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Workers Compensation Insights

Workers' Compensation Benefits Part of the COVID-19 Debate. ​​The question of the scope – or frequency – of workers’ compensation claims attributable to COVID-19 will be resolved, likely as not, initially by the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) and then the appellate courts. This will take time, just as it did a century ago in the case of the case of San Francisco v. Industrial Accident Commission (1920), 183 Cal. 273, a two-year long fight by the widow of a hospital steward who died from Spanish Influenza. It will also depend on actions taken by the Legislature in what promises to be an abbreviated session for 2020. Already, presumptions for certain workers are being demanded by worker advocates. 

​There is also a host of questions regarding the effect of the economic loss created by COVID-19 on the workers’ compensation insurance marketplace. That is for another time, but it should be noted that a precipitous drop in payroll may indeed result in higher rates in order to pay claims. This is particularly the case if there is an expansion of compensability for workers contracting COVID-19 beyond the classifications of employment most at risk. There will also likely be a considerable amount of premium returned to policyholders whose payroll has sharply been reduced after their current insurance policy was written. This is not to suggest there is a solvency issue looming on the horizon. It is to suggest, however, that the current antiquated statutory deposit required of insurers is tying up resources which could be put to better use elsewhere.

Workers' Compensation Insights is the publication of Prop 23 Advisors.   Subscribers will receive in depth analyses of pending California legislation and regulations, review of important WCAB and appellate court decisions, and commentary on trends within the system both nationally and in California. Insights is published bi-monthly subject to the timing of significant legislative activity in Sacramento.

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The Risk in A.M. Best's Innovation Scoring

​​​​​​​​​​​​In this Edition of Insights:

  • Compensability of COVID-19 to be addressed in Sacramento.
  • The CPRA Initive needs to go away. 
  • Labor issues demands for California Legislature - workers' comp presumptions on the table.
  • DWC issues guidance on telehealth evaluations - more questions raised than answered.
  • County of San Francisco weighs in on AB 5 classification issues.
  • Congress looking at pandemic insurance program.