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In our annual “State of the Line” study, the National Council on Compensation Insurance Inc. (NCCI) delivers a comprehensive report analyzing the entire workers’ compensation market—from the implications of the overall economic environment, to current and expected industry conditions, to political considerations and more.

Unfortunately, our analysis this year shows that conditions in the workers’ comp industry continue to deteriorate. The line continues to experience an ever-lengthening list of challenges, including poor underwriting results, declining (albeit more slowly) premiums, an uptick in claim frequency, and an uncertain regulatory and inflationary climate.

Let’s broadly examine these negative forces and the overall market condition. 

Challenging Market Indicators

This year’s State of the Line report indicated that the calendar-year combined ratio for private carriers increased another five points in 2010 to 115. That’s the highest level since 2001, the year with the highest combined ratio in the last underwriting cycle. And the 2010 accident-year combined ratio was 114, also up five points from accident-year 2009.

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