German Statutory accident insurance premiums fall once again

In 2005, the average statutory accident insurance premium in Germany once again
reached the historic low of 1.31%. This can be seen from the financial results
of the BGs for 2005, which were released earlier this month in Berlin. The
number of reportable occupational accidents in 2005 also fell last year to a
record low, of 801,834. This figure equates to 40,000 fewer accidents than in
2004, and almost 260,000 fewer than in 2001.

"Both the stability in the premiums and the reduced numbers of accidents are
substantially the result of decades of prevention work," says Dr. Joachim
Breuer, General Manager of the Federation of Institutions for Statutory
Accident Insurance and Prevention (HVBG). "Should the government wish to reform
such a successful system, it must take care not to destroy the foundation of
this success." Year by year, the BGs have ensured stability and efficient,
continued development of the system by their own efforts. "This fact must
finally be acknowledged," says Breuer.

Compared to 2004, employers had to pay around 164.6 million euro less in 2005
to the BGs, the institutions for statutory occupational accident insurance and
prevention, in order to insure their employees against occupational and
commuting accidents and against occupational disease. The total volume of
contributions, the contribution target, thus fell to 8.77 billion euro.

The BGs' premiums are levied retrospectively for the previous year according to
the adjustable contribution procedure. This procedure spreads the contribution
target over the member companies of the BGs according to the contribution
assessment elements (risk category of the company, total employee remuneration
in the reporting year, surcharges or reductions in premiums where applicable).
The employees are not involved in financing the accident insurance system.

Risk of occupational accident continues to fall
The absolute number of occupational accidents was not the only statistic to
fall in the previous year. The corresponding occupational accident rate also
fell, by 2.2% to around 27 accidents per 1,000 equivalent full employees. The
accident risk fell particularly strongly in the following sectors of the
economy: mining (-10.7%), metals (-7.4%) and precision mechanics/electronics

In the figures as a whole, the sharpest percentage drop in 2005 concerned fatal
occupational accidents, which fell by 8.7% to 589 (2004: 645). The number of
new occupational accident pensions fell to 17,414 (-4.0%).

Conversely, the number of commuting accidents remained steady: in 2005, 151,641
accidents occurred during journeys between home and workplace, a figure
marginally higher than that for 2004 (151,330). The risk of a commuting
accident fell slightly, to 4.5 accidents per 1,000 insured individuals. Fatal
commuting accidents numbered 495, thereby almost equalling the previous year's
value. The number of new pensions resulting from commuting accidents fell by
2.8%, to 6,099.

Occupational diseases: the number of suspected cases continues to fall
The downward trend in occupational diseases continued in 2005, to a figure of
53,576, equating to a drop of 4.1% over the previous year. An occupational
disease was formally recognized in 14,920 cases (-5.8%). In 5,206 cases, this
formal recognition was associated with the beginning of corresponding pension
payments. This figure corresponds to an increase of 9.6%. In a further 8,740
cases, the origin of the disease was found to be occupational in nature, but
the specific insurance provisions governing formal recognition of an
occupational disease were not satisfied. In these cases, too, comprehensive
services and measures for individual prevention and medical rehabilitation were
delivered where applicable.

2,480 fatalities resulting from occupational disease were recorded by the BGs
in 2005. Of these, 1,982 fatal diseases were caused by inorganic dusts, in
particular asbestos. A comparison with previous years is not possible at the
present time: quality control procedures have revealed that in previous years,
not all fatalities resulting from occupational disease were recorded (in purely
statistical terms). Re-recording the data for the previous years is expected to
be completed in the autumn.

More info

AplusA-online.de - Source: German Federation of Institutions for Statutory Accident Insurance and Prevention