According to Fitch Ratings, workers’ compensation saw a combined ratio of 92% for the previous year.
An immediate concern is the growing pressure from medical inflation, which had been somewhat tame in 2022. For the past year (ending Nov. 30, 2022), the medical consumer price index (CPI) was up over 4%, as compared to 1.7% during the same time frame in the previous year.
Workers’ compensation insurance is a critical component of employee safety. Recent years have seen workers comp claims frequency decline, thanks to an increased focus on risk management and safety in the workplace. However, Fitch Ratings, Inc. has warned that this trend could reverse due to unfavorable pricing trends, competition from other insurers, and other economic pressures.
Despite these risks, workers’ comp has remained a resilient insurance product. According to Fitch Ratings, the combined ratio for workers’ comp was 90% between 2017 and 2021. This suggests that the insurance industry is relatively healthy overall. However, Fitch Ratings has projected a modest change in this figure for 2022, estimating a combined ratio of 92% for the entire year.
The insurance industry’s direct loss ratio for workers’ comp has been strong in the first nine months of 2022. According to Fitch Ratings, this ratio stood at 47%, an 8.3% increase from previous years due to wage growth and payroll expansion. Additionally, flat or downward prices on workers’ comp insurance have made self-insuring less attractive, which could be a contributing factor in slowing policy count attrition. This is encouraging news for insurance providers and shows that there has been steady progress in the sector. With insurance companies continuing to innovate and expand their offerings, it looks like the insurance industry will remain a key player in the economy going forward.
However, the rating agency warned this premium growth is not likely to stand for a long time.
Fitch Ratings reports a 1% drop in workers comp renewal rates during the first three quarters of 2022 and are projecting this is going to happen for the first three quarters of 2023, driving prices to drop again.
But according to Fitch, the growing pressure from medical inflation is something everyone should be concerned about in 2023. This was not on our radar in 2022, now it is and we are here to assist. For the past 12 months (ending Nov. 30, 2022), the medical consumer price index (CPI) was up 4.2%. During the same time in 2021, the medical cost CPI was up 1.7%. We plan to provide the numbers for 2023, please follow us on social media for the latest updates.
Home insurance prices are spiking across the US responding in part to the fallout from more frequent extreme weather, which scientists attribute to climate change. Because of this, companies are raising rates and limiting coverage options.
Hundreds of smaller insurers are going out of business, unable to withstand the shock of multiple billion-dollar disasters. In states heavily hit by storms, wildfires and flooding, well-known providers have stopped accepting new policies entirely.
Companies say the upheaval reflects the huge number of claims in recent years, rising costs of repairs underlined by inflation, and growing risks in the years ahead, as climate-change induced catastrophes multiply.
Across the nation, premiums are expected to rise 9% this year to an average of $1,784 nationally, after jumping 7% in 2022, according to Insurify, an insurance comparison site.
The increases are far larger in the most at-risk places, such as Louisiana, where Insurify estimates that home insurance costs average more than $5,000 annually, up more than 65% since 2021. The crisis has forced a dramatic expansion in state-backed plans, which are funded by taxpayers and are often some of the highest cost options.
A recent NerdWallet survey found that about 3 in 5 people with homeowners insurance say their premium has risen over the past 12 months. And around 1 in 10 are worried their insurer will stop doing business in their state.
It’s a valid concern in the US. On the east coast, like Florida, for example, private homeowners insurance has gotten so scarce that Citizens, the state-funded “insurer of last resort,” is now its top property insurer by number of policies. Our partners in California are saying the same thing. Insurance owners are seeing record-breaking numbers when it comes to insurers no longer writing policies in the Golden State.
International news sites are backing up this information, too. An article from the BBC explains how climate change worsens heatwaves, droughts, wildfires and floods. All of these changes will cause longer heatwaves, extended droughts which cause more fuel for wildfires. When did Floridians ever have to worry about Canadian wildfires that are so strong, it disrupts the beautiful air quality for beachgoers? Welcome to the present.
As insurance availability shrinks and premiums rise, the shock is expected to force a reckoning in the property market in the US, reducing demand for homes in the areas at most risk from wildfires, heat and storms – many of the same places that have experienced recent rapid growth, as movers seek out sun, jobs and more affordable housing.
How to be Proactive
If you’re having a hard time affording insurance premiums, or you’re worried your insurance company will drop you at renewal, here are 5 things you can do to stay ahead of the game:
1. Do your research
Home and auto insurance premiums can vary dramatically by company. If you think you’re paying too much, do some shopping. Gather quotes from at least three different companies to make sure you’re getting the best deal possible. This approach worked for Harlan, who ultimately found a car insurance price she’s happy with.
2. Seek assistance
If your insurance options are limited, it may be time to recruit the help of an independent insurance agent. Local agents are familiar with your area and the companies still writing policies.
3. Adjust your coverage
You can lower the cost of insurance if you’re able to assume more of the risk yourself. For example, you may be able to raise deductibles or drop optional coverages you no longer need. Just don’t reduce coverage to the point where you’d be wrecked financially if catastrophe strikes.
4. Plan before a problem occurs
Insurers periodically inspect the homes they insure (or plan to insure). This is especially true for older homes in high-risk areas. Don’t give them a reason to drop or deny you coverage. Protect your home by clearing away nearby brush or overgrown trees, and make sure your roof and electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems are in good shape.
5. Prevent insurance lapse
While it may be tempting to skip paying a high premium, letting your insurance lapse can make a bad situation worse. Not only would you be fully responsible for any damages to your home or car, but future insurers may deem you risky to insure. This will likely translate into higher premiums when you decide to get insurance again, even if you had a valid excuse for the lapse. Not to mention, insurance is required if you have a car or mortgage.
This can be a tough situation, especially if you are a new home owner. That is why the Insurance Team at Simple Work Comp is here to assist with those needs. We have over 30 years of combined experience working in Florida and affected states. Let our experts find you the best rates today!
Could the legalization of cannabis and psychedelics in workers’ compensation complicate matters, or could it actually be a way to reduce costs? This is part-two of our Through The Haze series. You can find part one here.
Throughout history, cannabis has been used to treat various ailments, with ancient practitioners believing it could help with everything from arthritis to depression. The first reports stem back to 2800 BC in the pharmacopeia of Emperor Shen Nung, who is considered the grand-daddy of Chinese medicine. However, due to a lack of comprehensive research, it’s difficult to definitively say whether cannabis is truly effective in treating pain, inflammation, depression, and other conditions.
Nevertheless, many states with medical marijuana laws recognize its use as a pain reliever. A study conducted in 2017 found that 42% of medical marijuana users in the US reported using it for pain, with anxiety and insomnia being other common reasons.
One area where the science seems to be more settled is the use of THC to help those suffering from PTSD. Studies with large sample sizes have shown a positive impact. This means that if someone who experienced a severe workplace injury also struggles with PTSD, medical cannabis may help them regain a sense of normalcy in their lives. Compassionate care for the employee goes a very long way.
Can it be a gateway to getaway from harder drugs? Yes.
Researchers are exploring the possibility of combining THC or CBD with lower-dose opiates to enhance their benefits while minimizing the negative effects. The use of medical cannabis can lead to a significant reduction in opiate use, which is both cheaper and potentially safer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2022, more than 30% of workers’ comp claims involved at least one opiate prescription, and 27% involved multiple prescriptions.
Workers Compensation experts are seeing financial benefits to offering medical cannabis as an alternative treatment. Several cases in which transitioning a patient to medical cannabis has helped lower the projected costs from $550,000 to $100,000.
Moving on to psychedelics, there is emerging interest in their potential therapeutic applications. Recently, there has been growing interest in the idea that psychedelic substances, particularly psilocybin, could be an alternative treatment for both physical injuries and mental health issues.
Psilocybin, the primary active component in “magic” mushrooms, is one such psychedelic that is gaining attention. Although research on psychedelic drugs is limited, previous studies conducted in the 1950s and 1960s showed promise before federal prohibition halted further research.
Now, there is a renewed interest in psychedelics within the clinical space. Initial findings suggest that psychedelics may have a significant and lasting impact on chronic pain, addiction, anxiety, and depression, according to the UC San Diego’s Psychedelics and Health Research Initiative (PHRI). Some researchers believe that psychedelics may help rewire the brain, improving pain management and reducing pain perception.
Like any emerging therapy, there are risks associated with psychedelic drug use. Short-term risks include headaches, elevated heart rate, and nausea. Long-term risks and potential permanent damage are still being studied.
While both cannabis and psychedelics are shedding their street-drug stigma, it is unlikely that psychedelics will have as broad an impact on workers’ compensation as cannabis. This is primarily due to the limited recognized uses of psychedelics compared to the therapeutic applications of cannabis.
Ultimately, more research is needed to fully understand the potential benefits and risks of psychedelic therapies. Time will reveal the true impact of these treatments.
As a small business owner, you’re likely an expert in your field and have a passion for what you do. However, you probably didn’t start your business to deal with the complexities of human resources. That’s where a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) comes in handy.
PEO services provide a wide range of HR support, including payroll processing, benefits administration, workers’ compensation management, and more. But how can small business employees benefit from using PEO services? Let’s dive into some of the key advantages.
Here are three ways that small business employees benefit from using a PEO:
1. Lower Employee Turnover / Improved Retention Efforts: Recruiting and retention is essential for any business. The PEO services can help you enhance your recruiting efforts, from job posting, screening candidates, interview scheduling, and background checks, to hiring.
Moreover, with PEO back-end supports, you will get access to adequate resources that increase employee engagement while *reducing turnover.
* According to NAPEO.org, research shows that companies that use a PEO have an average employee turnover rate of 10 to 14% lower than the national average of 42% per year. This can lead to cost savings and improved stability for small businesses.
2. Start Saving Money: Using a PEO can help an employer save money over time by reducing their administrative costs, minimizing risk, improving compliance, and streamlining business processes. Since PEOs serve as employer-of-record, they handle the payroll, payroll taxes, and other employer-related taxes.
This means that small businesses can avoid mistakes and missed deadlines, eliminate audit risk, and save money in payroll management. Which, in turn, also benefits the employee.
3. Access to Expert HR Services: With PEO Services, HR professionals help you navigate your best strategies and practices that propel your interests, increase the quality of service or product, and overall profitability. A PEO also provides regular training and HR education opportunities, keeping you and your employees up-to-date on the latest workplace changes and regulations. Sometimes, small businesses often do not have the resources to employ a dedicated HR professional.
PEOs provide access to experienced human resource professionals as part of their services, helping small businesses comply with employment laws and assisting employees in understanding their rights and responsibilities. This can result in reduced risk and improved compliance for small businesses.
In summary, we want to help you make a positive impact towards your business efforts. When you are ready to move forward, or want to ask us any follow up questions, contact us today!
With insufficient research, this smoky area ends up causing more confusion than clarity, especially when it comes to its impact on work safety and accidents. This is part one of our new series. You can find part two here.
Grab your munchies. We plan to unpack this into a two-part blog series. Circle around as we delve into the unintended effects of cannabis legalization in the United States, specifically focusing on its implications for the workers’ compensation sector. You can find part two, about the unintended benefits to workers’ comp in the US here.
While the medical benefits of cannabis have been widely discussed, little attention has been given to how its legalization would affect work safety and the handling of accidents.
The Stone Cold Truth About Reimbursement for Medical Cannabis
Workers’ compensation systems across the country face a dilemma when it comes to determining whether injured workers should be reimbursed for their medical cannabis expenses. Currently, six states require reimbursement, six expressly prohibit it, and fourteen states leave the possibility of voluntary reimbursement open.
However, this issue is still evolving, with some states addressing it through amendments while others rely on court rulings. The prohibition of reimbursement is often based on the concept of federal preemption, which argues that states cannot legalize something that is federally banned. This leaves room for further debate and potential changes in the future.
Cannabis’ Impact on Workplace Accidents
The potential increase in accidents among cannabis users is a significant concern associated with the use of medical cannabis. However, studies on this matter provide conflicting views. A study published in the “Journal of the American Medical Association” found that employees testing positive for cannabis had higher rates of industrial accidents and injuries compared to those who tested negative.
In contrast, a 2020 study published in “Occupational Medicine” found no association between past-year cannabis use and work-related injuries. Limited research, due to federal restrictions on cannabis, contributes to the discrepancy, as studies rely on small sample sizes and self-reporting.
The Demand for Product: Clarity & Research
Although research on the impact of cannabis use on workplace injuries is limited, efforts are underway to expand research in this field. The Medical Marijuana and Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act aims to explore various aspects of THC-related subjects, including its efficacy as a painkiller and its impact on workplace injuries. With more comprehensive research, a clearer understanding of cannabis’s effects on work safety can be achieved.
Increasing Rates of Positive Tests
According to a report from Quest Diagnostics, the number of employees testing positive for cannabis following work-related accidents reached a 25-year high in 2022. While slightly over 7% of the general U.S. workforce tested positive for cannabis, the overall positivity rate for all drugs stood at 4.6%. These statistics highlight the need for employers to address the implications of cannabis use in the workplace.
The Challenge of Detecting Intoxication
Proving intoxication at the time of an accident involving cannabis can be challenging. THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis, can be detected in a person’s system for up to 30 days after use. This makes it difficult to determine if an individual was under the influence during the incident. However, advancements in testing methods, such as THC breathalyzers, are emerging. Companies like Hound Labs, Inc. are developing breathalyzers that can detect cannabis within a three-hour window after use, providing a narrower timeframe for determining recent consumption.
The Complexities of THC Intoxication
Unlike alcohol intoxication, which has established scientific methods for measurement, determining THC intoxication is more complex. There is no standardized spectrum of THC intoxication, making it challenging to correlate THC levels with specific impairment levels. THC breathalyzers may be more effective as a preventive tool, ensuring employees are not impaired before undertaking hazardous tasks.
In conclusion, the legalization of cannabis has introduced a gray area in the realm of work safety and accidents. Questions surrounding reimbursement for medical cannabis and the impact of cannabis on workplace injuries remain unanswered. While research in this field is limited due to federal restrictions, ongoing efforts to expand research may shed more light on these issues. As the use of cannabis becomes more prevalent, employers must navigate the complexities of detecting intoxication and implementing appropriate policies to maintain work safety standards.
Do you have staff that can handle this type of request? Are you the manager, trying to handle all the workers’ comp claims? We can help with this, it’s simple!
There are three key factors that go into calculating a workers’ compensation (WC) premium:
The rate assigned to each payroll classification in your business,
The total amount of your payroll for each classification,
Your experience modification factor.
From an employer perspective, only one of the three key factors can be managed and lowered without a reduction of your staffing needs: the experience modification factor, also known as the “mod.”
The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI,) or your state department of insurance typically determines the amount of risk assigned to payroll for each classification. The amount of payroll is a variable in the premium calculations.
Employer tip: staff as needed as the Workers’ Comp premiums should not be a deciding factor when hiring someone.
As an employer, are you wondering: “How can we reduce our mod?”
First step is understanding the purpose of a mod. The mod is a numeric representation of your business claim history. It represents the last three years of claim payments that were submitted on your behalf. The mod assigned to your job classifications is a comparison of your claims record to that of all other employers in your state with the same job classification code(s).
If your claim history and claim payments are above average, your mod will be above average (1.00) and your work comp premium will be above average as well.
On the contrary, if your claim payments and claim history is below average, your mod will be lower than average and your work comp premium will be lower than average.
Here are some examples of how this works when your claims history for a job classification code is twenty percent better and when it is twenty percent worse than other employers in your state with the same job classification codes.
The wise employer will utilize one of several methods that have proven to lower the mod:
Create a return-to-work program
Implement and enforce an effective safety program
Refrain from using uninsured subcontractors
Review your job classifications to verify that every employee is properly classified
Register to be part of a group rating
Let’s discuss these ways of lowering your mod.
A Return-to-Work Program:
A properly designed return to work program will have a great impact on your workers’ compensation cost.
When an injured worker returns to light or modified work duty, the cost of the Workers’ Comp claim can be reduced by a great amount.
One example: if an injured worker hurts their arm, and the employee’s direct report decides to deny the employee to return to work on light duty, and refuses to bring the employee back.
The injured worker’s pay is $500 per week
It will take up to 20 weeks for the employee to fully recover from the injury.
The employee’s supervisor makes the decision that they do not want to be bothered with having an employee on light duty and refuses to take the employee back on hiring terms.
The total amount of the claim will be included in the mod calculations for the next three years of premium.
If the Risk Manager has established a mandatory return to work program, the supervisor would:
Bring the employee back to work on light or modified duty during their rehabilitation period.
Save the company what would have been paid in indemnity or lost wage benefits.
And, while the injured employee may not be working at their full potential, the employee still provides value to the company and does not require training staff to cover their tasks.
However, the biggest impacts of the return-to-work program are:
The claim history is lower
The lower claim payments will be utilized in the calculation of the mod for the next three premium years.
A Strong Safety Program:
A safe workplace is key to lowering your mod. An effective safety program will result in less accidents and less injuries.
With less injuries, the claim payment history will be lower.
The lower the claim payment history, the lower the mod and the lower the work comp insurance premium will be.
If your safety program could use some help, please contact us to request our safety kit. You can also hire safety consultants who are trained to identify safety hazards. Implement the recommended safety changes and require safety training for all employees.
Refrain From Using Uninsured Subcontractors:
Failure to confirm proper WC insurance coverage is a common mistake made by employers when hiring subcontractors, especially in the construction fields. The use of self-insured subcontractors with their own WC coverage is important to the control of your mod because:
Subcontractors will be covered by your WC insurance if they do not have their own coverage and are injured while working for you.
This will increase the premium your company will owe at the year-end premium audit.
It will increase your company’s mod for the next three policy years.
It is well worth the effort to document the WC coverage of every subcontractor your company hires.
Employer Tip: Review Your Job Classifications
The overall loss experience of your company compared to the claim history of field managers in general could result in a mod factor lower or higher than it should be.
Going through the steps of carefully reviewing each employee’s classification type may result in savings to your company (or an increase in your premiums, but you avoid that whole crime called committing fraud, which is always a plus).
Become a Part of a Group Rating:
A lot of insurers will offer group rate discounts to recognized parties. The effect of the group discounts on your mod is due to most rating groups not accepting your company if your loss experience is above average.
Normally new companies are not allowed into a group rating, because you need to claim three years of loss experience to calculate the mod, it is a requirement. Before joining a group for the benefit of the group mod, be sure the group mod is lower than the mod your business by itself.
Does every company have an experience modification?
Does every company have an experience modification?
Similar to everything else in workers comp, experienced modifications vary by state. If the employer is pure self-insurance with no excess carrier and no large deductible, there is no need for an experienced mod. But, many states impose premium tax on self-insureds just like they do on regular insurance companies so the self-insured still has to track and report their loss and loss ratio. If the employer is self-insured up to a high deductible, the excess carrier will still report the loss information to NCCI and an e-mod is calculated for the self-insured employer.
The only real way to lower your workers’ compensation premium in many states is to lower your experience modification factor.
The best ways to lower your mod include:
Create a return-to-work program
Implement and enforce an effective safety program
Refrain from using uninsured subcontractors
Review your job classifications to verify that every employee is properly classified
70% of work comp policy reviews result in lower premiums for our clients.
Need help now? Call us: 1-866-684-5684
The insurance industry is very competitive and despite what you may think, this competitiveness gives you an advantage that comes with options!
Running a business takes time, and I have yet to find a business client of ours who has too much time on their hands and has expressed joyously how excited they were to shop around for insurance. Especially workers’ comp insurance; and if the only option is getting comp coverage coverage from the state, then “forget about it”. You’ll have to jump though hoop after hoop for then minimum coverage just to stay in business.
On the other hand, I have heard satisfied clients of ours who were overjoyed to hear when we were able to lower their work comp premiums while also reducing their burdens of finding work’ comp insurance.
Work Comp Expiring?
If your work comp policy is expiring soon, then you owe it to yourself to get your policy reviewed before your renewal date. Loyalty is seldom rewarded in the insurance industry when it comes down to suffering claims and losses. It doesn’t matter how much you paid in the past, you will pay much more at renewal, and that’s if you’re not being dropped completely.
Know your Options
You should know what your renewal options are. Chances are your current insurance carrier won’t be supplying you with a competitive quote upon your renewal. It is what it is, and you’ll have to sign. Don’t get cornered with a last-minute renewal policy!
Simple Work Comp offers free work comp policy reviews as well as business insurance reviews for businesses of all sizes and every industry. (Request a review) Our insurance consultants are experts in insurance risk and the insurance risk marketplace.
We will review your coverage and find you an alternative quote against your current carrier.
About Insurance Carriers
All insurance carriers are not created equal. Different insurance carriers have different appetites. Which means, your business and your specific industry risk may not fit with what they are willing to insure; and if you do decide to go with their coverage (out of convenience), you may end up paying more.
We understand insurance carrier appetites and are on top of who’s insuring this risk vs that risks with a better rate.
Need help now? Call and speak with an insurance consultant: 1-866-684-5684
Explore your Options and WIN
Simple Work Comp can help you explore your insurance options win without endlessly wasting your time & breath speaking and explaining your life’s business to everyone.
With one phone call, we’ll handle it all.
It’s time to take control of your work comp insurance costs.
Did you know?
You can have work comp coverage?
Without paying large down payments.
Without having to suffer end of year audits with extra fees.
Without long-term contracts.
Only pay for what you use.
With pay-as-you-go weekly payments.
About Simple Work Comp
Simple Work Comp is part of an independent group of companies that broker and specializes in workers compensation insurance and employee related costs since 1999.
Small Business Saturday is November 30th and if you are a small business owner, you obviously know about your customers and all about running your business. Business owners are our customers and we know cutting the stressful things out of our customers daily operations gives them more time to focus on making their customers happy; and that makes us happy.
More businesses succeed when trusting to use a reputable partner to assist them with tasks and purchases that cost them the most time and money. Whether its finding adequate business insurance coverage, flawless payroll administration, or any other line of products associated with employee costs savings and tax liabilities, our business experts/agents do whatever it takes to be our customers’ difference maker.
We understand there are plenty of options to choose from when it comes to shopping for business insurance or payroll administration; and those by themselves can be confusing.
Our customers choose us because of our years of experience and unmeasured willingness to address all their questions and concerns before ever having to purchase anything.
Being independent from carriers and having exclusive agreements allow us to give our customers what suits them best at competitive and affordable rates.
So, if you are a business owner and would like to talk about the possibilities of seriously saving time & money on peace of mind business insurance as well as eliminating business administration headaches.
Contact us to have your Florida Workers’ Comp Rates verified.
OIR Orders Larger Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rate Decrease for 2020
Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier issued an Order on Rate Filing on Thursday, October 24, 2018 to the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) requesting an amended filing to reduce workers’ compensation rates by 7.5 percent for 2020.
The Order notifies NCCI that the rate filing submitted for a 5.4% rate decrease has been disapproved and, if amended by November 4, 2019, will be approved with the larger workers’ compensation rate decrease.
Approval of a revised 7.5 rate decrease is contingent on the amended filing being submitted with changes as stipulated within the Order. If approved by the OIR, the revised rate decrease would become effective on January 1, 2020, for new and renewal business.
SimpleWorkComp helps business obtain affordable Florida Workers’ Compensation Rates.
Our team provides small business with the highest quality coverage at the most competitive rates in the industry.
Over the past 20 years, thousands of business owners have come to discover the best coverage, services, and rates that are only offered by SimpleWorkComp. With over 100 years of combined experience, our full service staff will analyze your business to find the most competitive provider for your specific situation. We are able to negotiate the absolute lowest rates even for difficult to place industries such as construction!
We are a leader in the workers’ compensation industry for two reasons, our service and experience! We provide everything the small business owner needs in one convenient location and treat each client like a VIP because to us you are! Beginning with the first phone call, you can expect complete satisfaction each and every step of the way.
Still not sure we can help?
Contact one of our expert staff completely free of charge at 1-866-684-5684! We are always here to help and happy to answer your questions about Workers’ Compensation Insurance.