2019 Trends in California Workers Compensation Cases (Pt. 2)
The Workers Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California is a private nonprofit membership association comprised of more than 400 workers’ compensation insurance companies in California. Every year they hold an annual conference to discuss the trends in California workers compensation cases.
At the 2019 WCIRB Annual Conference, Dave Bellusci, WCIRB Executive Vice President and Chief Actuary discussed some of the key trends in workers compensation in California this year. In this two part article we highlight some of this year’s findings. CLICK HERE for PART 1
Workers Compensation Claim Trends
- The proportion of Continuous Trauma (CT) claims have doubled in the last eleven years, adding about 19% to rates, while post-termination CT claims add approximately 7% to rates.
- There has not been a significant change to claim frequency. The current rate of 14.4 indemnity claims for every 1000 employees is higher than 2010, but lower than the years immediately preceding 2010.
- However, the frequency of California’s permanent partial disability claims is extremely high, estimated at 250% of the national median, even though California’s payroll tends toward lower hazard industries than most other states. This trend can be explained in that the higher claims are due to legislation as opposed to hazards.
- The average severity of California’s claims hovers above the median, falling short of the highest due to the fact that there are a number of claims with higher costs per claim. However, medical severity has shown an increase in the last two years, reversing a seven-year decline.
- One of the most significant areas of improvement is in indemnity claims. In this area, medical costs in California are only 6% above the national median.
Medical Expense Trends in Workers Compensation
- Since 2001, California’s medical inflation has remained below NCCI state levels, and the inflation rate continues to be far less than California group health.
- Although a number of factors contribute, overall pharmacy costs have decreased by 80% from 2013 to 2018, which has driven the costs per claim of opioids down by 90%.
- Nationwide, the median percentage of total medical paid after 3 years is 70%; however, California’s is only 48%.
- After a five year period, the average NCCI state has paid out only 23% of medical expenses, whereas California has paid 38%. This is thought to be due to a longer medical claims tail, which makes costs more vulnerable to medical inflation.
Trends in Workers Comp Loss Adjustment Expenses
- California’s unallocated loss adjustment expenses (ULAE) is 13.6% of the total cost of claims, which tops the levels of all other states.
- Similarly, California’s allocated loss adjustment expenses (ALAE) garners 22.9% of the total cost of claims, more than double the national average and exceeds the levels of the rest of the nation by far. Furthermore, the average ALAE continues to increase at a significantly higher rate than does either indemnity or medical inflation.
Attorneys at Cantrell Green are experts in the area of workers compensation, and watch these trends carefully. Their experience and expertise plays a vital role in their ability to effectively represent their clients. If you live in the greater Los Angeles area or Orange County and become ill or injured on the job, contact our Long Beach office for a free consultation, and let our expertise work for you.
Long Beach Workers Compensation Lawyers
If you were injured or made ill in the workplace, we recommend that you speak with an experienced workers comp lawyer immediately. Even if you are currently receiving workers comp benefits, it is a good idea to get some legal advice to protect your rights going into the future.
An experienced workers compensation lawyer can help you identify minor issues before they become major problems – and make sure that you not only receive your benefits now, but for years to come.
Your consultation with our workers’ comp lawyers is 100% confidential, and neither your employer nor your insurance company will be notified that you requested a consultation with us. Our lawyers will help you understand your rights and work tirelessly to ensure that you receive the maximum workers’ comp benefits for which you qualify.