California Private Self-Insured Claim Frequency Hit 14-Year High in 2021

Workers’ compensation claim frequency among California’s private self-insured employers last year hit the highest level since 2007 as both medical-only and indemnity claim volume rose, according to a California Workers’ Compensation Institute review of initial data from the state Office of Self-Insurance Plans.

OSIP’s annual summary of private self-insured data includes the total number of covered employees, medical-only and indemnity claim counts, and total paid and incurred losses on those claims through the end of the year. The summary reflects the experience of private self-insured employers who covered 2.39 million California employees last year and who reported 93,430 claims in 2021, 8% more than the 86,503 claims noted in the 2019 initial report.

Private self-insured employers reported 48,766 medical-only claims in 2021 (up 11.4% from 43,799 in 2020), though that was still 5.7% below the pre-pandemic total of 51,545 claims in 2019, according to the CWCI analysis.

Indemnity claim volume increased in both of the last two years, from 34,307 claims in 2019 to 42,724 claims in 2020, then climbing to 44,664 claims last year. The latest claim count translates to an overall frequency rate of 3.92 claims per 100 private self-insured employees, the highest combined rate since 2007, with indemnity claim frequency reaching the highest level in at least 15 years, according to CWCI.

The increase in claim volume and frequency helped drive up first report total paid and incurred losses. The OSIP data show paid losses on the 2021 private self-insured claims through the fourth quarter totaled $314.8 million, 17.3% more than the first report total for 2020, as total paid indemnity climbed by $22.2 million to $158.7 million, and total paid medical increased by $24.3 million to $156.1 million, according to CWCI.

CWCI members and subscribers may log on to the Communications section of the CWCI website for more details, analyses, and graphics.



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