Calif. Workers’ Comp Rates Inadequate, Report Suggests

April 16, 2010

The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California is reporting that gross written premium for calendar year 2009 is approximatley $8.9 billion, about 17 percent below the written premium reported for 2008, and 62 percent the calendar year 2004 total.

In its “Summary of December 31, 2009 Insurer Experience,” WCIRB projected the total ultimate accident year losses for 2009 would be $6.9 billion, 9 percent below the 2008 level, and approximately 4 percent the pre-reform high in 2002. The Bureau projects an ultimate accident year loss ratio of 75 percent for AY 2009, approximately 6 percentage points higher than the estimated ultimate AY 2008 loss ratio, and the highest estimated ultimate loss ratio since AY 2002.

While WCIRB does not yet have expense information for 2009, it said the 2009 combined ratio will likely be considerably higher than the 2008 combinedl oss and expense ratio of 108 percent.

The estimated average cost of a 2009 indemnity claim will be approximately $58,000, the Bureau said. That figure represents an increase of 4 percent over 2008 following three years of severity increasing at an average annual rate of approximately 13 percent per year, it said.

WCIRB said its report reflects the two Workers Compensation Appeals Board en banc decisions, Ogilvie v. City and County of San Francisco and Almaraz v. Environmental Recovery Services/Guzman v. Milpitas Unified School District, which have the potential to “siginifcantly increase costs — including those on claims.” These cases are under appeal.

To view the full WCIRB report, visit https://wcirbonline.org/wcirb/resources/data_reports/pdf/123109_insurer_exp_report.pdf.

Source: WCIRB

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