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The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California, in collaboration with a number of other workers’ compensation rating bureaus, has released the COVID-19’s Impact on Workers’ Compensation report.

This benchmarking analysis included representation from the following WC bureaus: California, Delaware, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI).

This multi-bureau collaboration allowed for the creation of a COVID-19 claims database, which enabled the development of a more comprehensive view of COVID-19 claim characteristics and trends.

Key findings in the report include:

– – In California, COVID-19 claims represent 9 percent of total claim counts and 6 percent of total incurred losses.
– – Indemnity-only claims emerged as a significant share of reported COVID-19 claims.
– – In aggregate, COVID-19 claims that remained open have relatively higher case reserves due to the uncertainty of COVID-19 infections, later than average accident dates and the timing of the various waves of the pandemic.
– – COVID-19 indemnity claims closed more quickly than non-COVID-19 indemnity claims, partly driven by the large share of indemnity-only claims.
– – Despite the higher closure rate, the ratio of paid to paid plus case (incurred) severities on COVID-19 claims is lower when compared with that for non-COVID-19 claims.

And a new COVID workers’ compensation claim study has just been published in the February issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. The objective of the study was to examine the attributes associated with long duration COVID-19 workers’ compensation claims.

To meet this objective, a study was conducted on 13,153 COVID-19 WC claims accepted by a workers’ compensation insurance carrier between Jan 1, 2020 and November 30, 2021. The authors summarized their findings as follows:

1) Ninety five percent of accepted WC claims were closed within the study period;
2) Five percent of claims had 30-days or longer of lost time accounting for 65% of total paid WC costs;
3) Medical costs increased 8-fold once paid days lost crossed the threshold of 60 -days or greater;
4) Age was the strongest risk factor associated with increased WC costs and prolonged impairment.

The authors concluded by saying “Age at the time of infection was the major factor associated with prolonged impairment and high costs of COVID-19 related WC claims.”