Monday, April 20, 2015

NCCI and the Tennessee Assigned Risk Plan

Tennessee has announced that, effective July 1, 2015, NCCI (the National Council on Compensation Insurance) will take over as plan administrator for the Assigned Risk Plan for Tennessee. The Assigned Risk plan acts as the Workers Compensation insurance market of last resort, making sure that employers can get coverage even if the voluntary insurance market doesn't want to underwrite them.

Up until now, the Tennessee Assigned Risk Plan had been administered by the Tennessee Workers Compensation Insurance Plan, administered by the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance. There were some unique features of this Tennessee Assigned Risk Plan that will likely be lost when NCCI takes over. The biggest change I can see at the moment is that the Tennessee WCIP gave Premium Discount to policyholders, and NCCI Assigned Risk Plan rules do not. So Tennessee employers in the Assigned Risk Plan will see some cost increases just from this change.

A bigger difference is likely to come via manual rates. Historically, there was not a significant manual rate differential between Voluntary Market and the Assigned Risk Plan in Tennessee. This will likely change under NCCI auspices, as in other Assigned Risk Plans administered by NCCI there is a substantial manual rate difference between voluntary market and Assigned Risk policies.

I'm not sure what the background of this story is, why Tennessee has decided to make this change, but I think one thing is predictable: smaller employers in Tennessee will likely see a quantum leap in Workers Comp insurance costs, as the Assigned Risk population typically contains a lot of smaller employers.  Get ready for some serious sticker shock in Tennessee, once those new policies start rolling in.