Workers comp in California

Workers comp in California

Total premiums paid statewide have risen from around $9 billion in 1995 to about $29 billion this year, even though the system is treating fewer workers then it was eight years ago.

Rates spiked 8 percent in July and could rise another 20 percent by the end of the year

A friend last night was foaming-at-the-mouth angry about workers comp prices here in California. It got so expensive he shut his contracting business down, “and now 90 people don’t have a job”. This is a not uncommon story.

Workers comp is paid by employers. It costs more in California than anywhere else. For clerical workers, employers pay 1.5% of their gross pay, for teachers, about 8% – which is already getting hefty. For a job where serious injury might reasonably occur, like roofers, the rates are much higher.

Who’s to blame? Take a card, any card. Greedy insurance companies and lawyers? Chiseling malingering workers? A comatose state regulatory agency with way too many rules and not enough brains? Employers trying to blame their problems on something else?

But it’s more than just a few broken parts, the problems are structural, the whole system is dysfunctional and no one know how to fix it.