BOSTON (Legal Newsline) - Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley has announced her opposition to a more than 4 percent raise to Workers' Compensation premiums requested by the insurance industry.

The rate increase, if accepted by the Commissioner of Insurance, would cost small businesses and other employers more than $40 million in extra premiums, she claims.

"Businesses, particularly small businesses, are already struggling in these difficult economic times and cannot afford to overpay for insurance coverage," Coakley said.

"We have serious concerns about the insurers' proposed rate hike and the additional strain that it would put on employers. Businesses are mandated under state law to purchase workers' compensation insurance, and they deserve fair rates to ensure that they can comply without having to layoff additional workers.

"Our office will intervene in the rate proceeding to protect the public interest and work to block these unnecessary increases."

The Workers' Compensation Rating and Inspection Bureau is required to seek the Commissioner of Insurance's approval to raise rates. The statutory right to oppose any such increases and intervene in an administrative hearing process to ensure a rigorous review of the rates is held by the attorney general. Coakley intends to intervene during the administrative rate process to oppose this proposal.

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