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Manitoba WCB's new rate model improves balance, fairness

| www.cos-mag.com

The Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba (WCB) is introducing changes to its current rate model that move toward more collective liability.

Small and medium employers will be protected from the potential of a single claim drastically driving up their premiums. Instead, rate setting for small and medium employers will place more weight on the collective experience of their industry. For larger employers, the rate model will continue to place more weight on their individual claims experience.

As well, the WCB is compressing the risk categories so that there's not as much range between the maximum and minimum rates that employers can pay. The size of the range will also be reflective of the employer's size.

"We recognize that there are differences among small, medium and large employers, and we want to be responsive to their unique circumstances," said Winston Maharaj, WCB president and CEO.

Following consultations that were conducted with stakeholders last year, improvements were recommended and compiled into a report that is available on the WCB website.

"We gathered feedback from both employers and labour and are using it to help enhance our rate system," said Maharaj. "Over the next five years, we'll be phasing in changes to create a system that balances individual employers' claims experience with collective liability."

Reduced volatility is also a feature of the new rate system. The WCB will be reducing the annual change limit that regulates how much rates are allowed to go up or down in one year.

"Overall, the changes we're making will lead to a system that is less aggressive and more in line with the rest of Canada," said Maharaj.

Employers can expect changes to the current model to take effect in 2016 and 2017 to bring it closer to the new model.

The WCB said its strong financial position supports a gradual transition to the new rate model, which will be introduced in 2018.

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