Workers Comp Claim Reserving
Workers Comp Claim Reserving should be followed closely as part of your workers compensation premium reduction program.
One of the most mystifying areas of Workers Comp is in the area of reserving. I have written often on reserves, as believe it or not, they are just as mystifying to the claims adjusters and supervisors. I can guarantee that if you set down ten adjusters/supervisors in a room, give them the facts on a Workers Compensation file, you will receive a spectrum of reserve levels. Why?
One thing to point out early in this post is that setting reserves on any Workers Comp file is an art unto itself. I have seen software packages that will set the reserves for adjusters – SOME OF THEM WITHOUT AN OVERRIDE FUNCTION. You can add the software package to the spectrum of reserve levels in the room of claims adjusters and supervisors.
One caveat is that the expectation of accurate reserves at the start of a Workers Compensation file is not valid. The reserves that are placed on a file in the first 60 days are just not that accurate as the file has not had the time to mature and develop. Please note that in our file reviews we often see the reserves left unchanged throughout the life of the file after the 60 day initial reserve.
The other side of the coin is that if a company keeps reminding the adjuster to check the reserves on a file, the adjuster may analyze the file for an increase. Knowing which files to review with an adjuster and at what is the best time to review the reserves is crucial. As I have posted many times, your file reserves feed directly into your Experience Modification Factor (E-Mod).
I will not leave the self insureds out on this one. For budgeting purposes, your self-insured program should have Loss Development Factors (LDF’s) promulgated every year. If you do not, you are throwing away $$$. The reserves on your self insured Workers Comp files feed directly into the LDF just like the E-Mod. LDF’s can make or break a Risk Manager’s budgeting process.
Bottom Line – What is a Risk Manager or CFO or Company Owner or other person handling the Workers Comp to do about reserving? Check my post next time.
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