Workers comp rate to rise 0.7% on average under state Department of Labor & Industries proposal. Still in public comment period at press time.


Bureau of Insurance names Mike Beavers as deputy commissioner of agent regulation, succeeding Brian Gaudiose, who retired in August. Beavers was chief of investigations at the bureau.


Division of Workers Compensation raises gross annual payroll requirement of seasonal workers 0.8%, to $54,359 from $54,783, based on inflation rate. The payroll amount is used to determine if a farm or ranch worker is covered by workers comp. >> Department of Insurance fines Zenefits $550,000 for violation of health insurance broker licensing rules. Company is now in compliance and is conducting transactions in Texas.


Former insurance commissioner Susan Donegan joins National Council on Compensation Insurance as chief regulatory services officer, succeeding Helen Westervelt, who retired.


NCCI says it will file 10.2% decrease in overall loss cost for 2017 workers comp rate, effective Jan. 1.


Kevin Cogan named Bureau of Workers Compensation chief legal counsel, succeeding Sarah Morrison, who was promoted to administrator/CEO of the bureau in April. >> New rules limit reimbursement for opioid prescriptions under workers comp to claims in which best medical practices are followed, including individualized treatment plan, risk assessment and close monitoring of progress and functional improvement of injured worker. New rules also establish peer-review process for prescribers’ failure to comply with best practices. Corrective actions range from warning letters to decertification of physicians from the bureau’s approved provider network. Bureau of Workers Compensation will also provide treatment for opioid addiction arising from use of opioids covered by the bureau.


Adopts new fracking regulations for natural gas industry that allow state’s department of environmental protection to add requirements for fracking near public resources. Also mandates drillers restore water supply damaged by fracking and requires more thorough reporting of spills and contamination.


Office of Superintendent of Insurance says employers should see an average 9% drop in workers comp pure premium in 2017. 


State Workers Compensation Board has proposed drug formulary barring physician-dispensed compounded topical treatments. Would reimburse for medications dispensed at doctors’ offices but only at commercial pharmacy rates, and would require carriers and employers to use pharmacy benefit managers. Proposal was out for stakeholder comment at press time.


Insurance Department proposed limiting p-c insurers to seeking rate increases only once per year. Would allow commissioner to issue exemptions in some “compelling” cases. Would not apply to rate filings that have overall statewide decrease or no change.