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Cherry Picking – Is The Practice Legal In Workers Compensation?


What is Cherry Picking in Workers Comp?

Cherry picking is one of the old terms in insurance coverage including Workers Compensation. This very overused term can have a negative or positive connotation depending upon the audience and the writer’s or speaker’s intention.

Picture Of Cherry Picking With Mirror

This situation occurs when an insurance carrier seeks to have better than normal underwriting results by offering the very safe companies policies while not covering the normally safe or less than safe employers in a given state or region. Often, the carrier may heavily under-price the coverage to get the safe business.

Cherry picking may also occur when a carrier writes very unsafe companies while charging an extremely high premium as the coverage may not be available elsewhere for a certain employer. This is an uncommon occurrence unless the regular insurance marketplace is not writing coverage for certain employers (with certain classification codes.)

There has been a decades-long running debate on whether this practice is just good underwriting or that it throws off the marketplace for a certain group of cherry-picked employers.

I posted a blog recently on Travelers’ aggressive underwriting in West Virginia. I have not really seen anything that looks like cherry picking as they are writing almost all employers with varying classification codes and E-Mods.

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James J Moore - Workers Comp Expert

Raleigh, NC, United States

About The Author...

James founded a Workers’ Compensation consulting firm, J&L Risk Management Consultants, Inc. in 1996. J&L’s mission is to reduce our clients’ Workers Compensation premiums by using time-tested techniques. J&L’s claims, premium, reserve and Experience Mod reviews have saved employers over $9.8 million in earned premiums over the last three years. J&L has saved numerous companies from bankruptcy proceedings as a result of insurance overpayments.

James has over 27 years of experience in insurance claims, audit, and underwriting, specializing in Workers’ Compensation. He has supervised, and managed the administration of Workers’ Compensation claims, and underwriting in over 45 states. His professional experience includes being the Director of Risk Management for the North Carolina School Boards Association. He created a very successful Workers’ Compensation Injury Rehabilitation Unit for school personnel.

James’s educational background, which centered on computer technology, culminated in earning a Masters of Business Administration (MBA); an Associate in Claims designation (AIC); and an Associate in Risk Management designation (ARM). He is a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) and a licensed financial advisor. The NC Department of Insurance has certified him as an insurance instructor. He also possesses a Bachelors’ Degree in Actuarial Science.

LexisNexis has twice recognized his blog as one of the Top 25 Blogs on Workers’ Compensation. J&L has been listed in AM Best’s Preferred Providers Directory for Insurance Experts – Workers Compensation for over eight years. He recently won the prestigious Baucom Shine Lifetime Achievement Award for his volunteer contributions to the area of risk management and safety. James was recently named as an instructor for the prestigious Insurance Academy.

James is on the Board of Directors and Treasurer of the North Carolina Mid-State Safety Council. He has published two manuals on Workers’ Compensation and three different claims processing manuals. He has also written and has been quoted in numerous articles on reducing Workers’ Compensation costs for public and private employers. James publishes a weekly newsletter with 7,000 readers.

He currently possess press credentials and am invited to various national Workers Compensation conferences as a reporter.

James’s articles or interviews on Workers’ Compensation have appeared in the following publications or websites:

  • Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS)
  • Entrepreneur Magazine
  • Bloomberg Business News
  • WorkCompCentral.com
  • Claims Magazine
  • Risk & Insurance Magazine
  • Insurance Journal
  • Workers Compensation.com
  • LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites
  • Various trade publications


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