SPRINGFIELD – Surely you've heard the excuse that insurance companies are raking in the cash and why Illinois workers' compensation costs are so high in Illinois. That mantra is just a diversion that trial lawyers use to deflect how they benefit from the system in place, says Illinois Policy Institute's Michael Lucci.
Lucci writes in response to a recent letter in the Belleville News Democrat :
Christopher Hurley’s letter to the editor, “Weak oversight of workers’ comp insurers should be Illinois’ focus,” advances the false narrative that insurance company profiteering is the cause of expensive workers’ compensation insurance in Illinois. Hurley, a Chicago-based personal injury lawyer, is president of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association. His claim about profiteering is demonstrably false, and is an attempt to draw attention away from the real cost drivers that make Illinois home to the most expensive workers’ compensation system in the region. Illinois’ system drives manufacturers and workers out of the state while enriching personal injury attorneys like Hurley.
Illinois Department of Insurance data completely disprove Hurley’s central claim. Illinois insurers have had a profit rate below the national average in every single year from 2011-2015, with an average annual profit rate of 2.7 percent in Illinois, compared with a national average of 7.1 percent.
Illinois has more insurers writing workers’ compensation policies than any other state. This is a sign that Illinois’ market is competitive, and that competition pays off for customers. Low, competitive profit rates for insurers mean their customers are getting a good deal. Yet somehow Hurley sees insurance profiteering as the problem in Illinois, even though Illinois profit rates are below average. There is no profiteering happening, and Hurley shouldn’t claim that there is.
So why is Illinois workers' comp so high and why are manufacturers and business owners insisting Illinois system needs to be reformed so badly?
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