COVID claims less costly than non-COVID claims: WCIRB

In the first year of the pandemic, COVID-19 claims in workers compensation made up roughly 1/10th of claims and on average were less costly than non-COVID claims in almost every state, according to new analysis published Wednesday by the Workers Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California.

The COVID-19’s Impact on Workers Compensation report sourced data from 45 jurisdictions representing $630 million in COVID-19 incurred loss dollars and 80,000 COVID-19 claims, representing an average claim cost of $7,800.

By state, COVID-19 claim count shares varied from a low of 1% to a high of 29% with a median of 7.2%, the report found. Across all states, the share of COVID-19 incurred losses was lower than the share of claim counts, ranging from a low of 0.2% to a high of 12% with a median of 1.7%, according to the report.

One key factor driving differences in claim counts between states, WCIRBC says, is presumption legislation, which varies in how and to whom it applies. Another driving factor is that the average accident date varied between states due to the timing of initial and subsequent COVID-19 infection waves.

Including COVID-19 claims, most states saw a decrease in total claims between AYs 2019 and 2020. When excluding COVID-19 claims, all states saw a decrease in claims attributing to a 13% decrease nationwide.

This article was first published in Business Insurance.

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