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Workers’ compensation insurance executives gathered in San Francisco alongside public policymakers and other industry stakeholders on June 13 to attend the WCIRB Annual Workers’ Compensation Conference. The conference agenda included two speakers well-known to the workers’ compensation industry -David DePaolo, founder and president of WorkCompCentral, and Dave Bellusci, Executive Vice President and Chief Actuary at the WCIRB.

David DePaolo kicked off the morning session with a discussion of the role of the media in a healthy workers’ compensation system. As a frequent blogger and founder of an online news outlet, Mr. DePaolo has a unique, first-hand view of the role that new and traditional media plays in our society and the workers’ compensation industry.

Following Mr. DePaolo’s presentation, the WCIRB’s Dave Bellusci discussed the latest workers’ compensation industry results and made the following observations:

  • California written premium continues to grow at a double-digit rate due to increases in average rates and total payroll
  • Average insurer rates have increased sharply in 2012 and 2013
  • After increasing in 2010, indemnity claim frequency has remained relatively flat, while claim frequency in other states have declined
  • Claim severity trends are moderating, however, pharmaceutical costs continue to increase sharply
  • Expense ratios declined in 2012 with increasing premium levels and the loss adjustment expense severity trend is moderating
  • The accident year 2012 combined ratio decreased significantly in 2012, but remains above the national average.
  • SB 863 is estimated to moderate claim cost trend in 2013 and beyond and the WCIRB will continue to actively monitor the impact of the bill as data becomes available.

In the afternoon session, WCIRB President and CEO Bill Mudge moderated a panel discussion entitled SB 863 – A View from the Front Lines. Panelists included claims management professions, medical experts from private practice and the Division of Workers’ Compensation, an independent medical review expert, a workers’ compensation defense attorney and an applicant attorney, and a Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board Judge. Each panelist offered attendees his/her view of SB 863 based on their direct experience implementing the law.