Report: California Self-Insured Workers’ Comp Claims Rose Only Slightly Last Year

June 21, 2018

California public self-insured workers’ compensation claims from fiscal year 2016-2017 rose less than 0.4 percent compared to the corresponding data from the prior year despite a 2.9 percent Increase in covered employees, according to a report out from the California Workers’ Compensation Institute.

The average paid loss per claim increased by $177, pushing aggregate loss payments up 6.3 percent to a record $372.1 million, while first report incurred losses (paid plus reserves) on the FY 2016-2017 public self-insured claims hit an all-time high of nearly $1.27 billion, according to the CWCI.

CWCI reported on the California Office of Self-Insurance Plans’ summary of public self-insured claims data, which provides the first measure of public self-insured claims experience based on claims data reported to the state by cities and counties; local fire, school, transit, utility and special districts; and joint powers authorities for the 12 months ending June 30, 2017, as well as updated figures on claims reported for each of the four prior years.

Public self-insured entities included in the FY 201-2017 summary covered roughly 2.13 million California workers, or nearly 60,000 more employees than in the FY 2015-2016 initial report, with wages and salaries of those covered employees totaling nearly $121.2 billion.

Even with public sector employment on the rise, public self-insured entities reported just 116,251 claims last year, only 421 more than m the FY 2015 16 first reports (+0.4 percent).

To control for the effect that year-to-year fluctuations in the public self-insured work force have had on claim volume over time, the CWCI calculated the claim frequency rates (number of public self-insured claims per 100 employees) for each of the 10 years.

The most significant decline in the public self-insured claim frequency rate was in FY 2013-2014, immediately following the enactment of SB 863, the state’s workers’ comp reform law, though frequency rebounded sharply the following year.

Last year, with claim volume flat and the covered worker force up nearly 3 percent, public self-insured claim frequency fell to 5.4 claims per 100 employees, continuing the decline that began in FY 2015-2016, according to the CWCI.

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