In the recent movie, The Incredibles, the main character is an animated superhero who must retire from that role due to lawsuits filed by the people he was trying to rescue. His presumed comedown in life is that he later is employed as … an insurance claim adjuster.

Many risk managers are muttering, "Incredible," to themselves when they scan workers' compensation case reserves, many of them set by outside third-party claim administrators. Often, risk managers and clients are floored by adjuster case reserves and reserve jumps. Sometimes, these hikes occur without warning, without any apparent reason, and at the eleventh hour.

When division manager bonuses depend on safety records, a reserve jump can mean the difference between making plan (and bonus) or not. In some insurance pricing schemes, such reserve spikes may cause insureds to have to pay more money to insurance companies for premiums.

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