June 13, 2006 16:16 ET

Workers' Compensation Reforms Making Major Impact

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- June 13, 2006 -- When Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger ran for office in 2003, one of his main campaign themes was to dramatically change the workers' compensation program and make California a business-friendly state again. Less than three years later, the governor and businesses across the Golden State have reason to celebrate.

Since legislation reforms were pushed through the California legislature in 2004, workers' compensation costs have decreased for 68% of employers, according to a survey released in April by the Workers' Compensation Action Network.

The sweeping changes to the high workers' compensation insurance rates have also been applauded by firms like CPE HR -- one of the oldest and most experienced human resource consulting firms in California -- which echoed the sentiments expressed by the governor that prior to the reforms, "our economy was going downhill because of it."

"The workers' compensation reform bill is showing very positive effects," said Walt Robinson, CPE HR's Director of Risk Management. "Employers are benefiting in two significant ways. First, the cost of workers' compensation claims has been reduced. Second, the California workers' compensation insurance market has become much more competitive, resulting in lower premium rates."

Early in the 20th century, California was one of the first states to adopt the workers' compensation system. Since that time, workers' compensation has undergone numerous changes, including the 2004 reform that helped control fraud and insurance costs for California employers.

"This is a huge success," Schwarzenegger said at an April news conference. "We've created a positive business environment in California."

Using the most effective methods in risk management, CPE HR has helped clients work within that environment to keep costs down and profits up. CPE HR's risk management team designs a customized plan for clients that includes assistance with several workers' compensation issues, return to work programs and advanced safety training. Those are just a few of the services provided by CPE HR, which has more than 20 years of experience and 13,000 worksite employees in 24 states.

"CPE HR helps our clients by applying our experience and expertise in the claims management process to assure that claims are handled within the guidelines of the workers' compensation reform package, and that the clients receive the benefit of the cost savings," said Robinson. "We also help our clients obtain workers' compensation insurance coverage at competitive rates in the changing markets."

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