It Takes Twice as Long to Close California Workers’ Comp Claims Compared to Other States
File this under the “I’m not surprised” file, it takes seven years to close most workers’ compensation claims in California, more than double the time in the median state.
The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California (WCIRB) released a report detailing duration drivers for California workers’ compensation claims.
The report, Drivers of California Claim Duration, describes duration drivers for California workers’ comp claims, including how claim duration differs regionally across the state.
Here’s the report:
Highlights of the report include:
- It takes seven years to close 90% of claims in California compared to three years for the median state.
- Longer California claim duration is driven by four “duration drivers,” including a higher share of permanent partial disability and cumulative trauma claims in California, greater utilization of medical-legal services in California and regional differences within the state.
- Claim closing rates rose steadily following the reforms of Senate Bill 863, particularly for PPD claims of lower-wage workers.
- Claim closing rates declined during the pandemic in 2020 and were relatively flat in 2021.
California, why do you have to make everything so complicated? [banging head on desk]
Source: Insurance Journal
Heightened Action in Cal/OSHA’s Task Force Enforcement
Southern California businesses have recently experienced a noticeable escalation of inspections and enforcement by Cal/OSHA’s Labor Enforcement Task Force Unit based in Santa Ana.
Unprecedented Hotel and Motel Labor Enforcement Task Force inspections are diligently being processed to verify whether these companies have a current:
- Housekeeper Ergonomic Written Plan (MIPP)
- Illness & Injury Prevention Plan (IIPP)
- Hazard Communication Plan/Checkup (Dealing with Chemicals & Toxic Materials)
Many small and mid-sized Southern California employers have overlooked these compliance requirements during the past several years but now must consider the strong possibility that their company will be visited soon.
So, Here’s The Big Question: ARE YOU READY?
A safety review and compliance check can save thousands of dollars in fines and citations.
If you would like help with this, contact me. I have trusted partners that provide large or small companies with comprehensive inspections – efficiently, quickly, and with total expertise. They can assist you in reviewing existing practices and then help you design policies and training that are compliant with 2022 new and evolving laws.
Be Observant When You’re Buying Insurance or Any Product or Service For That Matter
I’m working on some Worker’s Compensation insurance options for a referral which is a physician’s office. Very black and white with no question the proper classification is 8834 – Physician Practices and Outpatient Clinics.
This prospect received a “much less expensive” quote from one of the many carriers you see on every TV commercial break with their comedic ads. This quote was classified as a jewelry store with about a third of the total annual payroll. Of course, it is cheaper.
Folks, be observant when you’re buying insurance or any product or service for that matter. It’s only going to cost more in the long run if you don’t do your due diligence in reviewing and understanding what you’re buying. And most of that cost is YOUR time lost in trying to resolve the issue.
OSHA’s Updated COVID-19 Guidelines: What Businesses Should Do Now to Avoid Penalties and Legal Pitfalls
As businesses wait to see whether OSHA will issue emergency temporary standards and OSHA State Plans renew and consider their own standards, find out what your business can do now to get ready.
Hear from an OSHA 30 Certified legal specialist on the highlights of OSHA’s January 29, 2021 Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing of COVID-19 in the Workplace, how both management and employees play a role in developing and implementing the revised safety requirements, and how to minimize related legal risks.
In this pre-recorded webinar, AmTrust’s Kelley Barnett, VP Corporate Counsel – Labor and Employment and OSHA 30 Certified and Jeff Corder, VP of Loss Control shared:
- Why should businesses care about the updates, and what are the consequences of NOT caring?
- What do businesses need to know to implement OSHA’s guidelines?
- What changes should businesses implement to avoid compliance landmines and legal pitfalls and get ready for increased OSHA enforcement?
My Interview with Candy Messer on The Different Types of Insurance To Protect Your Business
Thank you to Candy Messer from Affordable Bookkeeping and Payroll Services for interviewing me on the topic of “The Different Types of Insurance To Protect Your Business” Some of the key items we discussed are:
- Tailoring Insurance Coverage for each unique business
- Commercial General Liability Insurance
- Workers Compensation Insurance
- Errors & Omissions (Professional Liability) Insurance
- Do home based businesses need a business insurance policy?
- Is business insurance required by law?
- Insurance for contractual requirements and lease agreements
- Employment Practices Liability Insurance
- The difference between Commercial General Liability and Errors & Omissions Insurance
- Cyber Liability / Data Breach Insurance
- How much does business insurance cost?
- Ways you can keep your insurance costs down
- Negotiating premiums with Carrier underwriters
Check out our interview together here:
Thanks for watching
California Assembly Bill 5 Means Changes for Workers’ Compensation Insurance
California Assembly Bill 5 (also known as CA AB 5) was signed into law in September 2019, implementing a new test all employers must use to determine if a worker is an employee or an independent contractor under the California Labor Code. The law may impact who you cover under your workers’ compensation insurance policy.
While the bill is effective January 1, 2020, the part that affects workers’ compensation insurance coverage goes into effect July 1, 2020.
Know The Facts
- The new legislation is not based on policy effective date. As of July 1, 2020, as an employer, you’ll be subject to the new test. This means that a worker could be classified as an independent contractor before July 1, 2020 and as an employee after July 1, 2020.
- If you’ve employed an independent contractor that can supply you with a certificate of workers’ compensation insurance that is effective during your policy period, he/she would not be considered part of your employee roster. You would not report payroll for him/her.
- In order to avoid an unexpected change in exposures at time of audit, you must include payroll for all employees defined by the statute as of July 1, 2020.
- The statute applies to businesses headquartered in California AND businesses headquartered elsewhere with employees working in California.
Got questions? Contact me. I’m here to help you with this law change in any way possible.
Two Things You Can Do Today to Lower Your Business Insurance Premiums to Weather the Coronavirus Storm
Last week was tough. Call after call, I spoke with business owners and others in management roles who are feeling scared and anxious right now for obvious reasons. Due to the effects of the Coronavirus, they’ve already had to either lay off staff or furlough their hours to save on operational costs.
Some were calling to inquire about canceling their insurance coverage entirely until we get through this storm. My advice has been that we might not need to go down that road right now.
Before taking such drastic matters, here are two things you can do today to lower your insurance premiums without sacrificing or eliminating your current coverage:
- Review your estimated annual sales with your commercial insurance agent/broker and make adjustments to your liability insurance policies. Liability insurance premium is typically rated in accordance with gross annual sales/revenues, subject to audit at the end of the policy term. Rather than wait for the audit at the end of your current policy term, adjust your policy now to get the premium down which will help save on your monthly costs.
- For your Workers Compensation insurance policy, review your estimated annual payrolls and make any adjustments now rather than wait for the annual audit or canceling the policy altogether. If you’re at a standstill and do not have any payroll, or very minimal payroll, make the adjustment now.
Insurance carriers are making billing accommodations and extending grace periods for cancellations by as many as 60 days. Call your insurance carrier billing departments right away and explain your situation. Do not wait. They’ll most certainly make accommodations based on the current state of affairs.
Times are challenging for the entire world right now, but I believe we’ll get through this just as fast as we were thrown into it. Although insurance premiums aren’t the only operational cost for a business, they are one that we can control now by taking these types of measures. By doing this and maintaining your coverage, you won’t have to go through the process of re-applying for insurance once things are back to “normal.”
This too shall pass.
Workers Compensation Insurance For Doctors
For all outpatient physician practices and clinics including physical therapists, acupuncturists, chiropractors, dialysis, x-ray laboratory services; and blood, body fluid, and tissue collection and testing.
We have a quality Workers Compensation insurance carrier applying major credits off the 8834 physicians class code. I haven’t found another carrier who can compete with them in this market.
I found this to be true for two of my clients in the past month as we marketed their workers’ compensation insurance policy renewals.
If you know of a doctor who is interested in us exploring this option on their behalf, please share this message. Now is a good time to start looking ahead at 2019 as you’re reviewing operational expenses and budgets.
OSHA 300A Summary Posting Reminder
It’s that time of year when employers are required to tally the number of entries on their “Log of Work-related Injuries and Illnesses” (OSHA Form 300), and post the “Summary of Work-related Injuries and Illnesses” (OSHA Form 300A) in a prominent location.
The OSHA Summary Form 300A is required to be posted in the workplace beginning Feb. 1, 2018, and must remain posted for the entire three months of February, March, and April. It should be in an easily visible location so that employees are aware of the injuries and illnesses occurring in their workplace.
Employers that had 11 or more employees the previous year — except those in certain low-hazard establishments in the retail, professional services, finance and real estate sectors — are required to maintain records of all work-related injuries and illnesses, and post the summary of their records for the 2017 calendar year.
Many employers under Federal OSHA are required to electronically submit the summary of injuries and illnesses to OSHA. To ensure your entire management team is aware of these changes, I suggest making OSHA’s Recordkeeping Rule one of your first training sessions of the new year.
Workers’ Compensation Fraud Billboard in San Diego
During a quick day trip down to San Diego last weekend, I caught this billboard from the San Diego County District Attorney which kind of took me by surprise. Picturing a handcuffed jail inmate it reads “Commit Workers’ Comp Fraud, Get A New Outfit.” In addition, “don’t do it, don’t tolerate it, report it” with a phone number to call right there. As a commercial insurance professional who sees’s businesses affected by this often, it was kind of refreshing to see actually. Here’s the sign:
Taken straight from the California Department of Insurance:
In California, workers’ compensation insurance is a no-fault system. Injured employees need not prove an injury was someone else’s fault in order to receive workers’ compensation benefits for an on-the-job injury. In addition to medical expenses being covered for injured employees, some injured workers are entitled to recover a portion of lost wages resulting from an injury. Fraudulent workers’ compensation claims can be an enticing target for criminals.
Workers’ compensation insurance fraud occurs in simple and complex schemes that often require difficult and lengthy investigations. Employees may exaggerate or even fabricate injuries. At the other end of the spectrum, white-collar criminals, including doctors and lawyers, entice, pay, and conspire with others to defraud the system by creating false or exaggerated claims, overtreating, and over prescribing harmful and addictive drugs. Insurance companies “pick up the tab,” passing the cost onto policyholders, taxpayers, and the general public.
The Workers’ Compensation Fraud Program was established in 1991. The legislature made workers’ compensation fraud a felony, required insurers to report suspected fraud, and established a mechanism for funding enforcement and prosecution activities. The legislation established the Fraud Assessment Commission to determine the level of assessments to fund investigation and prosecution of workers’ compensation insurance fraud.
Funding for the program comes from California employers who are legally required to be insured or self-insured. The total aggregate assessment for the fiscal year 2015-16 was $58,862,000.
During the fiscal year 2015-16, the Fraud Division identified and reported 5,380 suspected fraud cases; (SFCs) assigned 502 new cases, made 249 arrests and referred 167 cases to prosecuting authorities. Potential loss amounted to $193,354,616.
Workers’ Compensation Fraud Convictions