Insurance Commissioner Okays Benchmark Rate Decrease for California Employers

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California’s insurance commissioner has approved a recommendation to reduce average baseline rates on workers’ compensation policies by 7.8% at the mid-year mark. The mid-year reduction to the baseline rate is largely the result of reforms that were introduced in 2013 that have sped up the settlement process for claims (including many long-term claims), in addition to reducing medical costs. Also, because of these reforms the cost of adjusting workers’ comp claims in California has dropped over the past few years. Insurance carriers use the benchmark rate – also known as the pure premium rate – as a starting point for…
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Rating Bureau Recommends Benchmark Rate Decrease for California Employers

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IN A SURPISE move, the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California has filed a recommendation to reduce average baseline rates on policies by 7.8% at the mid-year mark. The mid-year reduction to the baseline rate is largely the result of reforms that were introduced in 2013 that have sped up the settlement process for claims (including many long-term claims), in addition to reducing medical costs. Also, because of these reforms the cost of adjusting workers’ comp claims in California has dropped over the past few years. Insurance carriers use the benchmark rate – also known as the pure premium…
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Pot’s Legal. What Does It Mean for Your Business’s Anti-drug Policies

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Now that Californians have overwhelmingly voted to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, many employers may be wondering where they stand if they want a drug-free workplace. Fortunately, Proposition 64 included a number of safeguards for employers, allowing them to have anti-drug workplace rules in place. In fact, these safeguards were built into the initiative to the point that the California Chamber of Commerce took a neutral stance on the measure. Prop. 64 would allow Californians who are 21 and older to possess, transport, buy and use up to an ounce of cannabis for recreational purposes, and allow individuals to…
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Measure Aims to Reduce Unnecessary Opioid Prescriptions

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Employers and insurers in California are enthusiastic about the prospects of legislation that aims to reduce the chances of injured workers getting hooked on opioids when they are recovering from workplace injuries. Senate Bill 482, which is sailing the through the Legislature, would require doctors to first check the state’s prescription drug monitoring system before writing a prescription for opioids. The bill is moving through the state Legislature after a new study found that doctors have been seriously curtailing the amount of opioid prescriptions they write to injured workers. The study found that stronger laws on prescription drug monitoring were…
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Agency Mulls Not Counting Portion of First Aid Claims in X-Mods

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California’s workers’ compensation rating agency is developing new guidelines that would exempt a portion of first aid claims from being included in the calculation of employers’ X-Mods. Under state regulations, employers are required to report injuries that require first aid and are not severe enough for the employee to seek medical treatment or miss work. But despite the rules, few employers report the claims to their insurance companies. The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau hopes that creating an exemption in the experience rating plan for first aid claims and injuries would increase reporting. According to the trade press, the Rating…
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Seven Tips for Navigating a Workers’ Comp Audit

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No business ever wants to be audited, but in the world of workers’ compensation insurance it’s a regular occurrence that does not need to be a stressful event. A workers’ comp audit by your insurer is common for most mid-sized or larger employers, and the audit threshold in California is $16,000 or more in annual premium. While many employers are used to audits and have their procedures and policies in place to ensure a smooth experience, some of you may be growing concerns that now are large enough to be subject to audits. The key to a workers’ comp audit…
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Agency Recommends Further Rate Cuts for California Employers

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The reforms that were ushered in by the state Legislature in 2012 seem to be paying off, with the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California recommending that benchmark rates be cut by an average of 5% in July. The Rating Bureau has forwarded its recommendation for a mid-year rate cut to the California Department of Insurance, and the insurance commissioner will hold a hearing on the filing likely in May. The filing was made in reaction to lower-than-expected medical cost development, as well as the cost of indemnity benefits per claim. The Rating Bureau is recommending that the average…
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New Workplace Notice Requirements Take Effect

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IF YOU have more than five employees you are required to have in place as of April 1 anti-discrimination, anti-harassment and complaint investigation policies. You are also required to post starting April 1 a notification to your employees about California’s pregnancy disability leave law. The regulations, updated by the California Fair Employment and Housing Council, were spurred by recent court decisions. If you have not done so, now is the time to review your anti-harassment, discrimination and retaliation policies. Steps You Need to Take Now • Include a mechanism that permits employees to complain to someone other than his or…
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