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Washington Workers' Comp Insurance Reform, Initiative 1082 (2010)

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Initiative 1082
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Type:State statute
Referred by:Trent Matson
Topic:Labor and unions
Status:Defeated Defeatedd
The Washington Workers' Comp Insurance Reform Initiative, also known as Initiative 1082, was on the November 2, 2010 statewide ballot in the State of Washington as an Initiative to the People where it was defeated.

According to the filed petition, the proposal aimed to privatize industrial insurance.[1] Specifically the initiative would have created a Joint Legislative Task Force on Private Competition for Industrial Insurance. The task force would have been charged with developing proposed legislation and making recommendations by December 2011. The Washington Legislature would have been required to adopt the legislation by March 1, 2012.[2]

According to the Washington Secretary of State's office, the public workers’ comp insurance program at the time covered approximately 2.5 million workers. Coverage included work-related injuries, lost-time compensation, medical care and other services.[3]

The measure was filed by Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW).

On June 30, two days prior to the state's petition drive deadline, supporters submitted an estimated 340,000 signatures for Initiative 1082.[4][5][6] Following a 3 percent random signature check the secretary of state certified the measure on July 13, 2010.[7]

Election results

See also: 2010 ballot measure election results
Washington Initiative 1082 (Workers' Comp Insurance)
Defeatedd No1,431,51659.09%
Yes 991,153 40.91%

Official results via Washington Secretary of State

Text of measure


The ballot title read:[8]

Statement of Subject: Initiative Measure No. 1082 concerns industrial insurance.
Concise Description: This measure would authorize employers to purchase private industrial insurance beginning July 1, 2012; direct the legislature to enact conforming legislation by March 1, 2012; and eliminate the worker-paid share of medical-benefit premiums.
Should this measure be enacted into law? Yes [ ] No [ ]


According to the description prepared by the Washington Secretary of State:

This measure would permit certification of private insurers as industrial insurance insurers, and authorize employers to purchase state-mandated industrial insurance coverage through an “industrial insurance insurer” beginning July 1, 2012. It would establish a joint legislative task force to propose legislation conforming current statutes to this measure’s provisions, and would direct the legislature to enact such supplemental conforming legislation as necessary by March 1, 2012. It would also eliminate the worker-paid share of medical-benefit premiums.


The initiative was sponsored by Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW). According to the association they planned to use paid signature gatherers to collect the required signatures.[9] The proposed initiative was endorsed by the National Federation of Independent Business.[2]

In late August 2010 the Washington State Republican Party announced their endorsement for I-1082. "We urge the approval of Initiative 1082, which will help small businesses by eliminating the state government monopoly on worker's compensation insurance and open the market to private competition," they said.[10]


Reports in August 2010 revealed that supporters collected an estimated $1 million in campaign contributions.[11] According to late August reports, the Building Industry Association of Washington spent $500,000 to qualify the measure for the ballot. Liberty Mutual was reported to have contributed $300,000 to the campaign.[10]

Below is a chart that outlines major cash contributions to the campaign in support of I-1082: [12].

Contributor Amount
Building Industry Association of Washington $1,000,000
Liberty Mutual (NH) $700,000
Big I $324,316.02
The Hartford (CT) $300,000
Farmers Insurance Services (CA) $250,000


The campaign committee in opposition to I-1082 was called "No-on-1082". Opponents argued that the measure would primarily benefit employers and insurance companies. "Small business owners understand that I-1082 is loaded with fine print that benefits the insurance industry: Forcing our state's employers to pay the entire workers' compensation premiums of their employees will cost hundreds of millions of dollars: That's in the initiative," said Alex Fryer, spokesman for the No-on-1082 campaign.[10]

The Washington State Labor Council was opposed to the proposed initiative. Council president Rick Bender said, "We are strongly opposed to it because it is not in the interest of workers, nor do we think it’s in the interest of small businesses as well – as they will soon find out from other states."[9]

Other opponents, included the Washington Federation of State Employees,[13] State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler and State Auditor Brian Sonntag.[14]


According to September 2010 reports the No on I-1082 campaign raised an estimated $910,000.[13]

Below is a chart that outlines major cash contributions to the campaign in opposition of I-1082: [15].

Contributor Amount
Stop Insurance Industry Takeovers $1,725,000
Aerospace Machinists Industrial Lodge #751 $350,300
Washington State Labor Council (AFL-CIO) $175,000
Washington State Building and Construction Trades Council $125,000
Don't Invest in More Excuses (DIME) PAC $100,000

Media editorial positions

See also: Endorsements of Washington ballot measures, 2010


  • The Yakima Herald-Republic supported I-1082. "Initiative 1082 sets up a classic election-year power struggle between industry and labor interests. Voters on Nov. 2 will decide whether to end the state's monopoly on workers' compensation insurance, also known as industrial insurance, allowing private insurers to compete for that business. That's the way it's done in 46 states, and Washington should be the 47th. Vote yes on Initiative 1082," said the editorial board.[16]
  • The Kitsap Sun supported the measure. "In states where similar measures have been enacted, employers’ insurance costs have dropped. This also could encourage safer workplaces with fewer claims, which would mean lower insurance rates for businesses. Vote “yes” on I-1082," said the board.[17]
  • The Bellevue Reporter was in support. "I-1082 will end the state's monopoly on workers insurance, bringing a fairer, more financially stable system. Vote 'Yes' on I-1082," said the board.[18]


  • The Seattle Post-Intelligencer was opposed to I-1082. In an editorial, the board said, "The vast majority of us know little of what it is to lose one's ability to work. But we should understand that to put folks' fate in the hands of insurance companies, unregulated and out to maximize profits, is short-sighted and callous. The current system doles out benefits, often at a minimal level, but benefits that a person can count on. And most people making smaller claims want to get the matter settled, and get back to work."[19]
  • The Olympian was opposed to I-1082. In an editorial, the board said, "As written, I-1082 would virtually eliminate oversight of workers’ compensation claims, leaving injured workers in the lurch. I-1082 is also a terrible hit on small business owners — increasing their tax burden at a time when many are barely hanging on."[20]
  • The Columbian was opposed to I-1082. In an editorial, the board said, "I-1082, which would dangerously weaken state oversight over the insurance industry, seeks to repair a system that is not broken. Our state’s workers comp system is run more efficiently than private systems in other states."[21]
  • The Pacific Northwest Inlander was opposed to I-1082. In an editorial, the board said, "But this is not reform — this is just a grab for market share by big insurance companies."[22]
  • The Stranger was opposed to the proposed initiative. The editorial board wrote, "...while no one thinks the state workers' comp program is doing just fine—it needs reform—this initiative would privatize workers' comp in a way that hurts workers...Vote no."[23]
  • The Skagit Valley Herald was opposed to I-1082. In an editorial, the board said, "Whatever the problems with the state’s worker compensation system, we are wary of a fix fashioned by the state’s most injury-prone industry and insurance companies...The system isn’t perfect. But its flaws should be worked out through the legislative process with both business and labor at the table."[24]
  • Publicola opposed I-1082. "We think choice is good, and we’re skeptical of the efficiency of the state’s monopoly on workers’ compensation, but giving insurance companies keys to the overhaul of our system—and allowing them to operate free of regulations—is a step in the wrong direction," said the editorial board.[25]

Reports and analysis

In 2010 the Washington Office of Financial Management released fiscal impact statements for initiatives scheduled to appear on the 2010 ballot, including Initiative 1082. Below is an excerpt:

Industrial insurance premium paid into state Trust Funds is estimated to decrease $1.1 billion–$1.43 billion by calendar year 2014 as employers shift to private insurers. State claim costs correspondingly decrease as claims shift from the state to private insurers. State revenue is estimated to increase $61 million–$75 million over five fiscal years. Costs are estimated to increase up to $179 million for the state and $47.25 million for local governments over five fiscal years. Assuming no legislative action to conform statutes to the initiative, industrial insurance premium paid into state Trust Funds and associated costs may increase.
Read the full report here


See also: Polls, 2010 ballot measures
  • A September 9-12, 2010 poll of 500 likely voters by Elway Poll revealed that 31% supported the proposed measure, while 31% were opposed and 38% were undecided.[26][27][28]
  • An October 7-10, 2010 poll of 400 likely voters by Elway showed that 31% supported the proposed measure, while 40% opposed it and 29% were undecided.[29]

     Position is ahead and at or over 50%     Position is ahead or tied, but under 50%

Date of Poll Pollster In favor Opposed Undecided Number polled
Sept. 9-12, 2010 The Elway Poll 31% 31% 38% 500
Oct. 7-10, 2010 The Elway Poll 31% 40% 29% 400

Path to the ballot

I-1082 petitions. Photo credit: Washington Secretary of State
See also: Washington signature requirements and 2010 ballot measure petition signature costs

In order to qualify for the November ballot, supporters were required to submit a minimum of 241,153 valid signatures by July 2, 2010.[30][31]

According to the Washington Secretary of State supporters scheduled an appointment with the state elections office for 11:30 a.m. on July 2 to deliver petitions.[32][33][34] However, on June 30, two days prior to the state's petition drive deadline, supporters submitted an estimated 340,000 signatures for Initiative 1082.[4][5]

Signature validity count

I-1082 qualified for the 3 percent random signature check. Supporters submitted 345,541 signatures. According to the Washington Secretary of State's office, of the 10,571 signatures that were reviewed, a total of 9,017 were accepted. The error rate was 18.9 percent, which according to state officials, was a little higher than average. Signatures were invalidated for several reasons: "no registration could be found for the signer, the signature didn’t match the one on file or there was no usable image on file for the signer, or because they were duplicates."[35]

See also

Suggest a link


External links

Campaign links

Additional reading


  1. State of Washington,"Affidavit of proposed initiative," January 20, 2010
  2. 2.0 2.1 Risk & Insurance,"Washington state: Builders seek WC reform through ballot initiative," May 17, 2010
  3. State of Washington: From Our Corner,"Homebuilders mount workers’ comp initiative," January 20, 2010
  4. 4.0 4.1 The Bellingham Herald,"Builders turn in I-1082 signatures," June 30, 2010
  5. 5.0 5.1 Associated Press,"Workers' comp initiative steps closer to ballot," June 30, 2010
  6. Washington's: From Our Corner,"`Direct democracy’ — A six-pack for 2010," July 2, 2010
  7. The Bellingham Herald,"Secretary Reed certifies I-1082 for ballot," July 13, 2010
  8. Washington Secretary of State,"Initiative 1082 brief description," retrieved May 19, 2010
  9. 9.0 9.1 The News Tribune,"BIAW to push initiative on workers' comp," April 16, 2010
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Seattle Post-Intelligencer,"Republicans back BIAW initiative," August 30, 2010
  11. Associated Press,"Wash. initiative campaigns draw big campaign cash," August 17, 2010
  12. Washington PDC "Save WA Jobs-Campaign Detail", Retrieved October 19, 2010
  13. 13.0 13.1 Puget Sound Business Journal,"Workers’ comp Initiative 1082 sparks heated fight," September 24, 2010
  14. ,"‘No’ on Initiative 1082," October 13, 2010
  15. Washington PDC "Save No on 1082 Committee-Campaign Detail", Retrieved October 19, 2010
  16. The Yakima Herald-Republic,"End workers' comp monopoly," October 17, 2010
  17. Kitsap Sun,"OUR VIEW | Sorting Out the Ballot Issues," October 21, 2010
  18. Bellevue Reporter,"Vote 'Yes' on I-1053, to control taxes | editorial," October 21, 2010
  19. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer," I-1082 - Boon to BIAW, bad for workers," September 10, 2010
  20. The Olympian,"Initiative would eliminate valuable oversight of workers’ comp," September 27, 2010
  21. The Columbian,"‘No’ on Initiative 1082: Changing state’s workers comp system would hurt employers, reduce benefits," October 13, 2010
  22. Spokane Inlander,"Decision time," October 6, 2010
  23. The Stranger,"VOTE, BABY, VOTE!," October 13, 2010
  24. Skagit Valley Herald,"Initiatives 1098, 1082," October 19, 2010
  25. Publicola,"PubliCola Picks “No” on Initiative 1082," October 16, 2010
  26. FireDogLake,"WA Ballot Measures Polling Under 50% – So Much for That Anti-Tax, Less Government Wave," September 16, 2010
  27. Seattle Post-Intelligencer,"Skeptical public? All initiatives under 50 percent in poll," September 15, 2010
  28. The Spokesman Review,"Initiative support tepid in poll," September 20, 2010
  29. Publicola,"Poll: Candy Tax Repeal Gains Ground, Four Initiatives Losing" October 11, 2010
  30. The Bellingham Herald,"Builders schedule year's first initiative turn-in," June 21, 2010
  31. Herald Net,"BIAW plans delivery of its initiative petitions," June 21, 2010
  32. Washington Secretary of State's Blog: From Our Corner,"It’s raining initiatives...," June 24, 2010
  33. The News Tribune,"Could be 6 citizen initiatives on ballot in November," June 27, 2010
  34. The Daily Herald,"Up to 7 initiatives could make ballot in Washington," June 28, 2010
  35. Washington Secretary of State's: From Our Corner,"`3-way’ workers comp initiative scores fall ballot spot," July 13, 2010