Entering the Workers Compensation Line of Business: What You Need to Know

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Workers Compensation (“WC”) filing activity is increasing as more and more insurance companies and InsurTech providers roll out WC products to round out their insurance product offerings. However, many of these companies possess only a limited understanding of the scope of what is involved in WC insurance product development. In the rush to market, they overlook important requirements that negatively impact the state filings process and stall their product’s release.
Before your company proceeds full steam ahead with your WC product, here are some important considerations to keep in mind.

Multiple rating bureaus and their products

Before an insurance company can begin writing WC they must affiliate with the appropriate rating bureau. The National Council on Compensation Insurance, Inc. (“NCCI”) is the designated statistical agent and rating bureau in 37 jurisdictions.  The remaining 14 jurisdictions have either licensed an independent state-specific rating bureau or provide workers compensation through a monopolistic state fund.  Companies will need to affiliate with the appropriate rating bureau before filing their product with a state.
Your team must be aware of the product offerings of the various bureaus in order to ensure you file everything you need. In most jurisdictions, the WC core product is already filed on your behalf and you are tasked with providing specific supplemental information. However, the amount of supplementation varies by state. It’s important to know exactly what information you’ll be responsible for submitting.  For example, schedule rating is allowed in Connecticut and is filed on the company’s behalf by NCCI in that state.  NCCI is also the rating bureau in Illinois and Illinois allows for schedule rating, but it’s not filed on the company’s behalf by NCCI.  So, if a Company wants to use schedule rating in Illinois, they must specifically file a schedule rating plan.

Creating a countrywide product is complicated

Many insurance companies think that they can develop a product that meets the requirements for a handful of states, then simply expand coverage to include other states. When it comes to WC, state filings just aren’t that simple. With so many state nuances that require careful navigation, it’s virtually impossible to create a countrywide product that will satisfy every jurisdiction.
Some jurisdictions have required mandatory offerings (ex. risk control services and small deductibles) that may or may not need to be filed with the state. Some states don’t allow schedule rating for WC. Others require drug-free workplace program credits. Mistakenly thinking you can use the same product features everywhere will slow down your state filings process.
Bringing a product to market is never as easy as it seems, particularly when it comes to WC. Unforeseen delays and close regulatory scrutiny are simply par for the course. Perr&Knight has assisted numerous clients in getting their WC products to market. We are knowledgeable about each state’s requirements, limitations and restrictions. For more information about how we can help you achieve successful and streamlined Workers’ Compensation insurance product development, contact our offices today.