In 2011, Illinois lawmakers took a bunch of victory laps for their workers’ comp “reforms.” But four years later, those reforms have produced minimal savings.
Businesses in Illinois did see their workers’ comp premiums drop, but not by much. Illinois had the fourth highest rates in the nation in 2012; now Illinois has the seventh highest. That’s not the way to create a competitive edge for Illinois or to persuade other companies to move here – especially because other Midwestern states have much more favorable workers’ comp rates. Missouri is 21st on the premium list out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia; Indiana is 50th.
The reason for such minimal improvement is that lawmakers didn’t reform the causation standard. In Illinois a worker’s job doesn’t have to be the sole cause of an injury, or even the primary cause. With those loose standards, it’s no wonder that premiums remain so high.
It’s time for lawmakers to raise the standards on causation and put Illinois on a level playing field with our neighbors.