Workers’ Compensation Archives

AUGUST 14, 2014: Insurance carrier executives at the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau just completed their deliberations and voted to file for a 6.7% average increase in workers’ comp pure premium rates for 2015. The vote came over the opposition of the business and labor representatives on the Bureau’s Governing Committee who saw a need for less than a 1% increase.

The Bureau is a private organization financially supported by and governed mostly by insurance carriers. Insurance carrier representatives hold a majority of the seats on the Bureau’s Governing Committee and do not need the public members support to make a rate filing of their choosing.

The filing reflects the increase over the advisory pure rates approved last year by Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones for 2014, but are an 11.4% increase over the average rates that carriers currently have on file.

The increase in rates is being driven by a number of factors including higher loss development trends and the continued increase in the frequency of claims. Stay tuned for additional coverage.


Information courtesy of Workers’ Comp Executive


MAY 28, 2014: Brokers might be interested in warning construction industry clients that Cal/OSHA is deploying teams of investigators to construction sites throughout the state “to determine whether adequate measures have been taken to identify safety hazards and prevent injury,” it says. There will be focus on specific issues and employers should expect aggressive enforcement.

Cal/OSHA is reacting to a series of recent fatal falls at construction sites around California. Cal/OSHA is fanning out to inspect worksites and puts employers on notice to pay attention to fall protection.

Investigators will be specifically checking safety railings, personal fall protection devices and equipment, and tie-offs. Cal/OSHA also will be looking for trench hazards, equipment safety and proximity to power lines. Cal/OSHA reminds employers that if it finds a lack of fall protection or other serious hazards, it can issue a stop-work order at the site, which will be in force until the hazard is abated. Employers deemed to be in violation safety standards also will be cited and ordered to correct the violations.

Three workers have died in the past two weeks and another survived with injuries. They include a May 18 fatality in Riverside when a worker tied off to a train bridge being dismantled rode down when the section toppled; a May 20 incident in San Mateo where a worker fell nine feet from a wall; and a May 21 death in San Jose where a worker unloading sheetrock from the third story of a building under construction fell over a railing from a sheetrock stack.


Information courtesy of Workers’ Comp Executive


MAY 27, 2014: State Fund’s Board of Directors has appointed Vernon Steiner as President and CEO.

state-fund-100th-logoVernon will join State Compensation Insurance Fund on June 9th and comes to us from Zenith Insurance Company. As Senior Vice President of Claims, he was responsible for Zenith’s national claims operations with significant focus in California.

Vernon has a strong track record of building effective senior teams and strong capabilities at the organizations he has led, and is a committed champion for improving the workers’ compensation system for all stakeholders.

He has 24 years of industry experience, most of which has been focused on workers’ compensation and casualty business operations. Prior to joining Zenith six years ago, he held several positions at CNA Financial. While at CNA, he initially led the Western Region headquartered in Brea, CA, was later promoted to a zonal leadership position with responsibility for all claims west of the Mississippi, and ultimately took on responsibility for workers’ compensation claims nationally.

He also spent eight years with AIG, first leading a claims office in Long Beach, CA and then as Regional Vice President for the Northwest Region based in San Ramon, CA where he led the services operations of national accounts.

In the early 1990s he also held leadership roles with Health Net and managed a self-insured claims operation for a California based employer, Carter Hawley Hale.

He has served on the Workers Compensation Research Institute’s (WCRI) advisory board since 2009 and as a member of the California Workers’ Compensation Institute (CWCI) since 2010. He was recently elected Chairman of the CWCI Board of Directors in March 2014.

In 2010, State Fund began a transformation that has reduced annual fixed expenses by $300 million dollars. These savings will help State Fund maintain fair pricing and bring greater value to more California employers. The Board is confident that under Vernon’s leadership our transformation initiatives will continue to strengthen our operations allowing State Fund to become a more agile insurance carrier that provides fair prices and excellent service.

This year, State Fund is celebrating 100 years of providing California businesses with a strong and stable option for their workers’ compensation insurance. We are excited to start this new milestone in the organization’s history.


Sheryl Chalupa
State Fund Board Chair


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