Insight, analysis & opinion from Joe Paduda

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First up at NCCI – Work comp is looking better…

Workers’ comp net written premiums for funds and insurers were up substantially – 6 percent – over 2013, making for the 4th consecutive year of premium growth.

Meanwhile, the combined ratio for private carriers improved as well – down 4 points to 98, driven by a drop in loss adjustment expense, underwriting expense and loss costs.  State funds saw their combined stay flat at 115.

And yes, the industry returned a pre-tax operating gain  of 14% – NOT to be confused with “profits” or “return” – more on that in a later post.

This was driven in part by a decline in claim frequency – a continuation of a two-decade-plus downward trend in frequency.

This was the introduction to NCCI’s 2015 AIS provided by President and CEO Steve Klingel.  Klingel noted that the industry is rarely able to sustain profitability for very long; factors that may drive changes include the Feds’ moves on interest rates, employment growth, and changes in what defines “employee” and “employer”.

Noting the March OSHA document – essentially an indictment of workers’ comp, legal challenges in FL and OK, and press reports about individuals apparently mis-served by the work comp system (likely referring to the ProPublica/NPR series, much of which has been challenged here and elsewhere), Klingel’s sense is there may well be storm clouds in the near future for work comp.

Next up – the State of the Line…


Joe Paduda is the principal of Health Strategy Associates



A national consulting firm specializing in managed care for workers’ compensation, group health and auto, and health care cost containment. We serve insurers, employers and health care providers.



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