New York Times Examines California Workers’ Compensation Insurance System
The New York Times on Thursday examined the state of California's workers' compensation insurance system, which some experts say is "unique" and others say is a "harbinger of a nationwide crisis."
Scott Hauge, president of San Francisco Small Business Advocates, said that in 2003 California employers' workers' compensation insurance premiums averaged $6.30 per $100 of payroll. The national average in 2003 was $2.68 per $100, according to the Times.
According to the Times, "[s]eemingly everyone ... agrees that the workers' compensation program in California is a mess," but it remains uncertain whether legislation intended to reduce employers' workers compensation insurance premiums will be effective.
Frank Neuhauser, a workers' compensation expert at the University of California-Berkeley who helped draft the legislation, said that the measures would reduce workers' compensation insurance premiums by 40% by 2006.
Other experts say that estimate is "optimistic," according to the Times.
Hauge said that workers' compensation "itself is a problem all over the country, and California tends to be a trendsetter." He added, "I hope they're looking to California as an example of what not to do" (Morris, New York Times, 9/9).