Connecticut employers will see their workers’ compensation insurance premiums decrease in 2018 for the fourth consecutive year.
The Connecticut Insurance Department Nov. 6 approved an average 14% rate decrease for workers’ compensation insurance.
The rate was based on recommendations from the National Council on Compensation Insurance, which analyzes and recommends rates in more than 40 states.
CBIA counsel Louise DiCocco said Connecticut businesses will welcome the new, lower rates.
“This is great news for Connecticut employers,” she said.
“Workers’ compensation insurance is a significant cost for all Connecticut businesses, regardless of their size.
“With so many other business costs increasing, this represents a substantial cost savings for the state’s employers.”
New Rates Effective January 1
In September, NCCI proposed a 14.1% overall average rate reduction for the voluntary market and a 12.6% overall reduction for the assigned risk market.
The new premium rates are effective for policies renewing on or after Jan. 1, 2018.
Rate reductions vary by industry classification, ranging from 17% for office and clerical to 12.5% for goods and services in the voluntary market, and from 15.6% to 10.9% in assigned risk for the same sectors.
Manufacturers will see a 14.7% reduction in the voluntary market and 13.2% in assigned risk.
Insurance Department commissioner Katherine Wade said the continued decreases in premium rates were “a result of the reduction in the number of workplace injuries and claims filed.”
“Additionally, the average medical cost per claim has moderated in recent years,” she said in a statement.
The Insurance Department approved NCCI’s recommended 10.9% overall rate reduction for both markets last year.
Rates dropped 3.9% in 2015 and 0.6% in 2014 following five consecutive years of increases.
New Laws Take Effect
There are new laws that will be in effect as of January 1, 2018. Attached is a list of all new laws passed this year.
Here are 10 new laws that take effect July 1, with a brief summary of what they mean for residents:
Pretrial Justice Reform
These reforms target adults accused of committing misdemeanors who are unable to afford money bail and languish in jail for weeks or months. This situation often creates deteriorating conditions where those being held are unable to earn a paycheck to support themselves and their families. The new legislation:
- Ends the practice of “cash only” bail, where defendants are prohibited from using a surety to post bail
- Prohibits judges from setting money bail for misdemeanor charges unless they find the defendant is charged with a family violence crime, is likely to fail to appear in court, is likely to obstruct justice or presents a danger to the community;
- Reduces the time for those being held in jail pretrial between a first and second court appearance for misdemeanor charges from 30 to 14 days
A study of the feasibility of establishing a state bail fund for indigent defendants will also be conducted, with a report due on January 1, 2018.
Minors And Opioids
Minors can no longer be issued prescriptions for more than five-day supply (previously seven) of an opioid. When issuing a prescription for an opioid drug to either an adult or minor patient, a prescribing practitioner will discuss risks and other aspects of the drug, including:
- risks of addiction and overdose
- dangers of taking opioid drugs with alcohol
- reasons the prescription is necessary
High School Graduation Requirements
New requirements will be set for high school students to graduate, starting with the classes of 2023. Students will be required to complete nine credits in the humanities (such as civics and the arts) and nine credits in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Students must also complete one credit each in physical education, world languages and health and safety education. Students will also be required to complete a one credit mastery-based diploma assessment.
An out-of-school suspension cannot be imposed on an child residing in facilities operated by:
- the Department of Children and Families
- the Department of Correction
- Court Support Services Division of the Judicial Department
However, this does not prevent a child from being removed from a classroom if it is for therapeutic purposes.
Tax Credits For Agricultural Products
A tax credit will be established for donated agricultural food produced by a taxpayer at 15 percent of the item’s market value (but at no more than $5,000). Items include:
- meat or poultry
Qualifications For Early Childhood Educators
Qualification requirements for those seeking employment as an early childhood educator in Connecticut will see a change. A person is now required to hold a bachelor’s degree and have completed 12 credits or more in early childhood education or development to fill a position.
Digital Citizenship, Internet Safety and Media Literacy Advisory Council
A Digital Citizenship, Internet Safety and Media Literacy Advisory Council will be established within the Department of Education. The council will consist of teachers, librarians and other qualified individuals who will provide the State Board of Education with recommendations on teaching students how to use technology responsibly and ethically.
Gifted and Talented Students
An employee of the Department of Education will be designated to provide information to local and regional boards of education regarding gifted and talented students. The Department of Education will also be working to develop guidelines regarding the provision of services to gifted and talented students in schools.
A plan to provide preschool to all children in Connecticut between the ages of 3 and 4 for the school year commencing July 1, 2022. The plan will include ways to utilize both public and private preschool programs and ways to provide assistance for local and regional boards of education to implement the plan. The Department of Education will submit the plan no later than January 1, 2019.
Municipalities and Watershed Properties
Before any municipality may not sell property valued higher than $250,000 (or whose value has not been assessed by the town) that is part of a watershed or encompasses a well or reservoir, the fair market value of the property must be assessed. The appraisal may take place no later than sixty days prior to the sale.