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JLC • NEW ENGLAND UPDATE • FEBRUARY 1996 JLC • NEW ENGLAND UPDATE • OCTOBER 1996 Comp Reform in New England: It Works Legislation and Safety Efforts Reduce Premiums Five years ago, almost everyone called the workers compensation insurance system, which pays for replacement income and medical care for workers injured or disabled on the job, a disaster. Injury rates and days missed were rising; medical costs were spiraling upward at double-digit annual rates; and insurance companies were fleeing the market or raising premiums radically. In construction, premiums rose an average of 12% annually and sometimes jumped as much as 40% in a year. Comp insurance was costing many contractors as much as 25% of their payroll costs, and were rising yearly (see "Straight Talk About