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CA Department of Insurance

Insurance Commissioner Jones Announces Enhanced System for Filing Workers' Compensation Pure Premium Rates

News: 2011 Press Release

For Release: July 25, 2011
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
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Insurance Commissioner Jones Announces Enhanced System For Filing Workers’ Compensation Pure Premium Rates
New System Aimed at Increasing Public Awareness and Understanding

Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones today announced that the Workers' Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau (WCIRB) has proceeded with his directive to revise its filing of pure premium rates in order to provide more meaningful and understandable information regarding insurer rates and underlying cost drivers in the workers' compensation system.

The Commissioner has directed the WCIRB to benchmark its proposed pure premium rates against the average insurer filed pure premium rates rather than the previously approved pure premium rates. In this way, the proposed pure premium rate change is more indicative of cost levels reflected in the most currently available average insurer pricing levels. Also, it is believed that by presenting the information in the manner prescribed by the Commissioner, the public will be able to better understand the key factors affecting costs and premium rates.

"This new and improved system will allow for a greater level of transparency in the process used to set workers' compensation insurance rates, while also increasing the public's awareness and understanding of this issue. I applaud the WCIRB for making this long-overdue and much-needed change to its rate setting process," Commissioner Jones said.

Historically, the WCIRB analyzes and submits its recommendations for pure premium rates that do not include information on current insurer filed pure premium rates. This process has led to a misunderstanding by the public that a change in the approved pure premium rates will have severe impact on the rates filed and charged by insurers.

However, the methodologies utilized by the WCIRB will not change as a result of the Commissioner's directive. But in order to comply with the Commissioner's directive, the manner in which the information is presented in future WCIRB pure premium rate filings shall analyze average insurer filed and charged rates as well as the impact of underlying system costs on pure premium rates rather than the advisory pure premium rates.

"The intention of my directive is to bring more light on what is admittedly a very complicated process," Commissioner Jones said. "The issue of workers' compensation is of equal importance to both individuals and businesses, and it is of the utmost importance that we do all that we can to present them with clear and understandable information."

The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California. Insurers collect $310 billion in premiums annually in California. Since 2011 the California Department of Insurance received more than 1,000,000 calls from consumers and helped recover over $469 million in claims and premiums. Please visit the Department of Insurance website at Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800.927.4357. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.

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