Cambridge, MA, May 5, 2022 – Indemnity benefits per claim increased 11 percent in 2020; two-thirds of this growth was driven by an increase in duration of temporary disability (about a week); a third of the growth was driven by an increase in wages of workers with injuries, according to a recent study published by the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI).

“Aspects of the Illinois economy may have contributed to changes in indemnity benefits per claim before and during the pandemic,” said Ramona Tanabe, executive vice president and general counsel of WCRI. “One measure of labor market conditions on the macroeconomic level is unemployment rates. In 2020 and 2021, unemployment rates in Illinois were higher than the national average. This means fewer jobs available for workers with injuries and, as a result, longer duration of temporary disability.”       

The following are among the study’s other findings:

  • Total costs per claim with more than seven days of lost time in Illinois increased 2 percent; however, different factors contributed than in prior years.
  • The percentage of claims with more than seven days of lost time and indemnity benefits per claim in 2020 increased while medical payments and benefit delivery expenses per claim decreased.
  • The average duration of temporary disability increased between 1 and 2 weeks in most industries in Illinois. Increases in Illinois were higher than in other study states.
  • The average weekly wage of workers with injuries grew 4 percent in 2020; many industries contributed. Growth of about 4 percent in 2020 in Illinois and other study states was faster compared with prior years.

The 22nd edition of CompScope™ Benchmarks for Illinois provides ongoing annual monitoring of how indemnity benefits, medical payments, and benefit delivery expenses per claim in the state’s workers’ compensation system change over time, and how these metrics compare with 17 other states. This edition analyzes non-COVID-19 workers’ compensation claims with injury dates between 2015 and 2020 (evaluated as of March 31, 2021) so it provides a look at how the pandemic impacted non-COVID-19 workers’ compensation claims in the early months of the pandemic.

To learn more about this study or to purchase a copy, visit Evelina Radeva authored this study.

About WCRI

The Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) is an independent, not-for-profit research organization based in Cambridge, MA. Organized in late 1983, the Institute does not take positions on the issues it researches; rather, it provides information obtained through studies and data collection efforts, which conform to recognized scientific methods. Objectivity is further ensured through rigorous, unbiased peer review procedures. WCRI's diverse membership includes employers; insurers; governmental entities; managed care companies; health care providers; insurance regulators; state labor organizations; and state administrative agencies in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.


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