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Feb 9, 2011

North Carolina Workers Comp - Shocker!

When I first read the conclusion of a study published by The Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI), I thought there must be a mistake. For many years, Workers Comp had been a bargain in NC when compared to other states. That result was $42,000 paid per Workers Comp claim.

That seemed astounding to me. How can NC be the highest of all 16 states in the study? One of the drivers was medical cost. The researchers attribute the increase in costs to growth in medical payments, a longer duration of temporary disability and more frequent and higher payments for partial permanent disability.

As I have mentioned very often, the Workers Comp E-Mod system is a time-lag system. What happens today may not affect your premiums for up to 4 years. My main concern is the overall experience OF THE WHOLE MARKET for Workers Comp, in NC, will change. Your company's E-Mod may not increase that much if your competitors are all paying out more for claims.

Unless I am mistaken, this means the rates for each Workers Comp Code will increase across the board or some Class Codes are really going to feel the pain in a few months.

I was going to access the WCRI report. I do not think that is necessary as the areas of disability payments (temporary total and permanent partial) along with medical payments were increased.

I am going to research this info more. If I find any peculiarities or major implications, I will post on it.

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2 Comments:

Blogger wcclaimsguy said...

One of the big problems in North Carolina has always been that you can only stop total disability benefits with a return to work or a hearing. If the employee is released to work, but refuses to do so, you have to file for hearing and try to get benefits stopped that way. This takes time, and costs money.

About the time you file for hearing, they get an attorney, who sends them to a different doctor, who says they can't work. The Judges tend to rule in the injured workers' favor on any dispute, so the disability goes on and on an on. You end up overpaying a clincher (settlement) to close out the claim because without doing that, benefits can go on forever.

9:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is zero need for workers' comp reform in NC. We have a system that provides good benefits to injured workers at a low cost. This reform is being pushed by big business and insurance compaines who are using skewed reports to further their cause. This so called reform will do nothing for the people or businsee owners of ths state.

Hearings to cut off benefits are easily plead, held over the telephone and are already granted on a very frequent frequent basis if there is sufficient evidence.

Key Facts to Consider

Claim: Corporations say workers’ compensation rates are costing North Carolina jobs.
Fact: In 9 out of the last 10 years, Site Selection Magazine has ranked North Carolina the best place in the country to do business.
Fact: Even during the recession, North Carolina was 4th in nation in new jobs created over the last 12 months.
Fact: The rate -- set by the Commissioner of Insurance -- that employers pay for workers’ compensation insurance has dropped 21.9% since 1995.
Fact: North Carolina’s workers’ compensation costs are lower than South Carolina’s or Tennessee’s. (They are higher than Virginia’s but we provide substantially better benefits to injured workers.)
Fact: No injured worker can receive workers’ compensation benefits of more than 2/3rd of his or her salary.
Fact: Regardless of the pre-injury wage, the maximum benefit any injured worker can receive for lost wages is $836 per week.
Poll: In October 2010, Public Policy Polling asked registered voters if they favored cutting off benefits to disabled workers after 500 weeks. 66% of the voters said No, while only 14% said Yes. Opposition to a cap on workers’ compensation benefits cuts across both ideological and party lines. It is opposed by Liberals (78%), Moderates (67%) and Conservatives (60%); and by Democrats (72%), Republicans (62%) and Independents (56%).

10:05 AM  

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