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Workers comp claim frequency remains elevated in California

Posted On: Jul. 31, 2012 12:00 AM CST

SAN FRANCISCO—California workers compensation indemnity claims frequency remains elevated after experiencing its first increase in more than a decade during 2010, according to the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California.

The 2010 rise in claim frequency occurred “at a magnitude that had not been seen in over two decades,” and 2011 and 2012 claims frequencies “are emerging at levels comparable to 2010,” the WCIRB said in a claims frequency analysis released this month.

The rating organization’s Actuarial Committee is set to discuss the frequency issue during a meeting Thursday in San Francisco, according to a meeting agenda. The meeting is in preparation for a Jan. 1, 2013, pure premium rate filing the WCIRB will submit to the California Department of Insurance.

“While indemnity claim frequency had been declining for many years (prior to 2010), the accident year 2010 frequency was approximately 9% higher than in 2009, and accident years 2011 and 2012 indemnity claim frequencies are emerging at levels comparable to 2010,” according to the WCIRB.

Key drivers behind 2010’s higher indemnity claim frequency included an “increases in cumulative injury claims, more late-reported indemnity claims and an increase in smaller noncumulative injury claims, many of which may have been medical-only claims in the past,” according to WCIRB.