"Now that we have post-recession results, we can see that Accident Year 2009 was the nationwide peak at 143 days, and average duration has since declined to 140 days in AY 2012," the report says. "Average durations have risen or fallen in step with the national unemployment rate."
The researchers used claims with injury dates from Jan. 1, 1998, through June 30, 2012, for which TTD indemnity benefits have been paid. Nationwide estimates were based on data for 46 jurisdictions.
"Claim duration can be impacted by many factors, including changes in medical care, working conditions, and claim management," the authors wrote. "Projected ultimate duration increased sharply between AY 2005 and AY 2009, and then declined moderately through AY 2012."
The researchers found wide variations in durations among states. Comparing AY 2009 average TTD durations as of 36 months showed a nationwide average of 120 days with Wisconsin on the low end at 60 days and Louisiana on the high end with 192 days.
"Average duration for a given state is influenced by the state benefit structure, regulatory and judicial environments, and the efficiency of claim systems," the report explains. "The influence of the Great Recession is seen in most states as lengthening average durations, reflecting the difficulty workers had in returning to work. As unemployment eases, we see that duration begins to shorten, also."
Additional findings included:
- TTD duration did not drop right back to "normal" after the recession. Since peaking in AY 2009, duration has only moderated slightly nationwide, and in some states it continues to lengthen.
- The contracting and manufacturing industry groups had the steepest declines in average duration from AY 2009 to AY 2011 after substantial increases between AY 2006 and AY 2009. Recent duration trends in the other industry groups were either slight declines or modest increases.
- As expected, the median of the average durations in states with seven-day waiting periods is considerably longer than in states with three-day waiting periods by about 20 days.
- Within most industry groups, average durations for women are longer than average durations for men. However, since men have higher shares of claims than women in the longer duration industry groups, men's average duration is longer than women's.
- Duration increased for all age groups between AY 2005 and AY 2009 with most age groups reflecting the nationwide duration increase of 10 percent. Duration for the youngest age group, those age 30 or younger, stands out as about 30 percent lower than nationwide.
By Nancy Grover
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
October 14, 2013
Copyright 2013© LRP Publications