News Release WorkSafeNB announces 2020 provisional average assessment rate

October 24, 2019

WorkSafeNB has announced a 9.4% reduction in the 2020 provisional average assessment rate. The rate is set at $2.40 per $100 of payroll, down from $2.65 in 2019.

The 2020 assessment rate is based on the 2018 year-end audited financial statement with the improvement due to a reduced number of injury claims in 2019 and the declining cost of new claims as of Q3 2019. 

“We’re pleased to see a reduction in the number of claims filed, as this is generally indicative of safer workplaces,” said Doug Jones, WorkSafeNB’s president and CEO. “Though we are making progress, we know there’s still a lot of work to be done to improve occupational health and safety.  The legislative changes made in late-2018 and mid-2019 stemming from recommendations from the Auditor General and the Task Force on WorkSafeNB are also having the desired effect in reducing claim costs."

Going forward, WorkSafeNB will continue to focus on operational excellence so that we can achieve a workers’ compensation cost structure that will allow for competitive assessment rates for employers and enhanced benefits for injured workers. For example, at our Annual General Meeting we shared that several other jurisdictions are able to provide a higher maximum compensation amount for injured workers and provide 90% of wage loss benefits compared to New Brunswick's 85%, while also providing lower assessment rates for businesses.  

The 2020 rate announcement also addressed a key recommendation from the July 2018 Task Force on WorkSafeNB report by increasing the funding target from 110% of liabilities to a range of 115% - 125% of liabilities.  By coordinating this change with the flexibility on funding timelines as provided in the December 2018 legislative change, the funding surcharge on the 2020 rate was reduced compared to the prior year.

The components of the rate and the change from the prior year are outlined below.

 

2019

2020

Reduction

Projected cost of new injuries

$1.66

$1.47

11.4%

Administration costs

$0.60

$0.58

3.3%

Surcharge

$0.391

$0.352

10.3%

Average Assessment Rate

$2.65

$2.40

9.4%

1. Surcharge required to fund $305 M funding gap relative to 110% Accident Fund target over eight years.
2. Surcharge required to fund $362 M funding gap relative to 115% Accident Fund minimum target over 10 years.

In 2020, approximately 91% of employers will see a net rate decrease. While the decrease will vary, the large majority (87%) will see a rate change between -1% and -25%.    For example, on average, the residential and industrial construction industry will see their rates decrease by 18%, supermarkets and general stores by 9%, and municipalities by 4%. 

Individual employer rates are calculated based on the risk and performance of the industry in which an employer is grouped as well as an employer’s own accident experience. Therefore, despite the decrease in the average assessment rate, approximately 9% of employers will see a net rate increase in 2020. This is due to an employer’s individual safety records including the frequency and severity of workplace injuries at their worksites. Some examples of the variation are outlined below.

 Industry

Average % Change in Industry Assessment Rate from 2019

Range of % Change in Net Assessment Rate

Building Equipment Contractors

-5%

-45% to +36%

Food Service and Drinking Places

-13%

-44% to +32%

Supermarkets and General stores

-9%

-35% to +54%

Municipalities

-4%

-63% to +62%

Seafood Product Preparation

-14%

-34% to +37%

Residential and Industrial Construction

-18%

-50% to +52%

Logging

-14%

-59% to +44%

Trucking

-13%

-58% to +122%

Nursing Homes

-3%

-31% to +47%

Sawmills

-10%

-34% to +5%

 In most cases presented above, the ranges represent a unique scenario that affects only a few employers in each industry. 

“An employer’s individual assessment rate directly reflects their own safety performance as well as that of their industry,” Jones said. “Safer workplaces, fewer injuries, and successful return-to-work programs, combined with efficient and effective claims management, lead to lower assessment rates. We’ve recently proposed legislative change to help make workplaces safer, in addition to enhancing the accommodation of safe, early return to work.  These are important next steps to ensuring that New Brunswick workplaces are as safe as possible, that injured workers are able to take advantage of best practices in rehabilitation, and that costs continue to improve.”

Individual assessment rate notices will be available online at MyServices next week.  For more information on how rates are calculated, watch our short video or for a more comprehensive explanation read our Assessment Rate Guide.

Media contact: 
Laragh Dooley 
Director, Communications, WorkSafeNB 
506 632-2270, media@ws-ts.nb.ca    

 

 

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