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Jeremy Giovannetti at Half Moon Fruit & Produce Co. in the town of Yolo couldn't believe what he was seeing.
Last year, the company paid $240,000 for workers' compensation insurance. Now -- without any injuries over the last year among its 400 peak-season employees -- Half Moon's insurer, Superior National, wanted $300,000.
A 25 percent rate hike would be "pretty much a hardship," said Giovannetti, sales director for the company, which grows, packs and ships fruit, nuts and produce.
The same kind of sticker shock has been hitting other employers across the region and the state in recent weeks as they find out what they're going to have to pay for workers' comp next year.
Suddenly, the market for workers' comp is hardening up.
Many employers whose policies are up for renewal on Jan. 1 and in coming months face sharply higher prices after several years of deep discounts.
State Insurance Commissioner Chuck Quackenbush, concerned that some insurers are becoming financially unstable, has recommended an average increase of 18.4 percent.
Straight to the bottom line: Half Moon Fruit & Produce didn't sit still and pay the 25 percent increase that Superior National wanted. It couldn't afford to.
The company grows, packs and ships such commodities as honeydews, prunes, wheat and walnuts. But the …