Insurance: Workers' comp payments rise 8% in 2013

Medical-loss payments last year increased 8.3 percent to $5.2 billion, according to the latest annual report from the Workers' Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California.

That amounts to 61 percent of total loss payments, according to the San Francisco-based bureau. Of those payments, $1.9 billion were paid to physicians for medical treatment, $1.5 billion directly to injured workers, $800 million to hospitals, $500 million to pharmacies and $200 million to medical-legal expenses, according to the bureau.

Medical-cost-containment programs in 2013 totaled $446 million, up 7.7 percent from $414 million the previous year.

Indemnity benefits in 2013 totaled $3.4 billion, or 39 percent of payments. Of that total, temporary disability benefits totaled $1.6 billion, while $1.4 billion went toward permanent partial disability benefits.  

Total insurer loss during 2013 reached $10.3 billion, up nearly 12 percent from $9.2 billion the prior year, according to the report.

Yet the combined loss-and-expense ratio improved over the previous year, coming in at 108 percent in 2013, compared with 115 percent in 2012.

Total loss adjustment expenses incurred in 2013 were $2.6 billion, up 18.2 percent from $2.2 billion the year prior.Medical losses (in millions of dollars) Recipient20122013Physicians$1,700$1,900Injured workers$1,300$1,500Hospitals$879$838Pharmacies$418$472Cost-containment programs (medical loss only)$245$217Medical-legal evaluations$192$174Medicare set-aside accounts$92$129Reimbursements to Medicare$3$6Other$5$16Total$4,800$5,200

Source: Workers' Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California***

Irvine-based Burnham Benefits Insurance Services, Inc., which operates a San Rafael location, and G2 Insurance Services, LLC, a full-service property and casualty firm based in San Francisco, established a business partnership designed to provide each company's clients with a more robust offering of specialty services.

Burnham said "alignment of service models, core values and company cultures led to the formation of this business alliance, which both companies believe will help better serve new and existing clients."

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