Frequently Asked Questions

More about Retro and GRIP

Retrospective Rating (Retro) is an incentive program offered by the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I). In Retro you can earn a partial refund of your workers’ compensation premiums if you prevent workplace injuries and manage claims costs.

GRIP is the local Retro for Master Builders Association (MBA) members, serving more than 1,200 companies in King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties. We help employers lower their L&I premiums, maximize Retro refunds, and handle claims effectively. In 2021, GRIP participants received $19 million in combined refunds.

Retro is a retroactive way of calculating premiums over a 12-month period. Approximately 10 months after the coverage period ends, L&I looks back at your Retro group’s actual experience and calculates a retrospective premium for that 12-month period. If group claims costs are below what is expected, you could earn a partial refund of the difference between the Retro premium and the standard premium, as calculated by L&I.


GRIP is already helping 1,200 member companies in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties to reduce on-the-job injuries. GRIP participants are committed to safety and injury prevention, so they enjoy annual L&I refunds and reduce costly business expenses associated with on-the-job injuries. GRIP is the local choice, supporting your associations and providing you with claims staff on-site at the MBA Housing Center in Bellevue, plus offices in Tacoma, Tumwater and Spokane. It is an excellent value for any company willing to invest a small amount of time and money into creating a safer workplace.

GRIP started in 2010 and already serves more than 1,200 employers, making it the fastest-growing Retro program in Washington State. GRIP participants have earned average group refunds of 32.6 percent, with a 38.6 percent total refund for the 3 plan years adjusted in 2021.

  • Continue to pay your industrial insurance premiums to L&I
  • Maintain a membership with either Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties or Master Builders Association of Pierce County
  • Notify GRIP immediately about workplace injuries
  • Share in a portion of the group’s refund based on your L&I premiums & claim costs

Safety and Compliance

  • Jobsite visit and gap analysis
  • Phone consultation
  • Safety resources
  • Citation support
  • Online and group training
  • Weekly Toolbox Topics

Claim management

  • Upfront, proactive approach guiding claims efficiently and effectively to closure
  • Ensure claims are valid and injured workers are getting the appropriate medical care they need
  • One point of contact who will get to know your company

Return to Work (RTW) and Light Duty Support

  • Returning injured workers back to work is one of the best ways to pay less in premiums and increase your Retro refund
  • RTW shows you care about your employees
  • Retains maximum control of the claim
  • Minimizes costs

Group Management and Participant Support

  • Provides members with specific tools and strategies to lower workers’ comp rates
  • Develops an understanding of member needs and coordinates appropriate services


Stay at Work (SAW) Assistance and GRIP Match

  • GRIP has a program that matches L&I Stay at Work (SAW) program, which means when you provide modified duty for injured workers you can be reimbursed 100% of their base wages for 66 days or $20,000 per claim


  • As a GRIP member, your company has access to a variety safety and workers’ compensation trainings that are held either in person or online

Participation and Refunds

GRIP participants adhere to best practices in order to make the program viable and valuable. There are two key guidelines that all employers must honor while in GRIP:

  • When a worker is injured, immediately provide a light/modified job description for physician approval if the worker is unable to perform his or her normal job duties. GRIP will help participants apply for Stay at Work reimbursements from L&I, good for up to $13,900 per claim.
  • If the worker is unable to return to work in any capacity, as certified by the medical provider, maintain Kept on Salary (100 percent of regular wages) immediately and for up to 30 days as necessary. KOS may be extended on a case-by-case basis in consultation with your Retro Coordinator.

Plan years run from July 1 to June 30. The annual enrollment deadline for new enrollees and participants moving from other Retro programs is June 15. Companies that do not apply by June 15 and are not in another Retro can also join quarterly on September 15, December 15, or March 15.

You can typically expect to receive your first refund check about 12 months after the completion of your first plan year in GRIP.

Claims impact Retro performance for a period of three years. Accordingly, the GRIP program pays refunds for each plan year in three annual installments (“adjustments”).

For example, participants in the 2022-23 plan year are eligible to receive refund adjustments in 2024 (20%), 2025 (30%), and 2026 (balance). After three years of participation, GRIP companies begin eligibility to receive partial refunds for three plan years each summer. This continues each June/July thereafter as long as the company remains an active participant of GRIP.

In addition to your MBA membership, the GRIP enrollment fee is $99 per plan year.

Contact Us