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Governor Refuses to Hold Work Comp Insurers Accountable in Illinois

On August 26, 2018, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner amendatorily vetoed Senate Bill 1737 passed by the Illinois legislature, to remove all changes incorporated in that bill to control the increases in rates worker’s compensation insurance companies have foisted upon employers in the State, despite calls from independent outside watchdog groups calling for rate decreases or controls in light of record insurance profits. The General Assembly had included provisions in the bill to control worker’s compensation insurance rate increases, including pre-filing of work comp insurance rates and requiring notices of premium increases to insureds. Governor Rauner’s amendatory veto strikes all of the work comp insurance changes in the bill.

Rauner’s veto message claims that “modulating rates through market dynamics” will help control rates and blames the work comp system for cost increases to employers. This, despite the call from the national insurance exchange council indicating that worker’s compensation insurers should be reducing rates because claims are down and the amounts paid out by insurers on claims are down significantly. Insurers in the State are not passing on the savings to employers. Instead, they are retaining the savings and scoring record profits. Both small employers and employees in this State need to remember where Rauner stands, as always, when they head to the voting booth in November: on the side of big business and with profits over people.