800.285.8525 Contact us

Workers' compensation insurance costs

The information below is general—virtually every policy is different. For questions or details about your specific policy, please contact your agent or call us at 800.285.8525—we're happy to help.

Your insurance premium is based on a number of factors. This section identifies many of those factors and explains how they work.

General formula

Calculating workers' comp premium can be complex; what you pay depends on several factors. But in general, the formula works like this:

  1. Multiply your payroll by your class rate and divide by 100 
  2. Multiply that number by your experience rating modifier, if applicable 
  3. Multiply that number by any additional factors, if applicable 
  4. Subtract premium discount, if applicable

Refer to your policy information page for rating factors specific to calculating your premium.

How rates are calculated

The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) is a national rate-making organization licensed by the state of Oregon. All workers' comp insurance carriers in Oregon must belong to the NCCI. NCCI collects detailed payroll and claim-loss statistics from carriers and uses this information to develop Oregon's pure premium rates.

NCCI develops the pure premium rates to ensure that funds are available to pay injured workers' claim benefits. The pure premium excludes individual carrier administrative expenses and differ by industry classification. These rates are filed annually by NCCI for approval by the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS). NCCI also files rates for the Assigned Risk Plan program (ARP).

Each insurance carrier files its own rates with the DCBS. The carrier's rates consist of the NCCI's pure rates plus amounts sufficient to cover expenses and profits. Since SAIF is a not-for-profit, state-chartered company, we are generally able to keep rates lower than private carriers.

Rates are adjusted to reflect an experience rating modification (ER mod) and any other factors that may apply to a policy. The premium modification factors that apply to your policy are shown on your policy information page.

Experience rating computation and assignment

Each year the NCCI computes the rating for each eligible employer based upon the employer's individual payroll and loss experience. Your actual losses are measured against expected losses for the amount of payroll in each class reported for a given period of time. The resulting experience rating modification factor (either an increase or decrease in the premium to be paid) is effective on the rating effective date of your insurance policy.

This means that if you reduce your frequency and/or number of claims, the costs of workplace accidents, and accurately report payroll in the proper class, you may be rewarded by a reduction in your premium.

Experience rating eligibility 

You may qualify for an experience rating if:

  • The payrolls or exposures developed in the last year or last two years of the experience period produced a premium at base rates of at least $6,500, or 
  • The payrolls or exposures developed during an experience period of more than two years produced an average annual premium at base rates of at least $3,250 per year.

Generally, each experience rating is based on the payroll and loss experience of the first three of the last four years. A new employer may qualify at the beginning of the third policy year if premium was at least $6,500 in the first year of coverage.

  • If you are not eligible for experience rating, you may qualify for a premium adjustment under the Claim Rating Plan. Qualified employers without claims in a three-year base period will receive a 10 percent discount. If you are in the Assigned Risk Plan (ARP), you may be eligible for the Merit Rating Plan. Learn more about ARP.

Premium discount

You will be given information about premium discounts when coverage is established. Premium discount applies to premiums due after experience rating, but not to DCBS workers' comp assessments.

DCBS assessment

The Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS) charges an assessment on all earned workers' compensation premium collected by insurance carriers. The assessment is subject to change by DCBS at any time, but generally changes on January 1 of each year. Your estimated premium calculation is based on the assessment in effect at the beginning of your policy period, and any midterm change to the rate is incorporated in the DCBS assessment rate at reconciliation.

  • DCBS assessment as of 1.1.2023: 9.8%
  • DCBS assessment as of 1.1.2024: 9.8% 

Terrorism and catastrophe premium

Terrorism and catastrophe premium are assessed on your policy in addition to your minimum premium, subject to the DCBS assessment, and are not eligible for other premium modifications or discounts. Learn more about the terrorism premium and catastrophe premium

Paying your premium

Paying online

You can pay online with a credit or debit card, or from a bank account via electronic funds transfer using our Business Online system.

Paying by check

Mail your cash or check payment to:
400 High Street SE
Salem, OR 97312


If we receive an amount in excess of your premium charges, you may be eligible for a refund.

  • SAIF will refund any policy credit and/or deposit credit when coverage is canceled and all payroll reports are received and/or premium audits are completed and processed.
  • Credit card payments: If a refund is requested, SAIF may be required to credit the credit card account used to make the payment.
  • Finance premium (Assigned Risk Program only): If the credit is the result of a financed premium agreement, the refund will be issued to the premium finance company.

All refund decisions are at the sole discretion of SAIF Corporation.

Related pages