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California bucks trend as workers comp claims increase

Posted On: Jan. 8, 2016 12:00 AM CST

California workers compensation claim frequency increased 3% from 2010 to 2014 despite an 11% fall in claim frequency in most other states during that time, according to the California Workers' Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau.

In a report released Thursday, Oakland, California-based WCIRB compared its comp claim frequency data with claim frequency in 35 states and the District of Columbia, where the National Council on Compensation Insurance Inc. acts as the workers comp ratemaker.

WCIRB said in the report that California workers have shifted toward more hazardous industries, such as construction and manufacturing, as those sectors have increased hiring in recent years.

The bureau also found that 50% of California injured workers had less than two years of job experience in 2015, compared with 41% in 2010.

“Newer, more inexperienced workers are generally more likely to be injured on the job and file a workers' compensation claim,” the report reads.

An increase in cumulative injury workers comp claims also contributed to an uptick in California comp claim frequency, WCIRB found. Cumulative injury claims comprised nearly 18% of California indemnity claims in 2014, up from 11.8% in 2010.

“Most cumulative injury claims involve attorney representation or multiple body parts, and these proportions have increased over the last several years,” the report reads.