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Comp premiums up, combined ratio down in California



California workers compensation written premiums reached $18.1 billion in 2016, up 3% from $17.6 billion in 2015, according to a report released Friday by the California Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau.

Meanwhile, the combined ratio for California comp insurers was 94% in 2016, which remained unchanged from 2014 and 2015, Oakland, California-based WCIRB said.

Changes from S.B. 863, a workers comp reform bill enacted in 2012, have had a recent impact on the California comp market, WCIRB said. The average cost of a California workers comp indemnity claim was $82,000 in 2016, up 4% from 2015. WCRIB attributed the hike to increased permanent disability benefits that began in 2013 under S.B. 863.

California workers comp indemnity claim frequency fell 1.3% year-over-year in 2016, the report showed. Comp frequency declines in 2015 and 2016 "represent the first consecutive years of projected indemnity claim frequency decline since before the Great Recession," WCIRB said.