To our Colleagues in the California Workers’ Compensation Community,
The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California (WCIRB) started 2016 with a great sense of pride and accomplishment, reflecting the distinction of our organization’s centennial milestone of service to California’s workers’ compensation community. Led by the dedication and innovation of our staff, we have strategically transformed and modernized the WCIRB over the past four years and paved the way to a bright second century.
As we embark on our second hundred years, we do so with even greater customer focus across the breadth of the workers’ compensation spectrum. Through broad customer outreach, we are actively collaborating to identify product opportunities and services that expand access to information and deliver new insights into the state of the system and its specific cost drivers. Our Senate Bill No. 863 WCIRB Cost Monitoring Report – 2015 Retrospective Evaluation revealed that total SB 863 savings are emerging greater than initially projected. Areas showing significant system-wide savings include reforms on liens and spinal implant surgeries, new fee schedules for physicians and ambulatory surgery centers, and reduced utilization of medical services. However, our Report also indicated that frictional costs, which were projected to decline with the SB 863 reforms, are increasing throughout California. The WCIRB will continue to monitor and annually report on the ongoing effects of SB 863.
In the fulfillment of our core mission as California’s licensed rating organization and the Insurance Commissioner’s designated statistical agent for workers’ compensation, the WCIRB remains committed to fostering a healthy workers’ compensation system. Among our efforts of the last several years, we have implemented significant enhancements to California’s Experience Rating Plan including:
- Effective 2015, a limitation was added to restrict the impact of a single claim in the experience period to no more than 25 percentage points, reducing volatility in experience ratings for small experience rated employers.
- Effective 2016, the basis of experience rating eligibility was shifted to expected loss rates (included as part of the WCIRB’s annual June regulatory filing) from pure premium rates (typically approved in November), in order to accelerate the timing of the WCIRB’s issuance of experience modifications to employers. With this shift, which was approved by the Insurance Commissioner, the WCIRB issued 80% of all January 2016 experience modifications more than 90 days prior to policy expiration (compared to 25% under the prior years’ approach based on approved pure premium rates).
- Effective 2017, the Insurance Commissioner’s approved variable split point formula will be implemented. This significant change will vary the primary/excess loss split point based on an employer’s size (expected losses), reducing volatility for smaller employers, enhancing the actuarial performance of the Experience Rating Plan, and allowing for future simplification of the experience rating formula.
During 2015, the number of customer touch points with the WCIRB exceeded 2 million for the first time in company history. We expect to see continued growth in 2016 and beyond as additional online features are implemented, like our new coverage search capability for insurer claims adjusters that was launched in March 2016. New outreach efforts include ‘WCIRB Mod Talks’, a series of interactive webinars addressing the 2017 experience rating changes. The first webinar in this series garnered our highest customer attendance to date with over 300 online attendees and more than 150 viewing the recorded event.
Looking ahead, we are focused on several strategic, multi-year initiatives to further transform our customers’ experience with the WCIRB. Among those on the horizon are:
- WCIRB CompEssentials™ – our online e-learning system designed to deliver flexible, on demand training for insurers, agents and brokers and other customer segments. CompEssentials will provide licensed agents and brokers with the opportunity to earn continuing education units.
- Comprehensive Risk Summary Report (CRS) – designed to streamline workers’ compensation insurance by enabling authorized agents and brokers the ability to access consistent, objective, trusted WCIRB historical information and data on both experience rated and non-experience rated policyholders.
- WCIRB Connect® – the WCIRB’s most widely used online service. With the future release of a ‘My Favorites’ customization, Connect users will be able to quickly access on one page the features and policyholder information they utilize most often.
In addition, we continue to pursue the integration of external data sources with WCIRB data to identify new perspectives to enhance pure premium ratemaking and industry research, as well as shape ideas for potential new products and services in the years to come.
We are thankful for the overwhelming support and involvement of the WCIRB’s membership and our other stakeholders. With this foundation and clear vision for the future, the WCIRB’s second century of service is off to a strong start!
As always, we welcome your feedback and invite your suggestions about how the WCIRB can better serve the workers’ compensation community. You can reach me directly at [email protected].
Our best to your continued success,
Bill Mudge, President and CEO