Anticipated Pandemic Workers Comp Claims Spike Mystery
The Pandemic Workers Comp Claims spike was predicted by most of the industry prognosticators. The anticipated claims tidal wave seems to have not occurred in the industry. Let us look at a few valid sources of information.
Pandemic Workers Comp Claim Numbers From A Carrier
A great newspaper article that I read this week showed that one of the major WC carriers reported that the anticipated increase in claims actually turned out to be a decrease. Workers shifting to a home-based environment did have an increase in strains and sprains. They did not report the injuries as Workers Comp and kept working.
Rating Bureau Information
Pandemic Workers Comp Claims Data – California Rating Bureau
I usually cover the rating bureau information as the best source of claim numbers. One has to remember rating bureaus such as NCCI, WCIRB, and the independent state bureaus run 18 months behind on providing data. The UNIT STAT system works on a delayed basis. The WCIRB’s (California Rating Bureau) recent report on 2020 claims data showed three major decreases between 2019 and 2020. The differences were:
- 9.4% drop in medical payments
- 14.5% decrease in claims
- 11.4% decrease in paid medical transactions
For year-over-year claims data, those are very significant decreases.
NCCI – A Look Back – Dr. Hartwig’s Presentation on Pandemic Workers Comp Claims Data
NCCI produced a great webinar earlier this year on the pandemic data they had received from carriers. Two of the presentations including one by Dr. Hartwig showed that the crisis in employment and claims were lower than the projections.
The webinar is still available including the great informative slides. Dr. Hartwig’s slides should be reviewed closely
Not Discounting The COVID-19 Claims
No one is saying that there were very few COVID-19 claims – much to the contrary. The WCIRB estimated that California’s costs associated with the pandemic were $1 billion. That is a stark number. The states enacted numerous occupational disease presumptions to make sure that COVID-19 claims would be covered during the pandemic.