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Workers' compensation claims affected by economy in Wisconsin

Economic fluctuations affect many aspects of the business world. One of these aspects is the number of workers' compensation claims filed. Statistics show that the frequency of claims declined in 2011, but had previously increased in 2010 for the first time in more than 10 years. Many experts believe the increase in 2010 resulted from factors related to the economic downturn in Wisconsin and the rest of the country.

The 2010 increase also could have been caused by more new hires as the economy began to recover. Experts also speculate that an increase in lost-time claims may explain the uptick in 2010. Prior to the increase, injury rates had dropped almost 57 percent during the period of 1990 to 2009. During this period injury rates only increased in 1994 and 1997, while the average decrease during this ten year period was 4 percent per year.

After the uptick in 2010, claims decreased by 1 percent in 2011. Also, premiums increased by 7.4 percent during this year. On the other hand, lost-time claim frequency rates have declined in 2011 by one percent. However, the average cost per lost-time claim for combined indemnity and medical has increased by 3.2 percent for the year of 2011.

Despite whether the claims rate is increasing or decreasing, the purpose of the workers' compensation system remains the same. The claims process is designed to minimize lengthy lawsuits against employers while ensuring workers are protected. However, the process can still be daunting and complicated to some in Wisconsin. Having knowledge of the process and the legal issues surrounding it would be beneficial to anybody looking to file a claim.

Source: Insurance Journal, "Workers' Comp Claims Frequency Was Down 1% in 2011: NCCI," July 13, 2012

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