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Virus presumption order could make up 7% of claims costs

Posted On: May. 26, 2020 12:04 PM CST


A mid-range estimate of what COVID-19 workers compensation presumption could comprise about 7% of the $18.3 billion estimated annual cost of claims in California prior to the pandemic, according to a report released Friday by the California Workers Compensation Insurance Ratings Bureau.

The Oakland-based ratings agency is estimating costs to range from $0.6 billion to $2.0 billion, with a mid-range estimate of $1.2 billion, according to WCIRB’s latest round of estimates of what COVID-19 claims could cost comp insurers. In April, the agency predicted presumption could cost upwards of $33.6 billion, or 61% of the estimated total cost of the state’s workers comp system prior to the pandemic.

The latest study follows Gov. Gavin Newsom’s May 6 executive order that allows all essential critical infrastructure workers who acquire COVID-19 to assume that they contracted the virus at work. However, the order allows employers to rebut that assumption before accepting a claim.

WCIRB’s estimates are for the overall potential total cost of medical and indemnity benefits and loss adjustment expenses on COVID-19 claims arising from the March 19, 2020, to July 5, 2020, period. The study also segregates between health care workers and first responders — estimating costs to range from $0.3 to $1.2 billion — and all other essential workers — with costs ranging from $0.3 to $0.8 billion. 

More insurance and workers compensation news on the coronavirus crisis here