State Task Force To Control Workers’ Compensation Rates Convened
Lt. Governor Denn to Head Effort, First Meeting Scheduled for February 8
DOVER – Governor Jack Markell announced this week that he has asked Lieutenant Governor Matt Denn to head the state’s new Workers’ Compensation Task Force created by HJR3, established by the General Assembly and Governor to address the 26% increase in average workers compensation rates over the last two years.
The Governor and General Assembly have also appointed a number of other task force members. In all, 20 persons will serve on the task force.
Lieutenant Governor Denn, who worked with the General Assembly in 2006 and 2007 to enact workers compensation reforms that cut rates by over 40%, expressed confidence that the task force would be able to make recommendations that would stem the recent increase in rates. “We know this problem can be addressed because we did it six years ago,” Denn said. “The reforms we enacted worked. We need to find out what changed during the last two years and fix it.”
Denn said that the task force would hold its first meeting at 9:00 a.m. on February 8, 2013, and that meetings would continue through early May. All of the meetings will be open to the public, provide an opportunity for public comment, and will be audio-recorded and posted on the Lieutenant Governor’s website. Additionally, all documents reviewed by the task force will be posted on the Lieutenant Governor’s website.
“As the state’s Insurance Commissioner, Lt. Governor Denn played an integral role in drafting the 2007 update of Delaware’s workers’ compensation statute,” said Rich Heffron, Interim President and Sr. Vice President Government Affairs for the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce. “His experience and expertise will serve him well as the Chair of the Workers Compensation Task Force. I look forward to working with him and the other members of the task force.”
Lt. Governor Denn is looking forward to working with all members of the task force including the 4 representatives of the General Assembly appointed to serve.
“We all know that workers’ compensation rates play an important part in Delaware’s ability to keep jobs and compete for new ones,” said Senate President Pro Tem Patricia Blevins (D-Elsmere). “It’s important to Delaware’s competitive position to take a hard look at how these rates are set and see what we can do lower them.”
“I am happy to serve as a member of the Workers’ Compensation Task Force. Being an independent businessman for more than 40 years, I know that workers’ compensation is one of our most costly expenses,” said Sen. Gerald Hocker (R-Ocean View). “I would like to see lower rates and it is my hope we can find a solution that is business-friendly.”
Rep. Bryon Short, who sponsored the resolution creating the task force, said he hopes to build upon a similar workers’ compensation task force that succeeded in updating state law in 2007. “The 2007 workers’ compensation review and changes have resulted in benefits for Delaware’s small business community while ensuring that employees continue to receive the coverage they need to recover from workplace injuries,” said Rep. Short (D-Highland Woods). “As co-chair of the House Small Business Caucus and a small business owner, I have been following the significant workers’ compensation rate increases – nearly 26 percent – over the last two years. I believe this is a critical time to reconstitute the task force to assess what was done right and where we can further improve Delaware’s worker’s compensation system.”
State Representative Ruth Briggs King (R-Georgetown) stated, “I am looking forward to serving on this committee and addressing some of the significant concerns facing small business owners in Delaware as another increase in workers’ compensation premiums takes effect. Over the last several years, our small business men and women in this state have continually been hit hard by a sluggish economy and the latest rate increase only compounds the problem. It is my hope that this task force will offer real solutions when it comes to controlling workers’ comp costs for the many struggling small business owners in Delaware.”
Friday, February 8, 2013
9:00am – 10:00am
Carvel State Office Building
820 N. French St.
Governor’s Conference Room, 12th Floor
Wilmington, DE 19801