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Workers Comp Statistics – Are They Believable and Trustworthy?


Workers Comp Statistics Come With Many Caveats

The Workers Comp statistics production is one area that I have noted a sharp increase in over the last few months. There are so many statistics out there that make no sense; have (very important) an underlying unreported statistic, or relate the obvious together.

Diagram of Workers Comp Statistics of Fetal Occupational Injuries
(c) workerscompensatiostatistic

For example, I can make the proper statistical prediction that assaults in a certain area can be directly related to the sale of ice cream and I can prove it. The unmentioned underlying statistic is the time of year. In the summer as more people are out and about, there are more assaults.

The same can be said for summer ice cream sales. Both statistics are increasing during the summer and are not related in any manner. The key is that if one wants to associate two variables, with enough work and number massaging, the results can almost always be proven.

Some days, I want to bang my head on the desk when I read some of the Workers Comp variables that are being related to one another. I am not saying any of the studies are incorrect, they just have many underlying variables that actually cause the relationship or tell us what we know to be a fact.

There are also studies that prove what we knew all along. One example from NCCI is here. Actually, for the most part NCCI, WCIRB, and the rating agencies for Worker Comp are usually accurate, timely, and informative.

They also seem to be very adept at not relating unrelated variables. WCRI deserves a mention as a non-rating bureau source of information.

Picture of Human Hand Touch Screen Workers Comp Statistics Concept
(c) 123rf.com

For instance, I saw one today that said injured employees take less illicit drugs when drawing Workers Comp benefits than other types of insurance programs. Do you think it might be that the person is being supplied with legal drugs, so why smoke a joint or snort a line and possibly end up in jail? Could it be the injured employee knows they are under a bit more scrutiny and want to be clean if drug tested upon a return to work?

A non-WC example was released by the Census Bureau today. They indicated the percentage of the population that is insured for health has actually slightly increased overall. Of course,  that is true due to two possibly hidden variables:

  • The huge aging baby boomer population means more people are on Medicare.
  • Due to the very bad economy, more people are on Medicaid.

I did not read the entire study, but the conclusions are obvious before the study was released. In my humble opinion, the best studies are ones that actually have a well-founded surprise relationship between two variables. The rating agencies crank out interesting studies all the time.

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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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