The Future for California Workers Compensation Insurance in 2017

As the confetti settles on our New Year’s celebration and the holidays come to an end, we are all finally easing into 2017. But what will this year bring to your business and how will this year affect the cost of your California workers comp insurance policy or future quotes? What kind of changes should be made to ensure everyone in your business is starting off this year on the right foot? With a new year ahead of us, there is no doubt that you have questions and concerns about your business and employees for the unforeseeable future. Let’s break down what we do know about all that this year has to offer:  its upside, downside, and what you can do to prepare for it all.

The Upside

According to California’s WCIRB, the 2012 workers comp reforms under SB 863 that were negotiated by labor union representatives and employers have decreased the following:

  • California annual workers comp costs by $1.3 billion
  • Benefit restrictions for injured workers
  • Cost of medical treatment by 10% which has led to more treatment accessibility as a result of reforms in many factors such as medical provider networks and medical reviews.

These decreases have proved to be beneficial for employers and employees by essentially cutting costs where it permits and expanding workers’ benefits where it’s needed.

The Downside

The start of this year continues to bring many increases that can negatively affect a workers comp policy or quote cost. Such increases include:

  • The number of claims
  • Insurance premium costs
  • Cost of healthcare  
  • Opioid drug use and physician-prescribed medications, which results in additional costs to healthcare insurance policies

However, by avoiding costs of physician-prescribed drugs and making sure claimants using opioid drugs have available weaning and prevention programs, employers can regulate some of these costs.

How to step in the right direction

Employers can still play a role in cutting the cost of their California workers comp insurance policies/quotes with the following guidelines:

  • Use Technology: Telemedicine is a convenient way to immediate treatment for injured workers as it provides a hotline that allows wounded employees to connect with healthcare professionals which can help prevent long-term injuries.
  • Keep in touch: keeping the line of communication open between employer and injured employee is more important than people realize. Even a check-in or status update can decrease the risk of depression, re-injury, or a lawsuit among the injured employees.
  • Teaming with Medicine Clinics: Through your insurance carrier/broker, you can work with occupational therapy clinics to help injured workers receive the best and fastest treatment to ensure their recovery. It is helpful to develop a relationship with a specific provider that specializes in work-related injuries. This will contribute to lower costs for you in the long run.
  • Safety First: Implementing wellness and safety programs in the workplace
  • Focus on recovery: The biggest factor in increasing the cost of a workers comp claim is the length of time the injured worker is not working. By focusing on decreasing the recovery time and getting workers back into the workplace quickly and safely, you will in turn decrease insurance quote costs.

Contact a broker with any questions or assistance on doing what you can to control the costs of your California workers comp quotes as you settle into 2017 and prepare for another solid year.