“The World of Cumulative Trauma”

We reported in January that, in a report published last December, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners showed average profits for Workers’ Compensation premiums in California rose to 12% in 2017, up from 8.5% in 2016. Nationally, the average profit was 7.9%, up from 4.6% in 2016.

The WCIRB also reported in December that for the first 9 months of 2018, employer premiums were down 3% from the same period in 2017.

Yet, the steady drumbeat from carriers is still the same old call to reduce payments to injured workers, with their target set on cumulative trauma claims.

The WCIRB released a report in October titled, “The World of Cumulative Trauma” with the intent of presenting a system rife with out-of-control claims driving up costs. In their own words: “Recently, although overall claim frequency and average indemnity and medical costs have been flat to declining, the proportion of claims involving CT has increased sharply.”

In other words, actual CT claims are down, but the proportion of claims involving CT has increased.

Let’s look at their report:

  • All recent growth in CT claims is in the Los Angeles and San Diego regions.
  • Growth in these CT claims is concentrated in manufacturing and hospitality.
  • From 2008 to 2016, the ratio of CT claims in the LA region’s hospitality industry doubled.
  • Seventy percent of the CT claims in LA and San Diego hospitality industry are injured workers earning less than $500 per week.
  • At least 52% of these injured workers need interpreters.

It’s no joke – they’re actually targeting overworked and underpaid immigrant workers in an attempt to eradicate the lifeline that is the cumulative trauma claim and further pad their profits.

When will the worker catch a break?