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North Carolina Workers Comp – Shocker!

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WCRI North Carolina Workers Comp

The North Carolina Workers Comp paid per claim figures astonished many in the workers comp community.   When I first read the conclusion of a study published by The Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI), I thought there must be a mistake. For many years, Workers Comp had been a bargain in NC when compared to other states. That result was $42,000 paid per Workers Comp claim.  

Picture Of Hand Using Magnifying Glass North Carolina Workers Comp With Piggy bank Stethoscope And Injection
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That seemed astounding to me. How can NC be the highest of all 16 states in the study? One of the drivers was medical cost. The researchers attribute the increase in costs to growth in medical payments, a longer duration of temporary disability and more frequent and higher payments for partial permanent disability.

As I have mentioned very often, the Workers Comp E-Mod system is a time-lag system. What happens today may not affect your premiums for up to 4 years. My main concern is the overall experience OF THE WHOLE MARKET for Workers Comp, in NC, will change. Your company’s E-Mod may not increase that much if your competitors are all paying out more for claims.

Unless I am mistaken, this means the rates for each Workers Comp Code will increase across the board or some Class Codes are really going to feel the pain in a few months.

I was going to access the WCRI report. I do not think that is necessary as the areas of disability payments (temporary total and permanent partial) along with medical payments were increased.

I am going to research this info more. If I find any peculiarities or major implications, I will post on it.

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2 Responses

  1. One of the big problems in North Carolina has always been that you can only stop total disability benefits with a return to work or a hearing. If the employee is released to work, but refuses to do so, you have to file for hearing and try to get benefits stopped that way. This takes time, and costs money.

    About the time you file for hearing, they get an attorney, who sends them to a different doctor, who says they can’t work. The Judges tend to rule in the injured workers’ favor on any dispute, so the disability goes on and on an on. You end up overpaying a clincher (settlement) to close out the claim because without doing that, benefits can go on forever.

  2. There is zero need for workers’ comp reform in NC. We have a system that provides good benefits to injured workers at a low cost. This reform is being pushed by big business and insurance compaines who are using skewed reports to further their cause. This so called reform will do nothing for the people or businsee owners of ths state.

    Hearings to cut off benefits are easily plead, held over the telephone and are already granted on a very frequent frequent basis if there is sufficient evidence.

    Key Facts to Consider

    Claim: Corporations say workers’ compensation rates are costing North Carolina jobs.
    Fact: In 9 out of the last 10 years, Site Selection Magazine has ranked North Carolina the best place in the country to do business.
    Fact: Even during the recession, North Carolina was 4th in nation in new jobs created over the last 12 months.
    Fact: The rate — set by the Commissioner of Insurance — that employers pay for workers’ compensation insurance has dropped 21.9% since 1995.
    Fact: North Carolina’s workers’ compensation costs are lower than South Carolina’s or Tennessee’s. (They are higher than Virginia’s but we provide substantially better benefits to injured workers.)
    Fact: No injured worker can receive workers’ compensation benefits of more than 2/3rd of his or her salary.
    Fact: Regardless of the pre-injury wage, the maximum benefit any injured worker can receive for lost wages is $836 per week.
    Poll: In October 2010, Public Policy Polling asked registered voters if they favored cutting off benefits to disabled workers after 500 weeks. 66% of the voters said No, while only 14% said Yes. Opposition to a cap on workers’ compensation benefits cuts across both ideological and party lines. It is opposed by Liberals (78%), Moderates (67%) and Conservatives (60%); and by Democrats (72%), Republicans (62%) and Independents (56%).

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James Moore

Raleigh, NC, United States

About The Author...

James founded a Workers’ Compensation consulting firm, J&L Risk Mgmt 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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