerr that their continued focus on safety is paying dividends in lower costs to the workers’ compensation system. In fact, Alberta continues to drive down the injury rate, announcing its lowest point ever at 2.6 injuries per 100 workers covered by WCB – a significant improvement from 4.9 in 1990.

“We must maintain these positive trends, and remain focused on preventing injuries and helping Albertans return to work safely through 2005, to see another premium rate reduction in 2006,” noted Kerr. This would be the second year in a row the workplace injury insurer reported rate reductions.

Growing stakeholder participation in the Partners in Injury Reduction (PIR) program is a large contributor to WCB success. Now, over half of Alberta’s WCB-covered workforce works for a PIR employer. The investment in safety paid-off through lower time-lost claim rates and resulted in a record $63 million in PIR rebates for over 5,000 employers.

Overall, Alberta workers had 1,600 fewer time-lost claims in 2004, and average claim duration dropped 18.5 per cent, from 49.2 to 40.1 days. These results, combined with more employers paying into the system, and the added benefit of good investment performance, meant an operating surplus for WCB in 2004. These and other key results are reported in the 2004 WCB Annual Report.

“We had great results in 2004,” Kerr concluded. “Our challenge is to stay focused on safety and avoid becoming complacent. We owe it to Albertans to continue to ensure fewer people are hurt on the job, and to maintain a financially sound compensation system for them.”

The WCB posted a preliminary average premium rate of $1.57 per $100 of insurable earnings for 2006. This is a drop of 14 per cent from the rate of $1.83 projected for 2005. The final premium rate for 2006 will be set in November.

The Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) – Alberta is a not-for-profit mutual insurance corporation funded entirely by employers. The WCB provides cost-effective workplace liability insurance to more than 1.4 million workers and 109,000 employers.