Workers’ compensation insurance premiums in Louisiana will drop 5.1 percent as of May 1, state insurance commissioner Jim Donelon said Friday.

The decline is the first in the state since 2010, and was based on recommendations by the National Council on Compensation Insurance.

State officials said most workers’ compensation carriers in Louisiana use the NCCI annual loss cost filing to formulate their insurance rates. NCCI is a national organization that analyzes workers’ compensation data and files loss costs or rates in 35 states.

The premium rates effective in May constitute a cumulative drop of 35 percent since 2004, Donelon said. The most recent reduction in workers’ compensation loss costs was 4.3 percent in 2010. Prior loss costs reductions include a 17.4 percent decrease in 2009, an 8.6 percent reduction in 2008 and a 15.8 percent reduction in 2007.

“Louisiana’s workers’ compensation insurance market is competitive and showing signs of improvement, especially in the area of improved worker safety,” Donelon said.

He notes that improved worker safety leads to fewer workplace injuries and less severe injuries across most employment classes, which combined are the cause of these recent rate reductions.

The total Louisiana workers’ compensation market is estimated to be $900 million in total premium.

The top five writers of workers’ compensation insurance in Louisiana in 2012 were Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Corp. with 21.0 percent, Liberty Mutual Group with 12.6 percent, LUBA Casualty Insurance Co. with 8.8 percent, American International Group with 7.4 percent and Zurich Group with 7.2 percent.

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