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Monopolistic Washington May Be Free Market Soon Like West Virginia


Monopolistic Washington Free Market Soon

Monopolistic Washington will be a free market soon. Monopolistic states for Worker’s Compensation such as Washington and South Dakota may be a free market system someday.

Building Monopolistic Washington post
Wikimedia Commons – Daniel X. O’Neil

Actually, Washington may take the plunge into the free market system such as Nevada and West Virginia have recently.

If one compares Washington to pre-free market West Virginia, the number of similarities are many. One of the most obvious findings is both states increased their rates when neighboring states had Workers Comp premium rates that were steady or decreasing overall.

Don Brunell of the Columbian wrote that Initiative 1082 would allow private insurance companies to break the state’s monopoly on workers’ compensation insurance.

Graphic Of Market System Monopolistic Washington Icon

While workers’ comp taxes are falling around the country, Washington employers and workers were hit with a $117 million tax hike for 2010 — the highest increase since 2003. By comparison, Oregon, which allows private competition, has not increased its rates in the last 20 years and returned $100 million to its employers this year.

Competition is the key. It can lower costs to taxpayers and create jobs in the private, taxpaying sector. As long as the private and public sectors can compete on a level playing field and everyone complies with the same set of rules and regulations, the private sector should likely be given a chance.

After all, the free market worked for West Virginia.

Mr. Brunell’s astute observations were exactly the same articles that were written in the West Virginia press before Governor Manchin took the bull by the horns and pushed for Workers Comp reform. I hope that the legislators in Washington will heed the articles such as Mr. Brunell’s or there will likely be even more sharp Workers Comp premium hikes in Washington.

Time will tell, but then again, how much time does the state of Washington have left?

Related: Monopolistic Workers Comp States Examined Further

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James J Moore - Workers Comp Expert

Raleigh, NC, United States

About The Author...

James founded a Workers’ Compensation consulting firm, J&L Risk Management Consultants, Inc. in 1996. J&L’s mission is to reduce our clients’ Workers Compensation premiums by using time-tested techniques. J&L’s claims, premium, reserve and Experience Mod reviews have saved employers over $9.8 million in earned premiums over the last three years. J&L has saved numerous companies from bankruptcy proceedings as a result of insurance overpayments.

James has over 27 years of experience in insurance claims, audit, and underwriting, specializing in Workers’ Compensation. He has supervised, and managed the administration of Workers’ Compensation claims, and underwriting in over 45 states. His professional experience includes being the Director of Risk Management for the North Carolina School Boards Association. He created a very successful Workers’ Compensation Injury Rehabilitation Unit for school personnel.

James’s educational background, which centered on computer technology, culminated in earning a Masters of Business Administration (MBA); an Associate in Claims designation (AIC); and an Associate in Risk Management designation (ARM). He is a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) and a licensed financial advisor. The NC Department of Insurance has certified him as an insurance instructor. He also possesses a Bachelors’ Degree in Actuarial Science.

LexisNexis has twice recognized his blog as one of the Top 25 Blogs on Workers’ Compensation. J&L has been listed in AM Best’s Preferred Providers Directory for Insurance Experts – Workers Compensation for over eight years. He recently won the prestigious Baucom Shine Lifetime Achievement Award for his volunteer contributions to the area of risk management and safety. James was recently named as an instructor for the prestigious Insurance Academy.

James is on the Board of Directors and Treasurer of the North Carolina Mid-State Safety Council. He has published two manuals on Workers’ Compensation and three different claims processing manuals. He has also written and has been quoted in numerous articles on reducing Workers’ Compensation costs for public and private employers. James publishes a weekly newsletter with 7,000 readers.

He currently possess press credentials and am invited to various national Workers Compensation conferences as a reporter.

James’s articles or interviews on Workers’ Compensation have appeared in the following publications or websites:

  • Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS)
  • Entrepreneur Magazine
  • Bloomberg Business News
  • WorkCompCentral.com
  • Claims Magazine
  • Risk & Insurance Magazine
  • Insurance Journal
  • Workers Compensation.com
  • LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites
  • Various trade publications


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