Safety pays dividends

Employers who insure with SAIF may be eligible for two dividends this year: one based on premium, and another tied to safety performance.

September 14, 2016
Contact: Lauren Casler | | 503.373.8615

When it comes to workers’ compensation, safety pays the best dividends. The reason is simple—costs remain low because accidents and injuries are avoided in the first place.

To underscore this point, the SAIF Board of Directors today declared two dividends for customers: a $120 million primary dividend to be paid to all eligible policyholders based on their premium, and a new, $20 million safety performance dividend to be paid based on each policyholder’s safety results.

“The safety performance dividend creates an important incentive for policyholders to maintain and improve safety,” said President and CEO Kerry Barnett. “It advances our mission to make Oregon the safest and healthiest place to work.”

This is the seventh year in a row SAIF has returned a substantial dividend to its customers, but it’s the first time since 2000 SAIF has rewarded safety performance through a dividend. The safety component will be distributed on a graduated scale based on the policyholder’s losses and premiums, with the greatest amount paid to those with the best safety results as measured by paid losses to standard premium.

Together, the dividends represent a return of approximately 22 to 26 percent of premium that eligible customers paid in 2015. They are possible because of SAIF’s overall financial results, including investment returns and favorable trends in claim costs.

“We’re able to pay dividends because of strong financial results, and the best driver of those results are the injuries that don’t happen as Oregon workplaces become safer and healthier,” Barnett said. “More importantly, safety and health programs have helped thousands of workers avoid the pain and anguish of a workplace injury. That’s the best dividend of all.”

More than 46,000 customers are eligible for SAIF’s primary dividend. Of those, about 95 percent are also eligible to receive all or part of the additional safety performance dividend.

Checks will be mailed in October to those who are eligible for the dividends.

About SAIF
SAIF is Oregon’s not-for-profit, state-chartered workers’ compensation insurance company. Since 1914 it has been caring for injured workers and helping to make workplaces safer. For more, visit the About SAIF page on


Workers’ compensation costs to drop for third-straight year

Salem, OR—In 2016, Oregon workers’ compensation costs will decrease an average 5.3 percent, the Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS) announced today. This marks the third year in a row – and eighth year in the past decade – that Oregon businesses are seeing an average decrease.

The department approved the average decrease in “pure premium,” which is the portion of the premium employers pay insurers to cover anticipated claims costs for job-related injuries and deaths.

Workers’ compensation pays injured workers for lost wages and medical care for job-related injuries. A four-year decline in average medical care costs and stable wage replacement costs are the key factors continuing to drive down the pure premium.

“Keeping workers’ compensation costs low contributes to a healthy business climate for Oregon employers,” said Patrick Allen, DCBS director. “Oregon is unique in achieving these low costs while also maintaining strong benefits and programs for injured workers.”

The decrease is based on a recommendation from the Florida-based National Council on Compensation Insurance Inc. (NCCI), which analyzes industry trends and prepares rate recommendations for the majority of states. Pure premium reflects only a portion of workers’ compensation costs but is the key factor behind annual cost changes. The decrease is an average, so an individual employer may see a larger decrease, no change, or even an increase depending on the employer’s own industry, claims experience, and payroll. Also, pure premium doesn’t take into account the varying expenses and profit of insurance companies.

The rate decrease is effective Jan. 1, 2016, but employers will see the changes when they renew their policies in 2016.

Oregon’s workers’ compensation premium rates have ranked low nationally for many years. Only seven states and the District of Columbia had average rates lower than Oregon in 2014, according to a biennial study conducted by DCBS. In contrast to changes made in some other states, Oregon has seen no meaningful reduction in worker benefits since at least the early 1990s.

In addition to any change in pure premium, other workers’ compensation costs reviewed annually by the department include:

• An assessment on workers’ compensation premiums to fund the state costs of running workers’ compensation and safety and health programs.

• An assessment on hours worked to fund Oregon’s highly successful return-to-work programs that help injured workers return to work quickly and earn close to their pre-injury wages. This assessment also provides increased benefits over time for workers who are permanently and totally disabled, and gives benefits to families of workers who die from workplace injuries or diseases.

This chart summarizes all the changes:…

Annual Oregon average pure premium rate changes and average changes by industry:…

More information about Oregon workers’ compensation costs can be found at…

For more information:
Jake Sunderland, 503-947-7897


Oregon Mutual and Mutual of Enumclaw Graded Best Overall by Oregon Body Shops

Two Northwest Insurers and USAA Get Top Grades from Oregon Body Shops

State Farm may still be the largest auto insurer in Oregon, but it’s no longer the best, according to the latest survey of Oregon collision repair shops.

The survey by the Northwest Automotive Trades Association (NATA) asked shops to grade the Top 20 auto insurers in the state in terms of how well each company’s “policies, attitude and payment practices ensure quality repairs and customer service for Oregon motorists.”

This was the eighth time the association has conducted such a survey since 2004, and State Farm had topped the list each time, finishing last year with a B+ grade. But in a year in which State Farm required its “Select Service” shops in Oregon to use PartsTrader, shops dropped the insurer’s mark by a full grade to C+, putting it in fourth place in the survey, virtually tied with Progressive, California Casualty and other insurers. Multiple shops commented on PartsTrader as the reason for giving the insurer a low (or lower than in past years) grade.

Two smaller Northwest-based auto insurers continue to be among the best at taking care of their customers after an accident, according to shops. Oregon Mutual’s grade slipped a bit from a B+ last year to a B this year, but that was still good enough to share the top spot with Mutual of Enumclaw. Both companies have consistently been among the top four insurers in the survey every year. Shops in this year’s survey commented that the two are “excellent to work with” and “take care of their customers.” In terms of market share in Oregon, Mutual of Enumclaw and Oregon Mutual are ranked 12th and 13th, respectively.

USAA nudged up from a C+ to a B- this year, jumping from sixth place to third, its best showing ever in the survey. “They really care about their customers,” one shop noted.

Farmers Insurance was the only insurer to receive a D+ this year, keeping it at the bottom of the rankings for the third year in a row.

“Just as medical providers see how health insurers take care of patients, collision repair shops interact with auto insurers on a daily basis, so we feel it’s worthwhile to ask how those insurers treat Oregon drivers after an accident,” said Barbara Crest, NATA executive director. “We believe their views will be helpful to insurance companies and consumers.”

About 500 collision repair shops throughout the state received the survey. Crest pointed to a number of items of interest in the findings of the latest survey:

  • In addition to USAA, two other insurers saw their grades improve from the 2013 survey. GEICO (which had a D+ in 2012) and Safeco each nudged up to a C this year, up from a C- last year.
  • Though State Farm’s drop was the most severe, seven other insurers saw their grades decline this year. Travelers was ranked fourth last year with a B-, but fell to a C this year. American Family, Allstate and Esurance (which is owned by Allstate) each dropped from a C to a C-. Shops cited inconsistency in the claims staff and policies at these companies.
  • Progressive has continued to work its way up the list, having had a D+ or worse (and the lowest or second-lowest ranking) in every survey between 2004 and 2009. It was 16th on the list in 2012, eighth last year and fifth this year.
  • Farmers received an “F” from about one-in-four shops, the most failing grades received by any insurer. (By comparison, Allstate and Esurance, the other lowest-graded insurers, each received about half as many Fs as Farmers).
  • About one-in-three shops gave Oregon Mutual and Mutual of Enumclaw a grade of “A.” Last year, State Farm received an “A” from well over half of shops, but this year less than one-in-four shops gave it an “A” grade.
  • In most cases, the grades given to a particular insurer from shops involved in that insurer’s DRP were higher than those given by shops that are not part of that insurer’s program. This was particularly true with California Casualty and USAA; their DRP shops gave them grades of A- or better while non-DRP shops gave each of these insurers a C and C+, respectively. But even Farmers Insurance direct repair shops gave that insurer only a C.

“Collision repairers say the insurers receiving the highest grades – which include both larger and smaller insurance companies – do the best job of taking care of Oregon drivers after an accident,” Crest said. “We hope consumers will take these ratings into account when choosing an auto insurer, and that insurers that received lower grades will work to improve their performance.”

More than 50 shops throughout Oregon responded to the survey.

2014 Insurer Report Card

What grade do Oregon collision repair shops give auto insurers in terms of how their “policies, attitude and payment practices ensure quality repairs and customer service for Oregon motorists?”

Insurer Overall Grade* (followed by   grade in 2013) Non-DRP Shops** DRP Shops**
Oregon Mutual B     (B+) B A-
Mutual of Enumclaw B      (B) B- A-
USAA B-    (C+) C+ A-
State Farm C+    (B+) C B-
Progressive C+    (C+) C+ N/A
California Casualty C+    (C+) C A
Kemper / Unitrin C+    (C+) C B+
The Hartford C+    (C+) C B-
Ameriprise C      (C+) C B-
American Commerce C      (C+) C B-
Country Companies C      (C+) C+ N/A
Liberty Mutual C      (C) C N/A
Nationwide C      (C) C N/A
Safeco / North Pacific C      (C-) C N/A
Travelers C      (B-) C B-
GEICO C         (C-) C- N/A
American Family C-      (C) C- C+
Allstate C-      (C) C- B-
Esurance C-      (C) C- B-
Farmers Insurance D+    (D+) D+ C

n/a = Insufficient responses from shops in the DRP to assign a grade. * Based on responses from all shops. **Based only on responses from shops participating in (or not participating in) that insurer’s DRP


Premier NW Insurance Recognized as Leading Writer of Farm Insurance


June 9, 2014
Contact: Joel Feller
Director, Sales Development
Nationwide Agribusiness
1100 Locust Street
Des Moines IA 50391

Premier NW Insurance Honored at National Sales Conference

DES MOINES, IA – Ryan Justus, Commercial Lines Agent with Premier NW Insurance located in Clackamas, Oregon, was recognized at the Nationwide® Agribusiness Insurance Company national sales conference held in Fajardo, Puerto Rico, as one of the company’s leading writers of farm insurance. Premier NW Insurance is an On Your Side® Farm Certified Agent.

The annual FAST Track Conference was held in recognition of top-producing agents in sales of new farm insurance policies during the 2013 calendar year.

“Farm coverage is a highly specialized line of insurance,” said Joel Feller, Sales Development Director, Nationwide Agribusiness Insurance Company, Des Moines. “Only agents who specialize in this highly complex type of business can provide our farm customers with important advice and counsel. Our FAST Track Conference recognizes agents who have made this commitment.”

While more than 6000 agencies write farm insurance for Nationwide, only 87 qualified for the 2014 FAST Track Conference.

“Congratulations to Premier NW Insurance on reaching this level of recognition,” said Feller, “and for their ongoing dedication to protecting Oregon and Northwest area farmers.”

Nationwide Agribusiness Insurance Company, and its affiliate, Farmland Mutual Insurance Company, are part of Nationwide®, Columbus, OH. Nationwide Agribusiness, rated A+ (Superior) by The A.M. Best Company, is the country’s #1 farm insurer, and a leader in insurance and risk management solutions for commercial agribusinesses in the food and fiber chain. For more information, visit Nationwide Agribusiness offers the AgriChoice® farm policy which provides customized coverages for farm operations of various sizes and types.

 Nationwide, the Nationwide Framemark, and On Your Side are federally registered service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company.


Clackamas Insurance Buys Premier Insurance

In March of 2010, Clackamas Insurance Agency purchased Premier Insurance located at 4741 Liberty Road S in Salem, Oregon.

Clackamas Insurance was founded in 1972 by Karl Moll and today is run by his son, Mike Moll, with locations in Clackamas and Sandy.

Spokeswoman Mitzi Thornberg says in regards to their expansion, “We’ve always had close ties with the agricultural industry, so Marion County seemed a perfect fit for us.”

Premier Insurance has served the Salem community for more than 30 years. Thornberg says “The purchase by Clackamas Insurance brings a much broader level of diversity.”

Workers’ compensation is one area where we feel we offer a huge advantage to our clients.”

Clackamas represents more than a dozen major insurance carriers, including Mutual of Enumclaw, Liberty Northwest and Oregon Mutual.
The firm offers business, farm, home, auto, workman’s comp, and  life and health insurance.

“Our hope is to fill the void created by other independent agencies who have recently left the Salem area,” Thornberg said, including Wells Fargo Insurance Services.

The agency has 11 staffers, including the two previous owners, Kirk Marley and Rex Rider, who will stay on as agents. “We don’t expect to make any new hires at this time,” Thornberg said. “Given the addition of new carriers and products, we will be expecting to increase our customer base and will need to address additional staffing as the need arises.”