Value of Retro

For employers in the know, Retro is one of the best deals going in Washington. The state returns workers’ comp premiums to groups of employers (and sometimes individual employers) who have worked together to improve workplace safety and reduce claim costs. More than $2 billion has been returned through the program so far!

Many employers in Retro are about to find out their latest results, so let’s take a quick look back at why Retro is a great deal, the safety advantages it brings to your company, and the work Approach does with its clients to improve performance year after year.

A great deal for employers

Here’s a bit of history for you – did you know that the workers’ comp system in Washington state began with the Grand Bargain? A law was passed ensuring that injured employees would be given proper medical care and support during their recovery. In exchange, employees would not be able to sue their employers for most workplace injuries.

Today, the grand bargain remains and now employers have a great deal available to them through Retro. Let’s see how it works:

Example of savings through Retro

The average employer in Washington state pays more than $1,200 each year, for each employee, just for workers’ comp insurance. For a small company of just 50 employees, that’s a $63,000 annual expense.

Retro offers rebates to employers who have less accidents and costly claims. Some groups in Retro earn rebates of 40% or more, but let’s consider a rebate of just 15%. That’s nearly $10,000 back for an average employer.

What’s more, employers in Retro have a lower accident rate, which can also reduce the amount their companies pay each quarter for their workers’ comp premiums. Again, some companies save 40% or more, but let’s go with a 10% saving, or $6,300 for an average employer.

In this example, we see that a small employer can lower their costs by more than $16,000 through Retro participation.

This is why thousands of Washington’s top employers participate in Retro. Working together for better business practices, they can each lower their overall cost of workers’ comp, sometimes by 25% or even more.

Thumbnail of Approach Experience Modification Rate infographic
Learn more about lowering your workers’ comp rates with L&I

Better safety for employees

Every employee, safe at home, every day. That is always the goal and Retro helps make it happen. It takes dedication, but many employers find that any extra time or equipment needed to implement safety practices are more than offset by the savings they earn through Retro participation.

Approach clients receive complimentary safety services

In his recent presentation for the Approach Brain Trust, Julio Salas, safety manager at Approach, listed the attributes that show an employer is committed to safety:

Attributes of employers with good faith approach to safety

All required safety and health programs are written and implemented throughout the business


Reported hazards are managed promptly and effectively


Safety practices are reviewed by outside experts, such as through a safety visit from Approach


Annual training is provided to employees


Self-inspections or other efforts are used to verify that the safety program is working


Employees are able to show that they understand the safety and health program


By putting these practices into place at your business, you’re reducing the chance of workplace accidents or injuries. This keeps your employees safe and increases the chance of receiving a substantial refund through the Retro program.

“Our coordinator at Approach is very knowledgeable and has our back. It’s so helpful to have someone who knows what employers go through.”

Improving performance with Approach

At Approach, we represent more than 1,000 Washington employers in a variety of industries:

  • Construction
  • Transportation
  • Manufacturing
  • Retail and warehousing
  • Food processing and distillation

Every client has a dedicated Retro coordinator – your personal claims expert available to help before, during, and after a claim. You also have access to our safety team, including a free, annual safety visit.

Plus, because we work with so many employers, Approach can offer specialized services not available to most Retro participants:

Specialized workers’ comp services

  • Nurse case management
  • Vocational services
  • Ergonomic reviews
  • Stay-at-Work refund coordination
  • HR Help Desk

Learn more about Approach services

What do these services add up to? More than $600 million in refunds since 1992, more than 25% of all refunds issued through the Retro program!

Our services also come with something you can’t put a price on – knowing that someone is fighting for your company. As one client said, “Our coordinator at Approach is very knowledgeable and has our back. It’s so helpful to have someone who knows what employers go through.”

Lowering the cost of workers’ comp

By partnering with other employers, committing to safety, and working with Approach, your company is reducing risk and maximizing savings.

Already with Approach? Sign up for an online event – our Brain Trusts and classes are great ways to get the most out of your Retro participation: https://www.pitb.com/events/

Not an Approach client yet? Fill out our interest form to see what your company could be saving with dedicated support from our claims professionals: https://www.pitb.com/services/retrospective-rating-programs/