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Workers Compensation Numbers Employers Must Have ASAP


Keep These Workers Compensation Numbers Close For Quick Access

The first two main workers compensation numbers involve knowing where your worker’s compensation program is currently.

compass picture workers compensation numbers direction
Wikimedia License – LeCire

If you do not know where you are, the task of knowing what to do to improve your numbers becomes extremely difficult.  Use Your CompCompass(c). 

  1. Experience modification factor – this number heavily relates to any employer that has a voluntary market policy.  The E-Mod is the same as a personal credit score. Like it or not, your whole worker’s compensation program will often be judged by this one number. Knowing your company’s last three E mods will help you know where your worker’s compensation program is going and where your program has been over the last five years.
  2. For self-insureds, the main number that corresponds to #1 above is the loss development factor or LDF.   The LDF covers a longer period than the experience modification factor.  The LDF is an actuarial measurement that involves the Ultimate Loss values.  The LDF can vary amongst actuaries and statisticians. The main concern with an LDF is that it is an opinion, not an exact number such as the experience modification factor.
  3. Days away from work – if your company has had personnel on temporary total disability, knowing this number over the last three years will enable you to judge your return to work program. You can also benchmark those against the BLS statistics.
  4. Loss Ratio – this number can be calculated by dividing the premiums paid by the amount of losses for any year. One should be very careful with the Loss Ratio as it only looks at a very small window of time. However, it is a better indicator of your present loss situation versus the experience modification factor above.

    Picture of workers compensation numbers disabled parking place
    Wikimedia License – Tdmalone
  5. Losses up to the amount of $15,000 – this number can vary in each state. The rating bureaus refer to this number as the primary loss. The primary loss is the most expensive part of your claims history. When calculating your experience modification factor a company has to be very careful when looking at a small claim as being less harmful to their E Mod. As the old saying goes, five twenty thousand dollar claims do not equal one $100,00 claim.  The five $20,000 claims will likely cost 300% more than the $100,000 claim.
  6. Medical only claims that have reached $5000 in total. I copyrighted the term claims festering to describe this situation. Once a claim that is unmonitored by the claim staff because the employee is working reaches a point where further medical intervention may be needed, it is often too late, and the claims snowball will start rolling down the hill.
  7. For self-insured, Allocated Loss adjustment expenses or ALAE can be crucial to controlling your worker’s compensation budget. For instance, in California, the amount to deliver one dollar of benefits is strikingly $0.53. ALAE is one of the truly hidden costs of being a self-insured employer.
  8. Lag time – the insurance carrier or for self-insureds Third Party
    Woman workers compensation numbers get a medical record
    Wikipedia – Jason T. Poplin

    Administrators track this number very heavily. It is the time from knowing about the claim until the first report of injury is filed with the carrier or TPA. The claim staff sees this number constantly. Over the years, I have been provided with this number with almost any claims load that I handled or consulted on for any employer.   One way to have your reserves increased is by being an employer with a high amount of lag time.  This number is usually very controllable by most employers.

  9. Outstanding reserves – this number has been discussed in this blog many times over the last 12 years. Online loss runs will allow those numbers to be at your fingertips. This number should be reviewed at least monthly if not more often. The adjuster will usually include an explanatory note with their reserve increases. Reading over those notes may answer many questions very quickly. If you are using paper loss runs a suggestion would be to see about obtaining online access so that you have all your claims and reserve information up to the minute.
  10. The names of the claim adjusters who are working on your files. Their contact info can be very helpful when trying to email an adjuster with a question.   I always recommend emailing the adjuster with any questions. Emails create an easy way for the adjuster and you to document your files. If the adjusters’ names keep changing on your files, this is a time to contact a claim supervisor to see why the adjusters keep switching so often. Having the same adjuster throughout a claim is priceless. One of the toughest assignments an adjuster can have is to pick up a file from a previous adjuster review it and then make proper claims decisions.
  11. Your policy or TPA agreement – this one is probably the most obvious. Having your worker’s compensation policy at your fingertips and possibly reading it before signing it can eliminate a large number of problems or questions upfront. Finding out something about your policy or TPA agreement during the contract period can result in a very frustrating situation for all parties involved with your worker’s compensation or any other type of policy The Declarations Page remains ever-important.
  12. Your premium audit. Make sure that when you receive your premium audit bill you have also received the premium auditor’s workpapers along with the premium audit statement. Both of these will likely answer many questions that you may have about your premium audit and allow you to review how the premium auditor came to the numbers on your bill
Picture of board members workers compensation numbers signing agreement
Wikipedia.org – Sgt. Brian Schlumbohm


These 12 suggestions came from files that I have reviewed recently or in consulting with various employers.  So many workers’ compensation statistics can be generated with today’s analytics.    This list covers a small amount of the worker’s compensation numbers and statistics available.

Keep this Workers’ Compensation numbers list at your fingertips for future use.



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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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