Division’s Latest Amnesty Program Intended to Boost Reporting by Claims Adjusters

The California Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) is rolling out its second amnesty program of 2017 intended to persuade claims adjusters to comply with state reporting requirements for workers’ comp data. The goal is to increase the amount of Subsequent Report of Injury (SROI) data that makes it into the Workers’ Compensation Information System (WCIS) database.

The program is a prelude to the DWC’s rollout of a new penalty system targeting non-reporting. “The goal is to maximize SROI reporting compliance prior to the time when a failure to accurately report will be subject to an assessment of penalties,” according to DWC spokesman Peter Melton of the new amnesty program. Melton says the initial WCIS SROI amnesty program that the Division offered earlier this year received wide interest from claims administrators.

The WCIS system is intended to be a private, centralized repository of workers’ comp claim data that can be used for research and to inform policymakers, in addition to an objective source of data to benchmark the effectiveness of workers’ comp reforms. And although around 90 percent of the First Report of Injury reports by insurance carriers, third-party administrators and self-insured employers make it into the WCIS, about half of the expected subsequent reports on these claims—SROI data—are not filed, according to the DWC.

Currently, the Division is drafting the penalty schedule and the associated assessment procedures, in addition to an annual report of claims administrators that are out of compliance with the SROI reporting requirements. A provision in California Senate Bill 1160, which allows for penalties up to $10,000 per year against a claims administrator that fails to report the required SROI data, calls on the Division to “publish an annual report disclosing the compliance rates of claims administrators and post the report and a list of claims administrators who are in violation of the data reporting requirements” on its website.

Administrators interested in participating in the amnesty program should email WCIS@dir.ca.gov to contact the Division. The subject line of the e-mail should read “Request to participate in the SROI amnesty program.” The offer to participate is open through March 31, 2018, and requires only reporting of SROI data on open and new claims, not historical data that may be missing from the WCIS.