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The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California (WCIRB), in collaboration with nine other workers’ compensation rating bureaus, has jointly released COVID-19 and Workers’ Compensation – Phase II of the Multibureau Collaboration.

This updated study includes two years of claims data – Accident Years (AY) 2020 and 2021 through year-end 2021 – from the following workers’ compensation bureaus: California, Delaware, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI).

One result of this effort is the creation of a COVID-19 claims database, which includes a comprehensive view of COVID-19 claim characteristics and trends. The analysis does not include experience from self-insured employers or denial and expense-only claims.

Key findings in the report include:

– – This analysis relied on data from 45 jurisdictions, representing $1.1 billion in COVID-19-related losses from about 117,000 claims. The average claim cost during the two-year period was approximately $9,600.
– – On average, COVID-19 claims decreased from 11 percent of workers’ comp lost-time claims reported in AY 2020 to 4 percent in AY 2021 across the jurisdictions included in the study.
– – For California, COVID-19 claim shares were somewhat higher in 2020 with 13 percent of lost time claims involving COVID-19. For 2021, the California COVID-19 claim share of 4 percent was similar to the national average.
– – Approximately 75 percent of reported COVID-19 lost-time claims were from the healthcare sector, while that sector only accounts for about 9 percent of non-COVID-19 lost-time claims.
– – In California, with its relatively broad presumptions, about one-half of COVID-19-insured employer claims were from the healthcare sector.
– – The share of COVID-19 claims and losses was largest in the second and fourth quarters of AY2020.
– – COVID-19 was not a significant loss driver for most industry segments.
– – However, COVID-19 claims in the Healthcare sector accounted for nearly 50% of all lost-time claims and more than 20% of paid+caselosses.
– – For most states, the largest share of COVID-19 claims has been in the Healthcare industry sector.
– – Although COVID-19 claims have been a significant driver of overall claims for the Healthcare sector, COVID-19 claims represent a small share of claims for other industries.
– – Healthcare with Overnight Care (which includes retirement homes and nursing homes) had the highest relative share of COVID-19 claims.
– – Healthcare workers have had the highest share of indemnity-only claims (60%) and a relatively low share of medical-only claims (15%).
– – Most hospitality-industry claims have been medical-only (71%).
– – Average severities are relatively consistent among years.
– – Severities for both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 claims were relatively stable across years.
– – On average, COVID-19 claims have closed faster than non-COVID-19 claims, primarily due to the higher prevalence of indemnity-only COVID-19 claims.

This updated report confirms significant findings from the WCIRB 2020 report and includes additional insights on industry sector and accident-quarter metrics. Claim and loss activity varied across jurisdictions, impacting individual states and sectors differently and at varying times. Uncertainties remain about the long-term impact of COVID-19.