Governor Kate Brown recently proposed raiding SAIF, Oregon’s leading workers’ compensation insurance carrier of nearly $500 million to cover unfunded liabilities within our state’s Public Employee Retirement System (PERS).
Small businesses, school districts, and local governments depend on SAIF’s affordable rates and safety programs to ensure a safe and healthy workplace. Raiding SAIF’s reserves could damage what’s been a very successful model for Oregon employers and injured workers. In a recent editorial, The Oregonian newspaper cautioned against the raid stating it, “risks destabilizing an entity that has competently, reliably and efficiently administered workers’ compensation for public and private employers for years.” We agree!
Raiding their reserves increases the likelihood of rate increases and fewer resources for accident prevention and workplace training programs.
While PERS faces a $26 billion deficit, there is no tie or correlation between their unfunded liability and the premiums that Oregon employers pay to SAIF. Should it ever be determined that SAIF does have excess reserves those funds should be returned to policyholders and not grabbed by politicians for unrelated matters.