There are claims that the insurance industry is funding the campaign for Initiative 1082, which would privatize the state’s worker’s comp system. The I-1082 campaign states that the initiative was written by a well-respected constitutional lawyer at the behest of small businesses, but does not address the funding accusation.
My research, primarily from the Public Disclosure Commission, puts the insurance industry in the number two spot, with the number one spot held by the Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW).
Top funders of the campaign for Initiative 1082 (Save our Jobs Committee & Committee for Workers Comp Reform):
- Building Industry Association of Washington: $1,000,000
- Liberty Mutual: $500,000 (insurance company)
- Hartford Financial: $300,000 (insurance company)
- Farmers Services: $250,000 (insurance company)
- Boeing: $100,000
BIAW is the third largest state association affiliated with the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). BIAW provides its members with health insurance and a retrospective ratings program for their L&I (worker’s comp) premiums.
Total contributions: $3,372,197.02
Top funders of the campaign against Initiative 1082 (Stop Insurance Industry Takeover Committee):
- Washington State Association for Justice: $100,000
- Schroeder Goldmark & Bender: $50,000 (law firm)
- Smart Connell & Childers: $37,500 (law firm)
- Mr. Thomas A Thompson: $30,000 (attorney)
Total contributions: $1,442,025.00
Types of Claims
According to the Department of Labor and Industries (pdf), work-related musculoskeletal disorders account for 27 percent of all accepted State Fund workers’ compensation claims and 44 percent of the cost of State Fund workers’ compensation claims (compensable and medical-only). The construction industry is the number one sector filing these claims.
Industry Sector Ranking by Prevention Index, State Fund Claims, 1996-2004
- Construction: 52,921 cases for a cost of $992 million and 4.8 million lost days of work
- Manufacturing: 36,949 cases for a cost of $379 million and 2.1 million lost days of work
- Health care: 36,123 cases for cost of $305 million and 1.8 million lost days of work