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NCCI and WCIRB Differ on Two Main Issues – Both COVID Related


NCCI and WCIRB – Two Recent COVID-19 Differences

Many times on this website,  comparisons have been made between NCCI and WCIRB rules.  NCCI is the Workers Compensation rating bureau that covers 41 states with its HQ in Boca Raton, FL.  The WCIRB is the California Workers Compensation rating bureau.

NCCI and WCIRB Big Sur California pic
(c) Public Use License – Joseph Plotz

I try to attend as many of the NCCI and WCIRB webinars as possible.  Recently, when I listened in on a WCIRB webinar, the presenter even said a few times that some of the Classification Code wordings had become more aligned with NCCI.  Having consistent wording between rating bureaus is always a positive development.

Please look closely at these two differences as each one could involve a large amount of premium if they are misapplied to your WC policies.

Let us cover two of the differences that were uncovered recently – one positive and one possibly positive if the WCIRB follows NCCI’s example.

NCCI and WCIRB – 8871 Classification Code

I have covered this Class Code often as the WCIRB added the code to their manuals over the past year.   The code covers Telecommuting/Telecommuters.  The main difference between the NCCI and WCIRB Classification Code comes from how much time the employee works in the office:

Beautiful Hill NCCI and WCIRB View
Public Domain – Harshakamanuru

The most important part of the classification code is the amount of time working in the office or at home.  If more than 50% of the employee’s time is in the office, the correct classification code is 8810 Clerical

Why does that make a difference?  In most states, the 8810 rate is historically lower than the 8871 classification code.   The difference may not be that much when comparing the rates.  If your company has many telecommuters, then the premium saving could be substantial enough to track office vs. home office time.

For the persons that are experienced in WCIRB rules, yes, there is more to the rule – I wanted to keep it as straightforward as possible.

What does that mean for you?  Please keep good records on the employees’ times spent in the office versus working in their home office.

NCCI and WCIRB – COVID-19 Claims Counting Against X-Mods Possible In Future

NCCI Catastrophe Code

NCCI had long ago indicated that the COVID-19 related claims were not going to count against employers’ Mods.  Kudos should be given to NCCI for making that move from the outset of the pandemic.

I had thought the claims would be placed under a certain classification code.  After a bit of research, I found out the NCCI COVID-19 way of handling the coronavirus-related claims was to add in a class code.  I was admittedly wrong.  Check out how NCCI handled the COVID-19 related claims here.

NCCI used a catastrophe code, not a new classification code.

WCIRB’s Recent Comments

I had thought that the WCIRB would follow suit and add a CAT code similar to NCCI.   From their website –

The California Insurance Commissioner has approved adoption of the national guidelines consistent with those approved by the Workers Compensation Insurance Organizations (WCIO) for: Nature of Injury: Report “83” (COVID-19); Cause of Injury: Report “83” (Pandemic); Catastrophe Number: Report “12” for all claims directly arising from a diagnosis of COVID-19. These rules apply to reporting COVID-19 claims with accident dates on or after December 1, 2019 and with a required date of reporting on or after August 1, 2020.

San Francisco downtown NCCI and WCIRB Panorama view
Wikimedia Commons – A. Hornung

It seems that the WCIRB was going to handle the COVID-19 claims similarly to NCCI then I read at WorkCompCentral – sorry, behind a paywall that the WCIRB is mulling the inclusion of the COVID-19-related claims in the X-Mods.

Reading the article further, the WCIRB will likely only count claims after September 1, 2022. (Whew!)

For a great set of slides on the WCIRB COVID-19 claim statistics, please check out this PDF file. 

What will likely occur is the NCCI and WCIRB will be handling the claims under CAT code 12 after September 1, 2022.


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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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