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Workers’ compensation premiums in California continue to grow at double-digit rates, according to the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau.
The WCIRB recently released its “State of the California Worker’s Compensation Report,” and authors of the report highlighted developing trends over the past few years in the wake of the state’s massive workers’ comp reforms. The report would perhaps be best described as a “mixed bag,” a descriptor of the positive and negative trends as well as a result of the impact that the Senate Bill 863 workers’ comp reforms passed in 2012 are having on the massive system for dealing with injured workers.
If nothing else, the report shows the magnitude of California workers’ comp system on a national scale. The report shows the rising premiums in California are due to higher premium rates and to growth in insured payroll resulting from economic expansion and wage level increases. It also shows California has the highest premium rates in the country. While California employers are paying ever higher rates per $100 of payroll since 2009, workers’ comp rates are less than half what they were before the 2003 reforms, the report shows.
The good news is rates aren’t much higher than nearly 40 years ago; the bad is that rates are on the rise. The authors referred to an annual report from Oregon that in 2014 placed California at the top of the list of states for average premiums paid by employers. The report cites three principal factors as answers to that question: California has the highest permanent disability claims frequency in the nation, the state has among the highest claims in terms of medical costs and it has a high cost of delivering benefits. According to Tony Milano, the WCIRB’s vice president and chief actuary, the state’s claims frequency is being driven up by claims from Southern California, particularly the Los Angeles area. In California there are on average 14.5 claims per 1,000 employees, putting it roughly 50 percent greater than the national median. And partial permanent disability claims is 704 per 100,000 employees in California, more than twice the national median of 327.
Another driver of California’s higher premiums is the state’s medical treatment costs, largely due to prolonged medical treatments.
The allocated loss adjustment expense cost per indemnity claim are growing, they are not shrinking, as would be expected following the passage of SB 863.

The figure has been on the rise since 2011, and is nearly $5,000 higher than at the point of the 2003 reforms. SB 863 was intended to minimize litigation costs, but continued expedited hearings and a higher volume than expected of Independent Medical Reviews being conducted may have driven that up, the authors said. The report shows that many of the intended changes made by SB 863 are having a positive impact. Research and Analysis Not Found Elsewhere - Exclusive content from researchers think tanks, industry experts and respected analysts. John Lennon once said, “Life is what happens when you’re making other plans.” That is to say, accidents happen.
Giving employees the protection they deserve, while maintaining the ability to protect the business from an injured employee, is all about choosing the right coverage. Workers compensation is a form of insurance that provides wage replacement and medical benefits to employees injured in the course of employment.
Workers compensation insurance rates are standard nationwide but some insurance companies can apply deviations, premium discounts or schedule credits to those rates, that make the premium go up or down depending on your loss experience. Your annual premium audit is the best way to ensure that you are being charged the most accurate premium. Be sure to implement a loss control or risk management program to help reduce the chance injuries to your employees because of the safety features in your workplace. Hunter Insurance is here to find you the level of Workers Compensation Insurance that you need, without overselling or underselling you.
The 2014 Oregon Workers’ Compensation Premium Rate Ranking Summary, which differs slightly from the WCIRB figures, showed California’s workers’ comp premium rates were $3.48 last year, topping No. Following the Oregon report California’s Department of Industrial Relations Director challenged its findings. This is despite the state’s hazard level being considered below the typical state, with on average fewer manufacturing and other potentially dangerous jobs.

Nearly 20 percent of indemnity claims in California were open after five years, which is nearly four times the national median, the report shows. In recent years, California workers’ compensation combined ratios have generally been higher and returns on net worth lower than countrywide averages, however the combined ratios have been falling since 2010.
Medical lien filings have dropped considerably, new rules on spinal implants are saving money and changes to the physician fee schedule are also reducing costs. With financial reward on one side and financial risk on the other, finding the proper Workers’ Compensation Insurance through Hunter Insurance Services can keep your company moving. Hunter Insurance Services is your source for finding the best Workers Compensation Insurance coverage available, at a price you can be happy about. Many states, including California, mandate that all businesses carry some type of workers’ compensation insurance.
So, when the time comes for your annual premium audit, we can make sure you are properly classified and that your records are properly maintained to receive the most advantageous payroll calculations and classifications. It does not matter if your payroll is all accrued in one month, one quarterly or throughout the day.
Whether you’re a small or large business, wouldn’t the right level of protection help motivate your profits and get everyone back to work? This Workers’ Compensation Insurance protects the business owner from devastating lawsuits and protects workers from the expense of medical bills related to workplace injuries. The only thing that matters is what the total payroll was over a 12 month term and what those employees actually do.

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