Large Risk Rating Options for Workers’ Compensation: What You Should Know

The market for workers’ compensation insurance has undergone a shift as large employers with more bargaining power recognize they can achieve a better financial position by obtaining coverage that more closely aligns the total cost with their unique risk factors. State Departments of Insurance (DOI) have approved a number of sophisticated loss-sensitive options for workers’ compensation insurance, further prompting insurance companies to develop programs like these in order to remain competitive.

Below we have provided an overview of large risk rating workers’ compensation products and how Perr&Knight can help you develop competitive plans with the best chance of approval.

Large Deductible Plans


Large deductible workers’ compensation plans provide the same coverage as guaranteed or fixed cost plans, but with higher deductibles, possibly leading to reduced costs for insureds. Deductibles for these plans generally start at $25,000 to $100,000 per occurrence and are ideal for large employers seeking to self-insure a portion of their workers’ compensation losses.

Given the insurer is typically required to pay claims as they occur and seek reimbursement from the policyholder for claims below the deductible amount, insurers will often require the insured to provide collateral to secure the claims in this layer. Some jurisdictions may require insurance carriers to hold collateral, and insurers often need to analyze each risk individually to determine the amount of collateral to collect. This is an instance where turning to experienced actuarial consultants is invaluable. Our expert teams can assist in determining how much collateral to hold, either by performing actuarial loss projections based on historical loss runs prior to the onset of the policy or performing a collateral evaluation over time to ascertain how losses and collateral needs have developed for a particular policyholder.

Our actuarial consultants can help you develop your large deductible program, provide guidance on the various premium threshold requirements and permissible deductible levels by jurisdiction, as well as meet other state-specific requirements when filing large deductible workers’ compensation programs.

Retrospective Rating Programs

Retrospective (also called “retro”) rating plans determine the final workers’ compensation premium by evaluating actual losses incurred during the policy period. Employers pay a certain premium upfront, but at set intervals after the policy expires, insurance companies evaluate actual losses versus what was originally expected. This can result in a premium refund to the insured if losses are better than expected and additional premium due if losses are worse than expected. These sophisticated plans can be helpful in controlling the final cost of an organization’s workers’ compensation program.

Because of their complexity, it is imperative to set retro programs up correctly from the outset. Perr&Knight’s actuarial consultants can assist in determining proper rating factors (expected loss ratios, the types of excess factors to file, other rating elements to file in various states, etc.), as well as determining if the state DOI will allow exceptions to bureau filed plans.

Large-Risk Alternative Rating Option (LRARO)

A provision commonly contained in retrospective rating plans, LRARO can be layered on top of other programs, enabling employers with a yearly estimated workers’ compensation premium exceeding a certain threshold to negotiate premiums with their insurance provider. With this rule on file, insurers can negotiate the rating factors and premium components involved in determining the final premium for their workers’ compensation coverage.

This option is permitted in most states, but filing requirements vary by jurisdiction. For example, some states have premium eligibly requirements which must be met before the insurance company may use this rating option.

We have deep experience in developing loss sensitive rating programs and filing LRARO rules to achieve exceptional rating flexibility. Our actuarial consultants understand important jurisdictional filing differences and can help you file this provision correctly.

Partner with Actuarial Experts

Sophisticated large risk rating programs add more complexity to an already complicated process. Our actuarial teams are profoundly experienced in the full scope of loss sensitive programs and can help with designing large risk workers’ compensation products including developing rating plans, defining rules, helping with endorsements, and ultimately managing state filings.

For insurance companies already offering loss sensitive workers’ compensation products, we can conduct reviews to determine if it is possible to enhance your product offerings, or conduct detailed competitive evaluations to make sure your program is in line with the market.

Thinking of making changes to your workers’ compensation products? Our expert actuarial consultants can help.