The decline in claim frequency for workers’ compensation injuries has continued into 2006, and the decline continues to be widespread, according to the National Council on Compensation Insurance.
NCCI’s latest review of claim frequency and severity shows that, while claim frequency is down, indemnity and medical severities continue to rise.
The 2006 drop in claim frequency extends a trend that started in the 1990s. And, as first reported last year, the decline seems to have become just as prominent among the medium and large claims as it is for the small claims.
In the course of updating our annual study to reflect the latest frequency and severity results, a new dimension has been added. Claim frequency differences between the voluntary and residual markets are examined this year.
Key findings of the NCCI analysis are:
· Over the last three years, the claim frequency decline appears to be just as strong for the large claims as for the small lost-time claims.
· Over the last five years, significant declines occurred for all injury types, including permanent total and permanent partial claims.
· The Assigned Risk market has substantially higher lost-time claim frequency than does the voluntary market, especially for larger claims. This is true even after controlling for differences in occupational mix.
· All geographic regions of the country experienced significant declines over the last five years.
· While there is some variation, the decline in workers compensation claim frequency occurred in all major industry groups and spanned almost all occupations.
· The shift in occupational mix is a minor contributor to the decline in claim frequency.
NCCI believes that the many factors driving this long-term trend are:
· Continued emphasis on workplace safety in all employment classes · Increased use of robotics
· Increased use of modular design and construction techniques
· Increased use of power-assisted processes
· Advances in ergonomic design
· Proliferation of cordless tools
· More and better job training
· Improved fraud deterrents
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