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Calif. insurance head calls for comp bureau audit


SACRAMENTO, Calif.--California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner has ordered a "top-to-bottom audit" of the state Workers' Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau as part of a series of system reforms he called for, and suggested that comp insurers reduce their pure premium rates by 14.2% for policies beginning on or after July 1.

The San Francisco-based WCIRB has been plagued by a 12-year history of forecasting inaccuracy, Mr. Poizner said Tuesday in a statement, noting that the WCIRB recommended only an 11.3% decrease in pure premiums.

The commissioner also expressed concern that some injured workers are not getting proper and timely medical attention. To assure that insurers are not abusing a utilization review process to prevent medical care, he ordered his department to conduct market exams reviewing their benefits delivery practices.

He noted that insurers are "reaping tremendous benefits from recent reforms" and enjoy loss ratios averaging 37% in California.