Workers Comp Audit Stress Reducer
Use It For Your Next Premium Audit

Pandemic Workers Comp Claims Spike That Never Happened


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.

2020 pandemic workers comp claims data pic
Wikimedia – David Revoy

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.


©J&L Risk Management Inc Copyright Notice



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


Get the latest workers' comp news FREE!

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.