Passage of pending controversial legislation to revamp the District of Columbia's program of compensation for injured workers would cut the program's current cost by 28.2 percent, the D.C. City Council was told yesterday.
That estimate came from the National Council of Compensation insurance, an organization that represents the nation's insurance companies in setting premium rates.
The estimate came of a meeting of the full council membership sitting as a committee, at which members agreed to put the legislation on the calender for action next Tuesday. Two weeks ago, the council sidetracked the measure on procedural grounds.
Hearing the new cost estimate, James B. Montgomery III, acting D.C. superintendent of insurance, testified that passage of the bill probably would keep premiums from rising when the next adjustment is due on Dec. 15.
Montgomery approved a 22.7 percent rise in premiums in the District last Dec. 15, the latest upward move in an escalator that has seen rates rise 600 percent in eight years.
Compensation claims paid to District workers injured on the job, or to survivors of those killed on the job, totaled about 100 million last year.
Since the program is totally financed by premiums paid by employers, the Greater Washington Board of Trade is spearheading a legislative drive to revamp the program. It is supporting a bill largely written by the board and sponsored by Willie J. Hardy (D-Ward 7).
The business effort is strongly opposed by the AFL-CIO Greater Washington Central Labor Council, which views the effort as one that would victimize its members.