Rating Agency Calls for 7.2% Workers’ Comp Rate Cut

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Thanks to reforms enacted in 2014, California’s workers’ comp rating agency is recommending that the average benchmark rate be cut by 7.2% for policies effective July 1 and onward. The filing made by the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau is for the state’s pure premium rates, which are essentially the base rates to cover expected costs of claims and claims-adjusting expenses across all worker class codes. The rates are advisory only and insurers can price their policies as they wish, so there are no guarantees that any particular employer will see a rate decrease when their policy renews. The rate…
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Keep Injured Workers in the Loop to Reduce Claims Costs

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

One perennial topic in workplace safety is how to get injured workers back on the job as quickly as possible, and when it is safe to do so. The key, experts say, is to help the injured employee better engage in the workers’ comp system, so they have a better understanding of the claims process and what they can expect from it. Employers that have the best success actually advocate for the injured worker, instead of just giving them the standard booklets on what to expect and then leave them until they are healed up enough to go back to…
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Documenting Small Safety Incidents Key to Preventing Major Ones

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Studies show that for every major workplace injury or fatality, there are nearly 10 minor injuries – and more than 30 accidents that lead to property damage. Capturing data even on minor incidents that may seem trivial in isolation can be critical in informing efforts to prevent much greater dangers in the future. A big part of that effort involves ensuring businesses maintain a complete set of data. Managers at all levels should focus on solid and thorough documentation. Here is where management’s main effort should be concentrated: Don’t ignore minor incidents. Document all of them. Even if you have…
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New Law Reduces Ownership Requirement for Coverage Exemption

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A new law taking effect this year aims to ease the confusion caused by the implementation of new rules that define what constitutes an owner or officer who is exempt from having to carry workers’ compensation coverage. The new law, which was in the form of SB 189, last year once again changed the definition of employees and the permissible exclusions for workers’ comp purposes. Current law excludes from the definition of employee: • An officer or member of the board of directors of a quasi-public or private corporation who owns at least 15% of the issued and outstanding stock…
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When Injuries at Work Don’t Equal Workers’ Comp

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While injuries and deaths that occur while someone is carrying out their work on behalf of their employer are compensated by workers’ comp coverage, not all workplace injuries or deaths are compensable, as a recent court case shows. In the case, a heating and air conditioning technician died of a heart attack while working in an attic. But his wife was denied workers’ comp death benefits by the insurance company and a workers’ comp judge on the basis that the heart attack was not related to work. The decision by the judge was appealed and a state court recently ruled…
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Commercial Rates Climb in Wake of Higher Claims Costs, Catastrophes

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There is a confluence of factors affecting insurance rates going into 2018 that are pushing premiums higher in a number of commercial lines policies, including auto, liability and property. Increasing claims costs in commercial auto are at the top of the list, largely due to a spike in distracted driving accidents, injuries, deaths and higher costs to repair modern vehicles. Now, after the most expensive natural disaster season on record – hurricanes, floods and wildfires – premiums for commercial property are also on the rise. Workers’ compensation seems to be the outlier, as rates in most states have remained steady…
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Are Sleepy Workers Damaging Your Business’s Health?

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In June 2014, a truck driver from Georgia drove 800 miles from his home to his Delaware workplace. Without stopping to rest, he then got behind the wheel of a Wal-Mart tractor trailer and headed north. He rear-ended a limousine bus on the New Jersey turnpike, starting a chain-reaction crash involving six vehicles and 21 people. Comedy writer James McNair died and television comedian Tracy Morgan suffered serious injuries. The National Transportation Safety Board concluded that the driver, who had been awake for 28 hours, caused the crash because he was fatigued. Employers are increasingly becoming aware of the problems…
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Pallet Safety Key to Preventing Many Injuries

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If you have a warehouse and store products on pallets, you may not be aware that they present one of the most common workplace hazards. The most common injuries around pallets are when workers trip over them or step or fall on them. Sometimes employees will step on a wooden pallet for support to reach something up high. Also, an empty pallet that has not been put away creates a tripping hazard, and injuries from this cause are the most common. Many workers hurt themselves because they did not see the pallet or were not aware that it could break…
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Construction Dual Wage Threshold Changes

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For some construction classes, the Rating Bureau sets wage thresholds for which different rates apply due to significant differences claims and claims costs rates for workers who earn less and more than the threshold. Typically higher wage workers in these classes have fewer claims and less costly claims compared to their counterparts who are paid less than the threshold. The Rating Bureau updates the threshold when it notes changes in these costs. • Code 5190/5140 (Electrical wiring –within buildings): Threshold increases to $32 per hour from $30 per hour. • Code 5201(1)/5205(1) (Concrete or Cement Work – pouring or finishing…
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Three Troubling Trends Affecting Workers’ Comp

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

While U.S. employers are seeing fewer industrial accidents thanks to more employers putting a premium on workplace safety, some emerging trends threaten to seriously affect this trend and usher in higher workers’ comp premiums. Today, it’s not enough to just keep a safe workplace. You should have policies in place to avoid these emerging threats – and also instill them in management. Three particularly troubling trends are as follows: More workers injured in traffic accidents This is a biggie and one that’s harder for employers to manage. There has been a significant uptick in motor vehicle accidents in the last…
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