California Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau Revises Rate Recommendation

April 24, 2009

The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California has revised its recommended pure premium rate increase of 24.4 percent downward to 23.7 percent.

On March 27, 2009, the WCIRB submitted a pure premium rate filing to the California Insurance Commissioner proposing a 24.4 percent increase in the overall pure premium rate level, or “claims cost benchmark”, effective July 1, 2009.

WCIRB said recently an insurer submitted revised aggregate financial data calls, which reduced the indicated July 1, 2009 increase in the claims cost benchmark to 23.7 percent. The WCIRB amended its filing on April 23, 2009 to reflect the revised data calls. The amended filing may be viewed by visiting the Regulatory Filings section of the WCIRB Web site

A public hearing on the matters contained in the WCIRB’s filing will be held Tuesday, April 28, 2009 at 10 a.m. in the 22nd Floor Hearing Room at the California Department of Insurance office located at 45 Fremont Street in San Francisco.

The 24.4 percent rate recommendation was particularly criticized by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner.

“California’s unemployment rate is skyrocketing and more than 1 in 10 are jobless. In January alone, nearly 80,000 jobs in the state were lost,” Poizner said in a statement. “The last thing that California’s employers need is increasing workers’ compensation costs when so many of them are struggling to keep the employees they have.”

WCIRB had said part of the reason for the high rate increase — at least 5.8 percent — is attributed to the California Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board en banc decisions in Ogilvie v. City and County of San Francisco, Almaraz v. Environmental Recovery Services and Guzman v. Milpitas Unified School District. WCAB has since said it is reconsidering those decisions.


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