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Workers Comp Soft Market – How Did We Get Here?


Workers Comp Soft Market – Why Now?

Many presentations and articles have cropped up over the last year on the continuation of the Workers Comp soft market.  What does it mean for insurers, employers, and agencies?   Let us first look at the definition of a hard or soft market.

Soft Market Dynamics

Looking at the hard/soft market, one can start with the supply and demand model.  A hard market exists when the demand for insurance coverage outpaces the supply.  The unexpected post-pandemic soft market results from the capacity to write and renew policies outpaced the demand for those policies. 

From Investopedia – A General Definition –  The soft market will persist until supply and demand are brought into a new balance, or equilibrium, once prices fall sufficiently. A soft market involves a temporary market surplus until prices adjust.

Once buyers and sellers adjust their price offers and expectations lower, some suppliers may leave the market, and more buyers will be willing to buy, thus eliminating the surplus and ending the soft market.

According to Business Insurance on January 1, 2024, renewals – The line remains profitable for insurers, and employers have enjoyed reduced rates or flat renewals for the past several years, according to numerous market surveys.  Why are January 1, renewals so important? The largest number of workers comp renewals occur on January 1st.  

I included the below chart in an article from two weeks ago.  The differentiation between the workers comp soft market pricing and the other lines of insurance showed the pricing over the last six years.  Workers Comp remains a profitable line for carriers.

How long will the workers comp soft market continue?  As long as the line remains profitable for carriers, the soft market will continue for the near future, if not longer.  Individual states can cause a change in their market due to law changes and court cases.


casualty and workers comp pricing chart for 2023 - 2023







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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