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The California workers’ compensation system is established, administered and interpreted on a statewide basis. Nevertheless, there are sharp differences in cost characteristics across regions of the state.

To reflect those differences, the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California (WCIRB) released the 2023 WCIRB Geo Study, which underscores regional differences in claim characteristics across California. The web-based interactive map allows you to quickly view key measures across regions.

The study, related exhibits and mapping of nine-digit zip codes to the regions referenced in the study are available in the Research section of the WCIRB website.

The study’s key findings include the following:

– – Even after controlling for regional differences in wages and industry mix, indemnity claim frequency is significantly higher in the Los Angeles (LA) Basin and significantly lower in the San Francisco Bay Area.
– – The share of larger indemnity claims (those with incurred costs greater than $250,000) at fifth report level tends to be higher in regions that have lower indemnity frequency. Northern California regions, including the Bay Area and Peninsula/Silicon Valley, tend to have higher shares of larger indemnity claims.
– – Between Policy Year (PY) 2020 and 2021, the median injured worker’s average weekly wage increased in all regions. The increases were larger in most of the central and southern parts of the state. The median wage in these regions has often been lower than the statewide average.
– – The share of cumulative trauma (CT) claims as a percent of all claims decreased for almost all regions from policy year 2020 to 2021. The largest decrease was in LA/Long Beach, which has a high overall level of CT claims. The decreases were also relatively high in the San Bernardino/West Riverside, Bay Area and Sonoma/Napa regions, which have lower than average shares of CT claims.
– – With the adoption of the new medical-legal fee schedule in April 2021, medical-legal costs increased in nearly all regions from PY 2020 to 2021. They remained significantly higher in the LA Basin, Orange County and Santa Monica/San Fernando Valley regions than in the remainder of the state.

Four new maps, highlighting differences in the prevalence of permanent disability claims, loss ratios and loss development at the seventh report level, as well as litigation rates, are provided in this year’s study.