Governor urges lower rates for workers' comp

Gov. Steve Beshear has sent a letter to the state-created Kentucky Employers' Mutual Insurance urging it to use some of its $147 million surplus, as of Sept. 30, to reduce premiums or issue a dividend to the businesses it serves.

KEMI was created by the General Assembly in 1994 and offers workers' compensation insurance.

"While most businesses in our state have struggled over these last few years, it appears that KEMI is faring very well financially," Beshear wrote. "I think it's appropriate and prudent for your organization to consider providing some relief to our struggling Kentucky businesses in these unprecedented fiscal times."

Roger Fries, president and CEO of KEMI, said the organization has been discussing taking just such an action since last fall.

He said the organization's board could take action by this summer or early fall.

Fries said that during the last three years, KEMI has reduced rates, which its 22,500 policyholders have preferred to a one-time dividend.