Workplace Safety/Workers Comp

Workplace Safety/Workers Comp

Workplace Safety

WORKERS COMPENSATION INSURANCE

The fatal fire and explosion at the West Fertilizer Co. plant in Texas in 2013 calls attention to the issue of workplace safety in the state. A massive 1947 fire in the S.S. Grandcamp and Monsanto Chemical Company plant in Texas City, Texas ranked eight among the top 20 multiple death fires in U.S. history according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

Workers compensation insurance provides for the cost of medical care and rehabilitation for injured workers and lost wages and death benefits for the dependents of persons killed in work-related accidents. Workers compensation systems vary from state to state. Workers compensation combined ratios are expressed in two ways. Calendar year results reflect claim payments and changes in reserves for accidents that happened in that year or earlier. Accident year results only include losses from a particular year.

WORKERS COMPENSATION INSURANCE, 2004-2013

($000)

      Combined ratio (1)
Year Net premiums
written (2)
Annual percent
change
Calendar
year (3)
Annual point
change (4)
Accident
year (5)
Annual point
change
2004 $36,735,582 11.7% 106.9 -3.6 pts. 88 -10 pts.
2005 38,981,699 6.1 102.1 -4.8 87 -1
2006 41,820,419 7.3 95.4 -6.7 86 -1
2007 40,610,991 -2.9 101.7 6.3 99 13
2008 36,939,016 -9.0 101.5 -0.2 106 7
2009 32,247,870 -12.7 107.9 6.4 110 4
2010 31,643,087 -1.9 116.1 8.2 118 8
2011 35,664,230 12.7 117.6 1.5 113 -5
2012 38,747,594 8.6 110.4 -7.3 107 -6
2013 40,896,983 5.5 103.0 -7.4 99 (6) -8

(1) After dividends to policyholders. A drop in the combined ratio represents an improvement; an increase represents a deterioration.
(2) After reinsurance transactions, excludes state funds.
(3) Calendar year data are from SNL Financial.
(4) Calculated from unrounded data.
(5) Accident year data are from the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI).
(6) Estimated by NCCI.

Source: SNL Financial LC; National Council on Compensation Insurance.

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THE TEN OCCUPATIONS WITH THE LARGEST NUMBER OF INJURIES AND ILLNESSES, 2012 (1)

Rank Occupation Number Percent of total
1 Laborers (nonconstruction) 60,640 6.7%
2 Truckdrivers, heavy 40,440 4.5
3 Nursing assistants 38,010 4.2
4 Production workers 28,090 3.1
5 Truckdrivers, light 24,620 2.7
6 Retail salespersons 24,520 2.7
7 Maintenance, general 23,470 2.6
8 Janitors and cleaners 21,970 2.4
9 Stock clerks and order fillers 20,940 2.3
10 Registered nurses 20,930 2.3
  Total, top ten 303,630 33.5%
  Total, all occupations 905,690 100.0%

(1) Nonfatal injuries and illnesses involving days off from work for private industries; excludes farms with fewer than 11 employees.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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TOP TEN WRITERS OF WORKERS COMPENSATION INSURANCE BY DIRECT PREMIUMS WRITTEN, 2012

($000)

Rank Group/company Direct premiums written (1) Market share (2)
1 Liberty Mutual $4,179,078 8.7%
2 Travelers Companies Inc. 3,801,993 7.9
3 Hartford Financial Services 3,286,686 6.8
4 American International Group 2,952,157 6.1
5 Zurich Insurance Group Ltd. (3) 2,409,805 5.0
6 State Insurance Fund Workers' Comp. 1,943,838 4.0
7 Berkshire Hathaway Inc. 1,256,635 2.6
8 Old Republic International Corp. 1,110,916 2.3
9 Chubb Corp. 1,049,479 2.2
10 AmTrust Financial Services 995,575 2.1

(1) Before reinsurance transactions, includes some state funds.
(2) Based on U.S. total, includes territories.
(3) Data for Farmers Insurance Group of Companies and Zurich Financial Group (which owns Farmers' management company) are reported separately by SNL Financial LC.

Source: SNL Financial LC.

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CAUSES OF WORKPLACE DEATHS

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the highest rate of workplace fatalities in 2012 was among logging workers, with 128 deaths per 100,000 full-time employees, followed by fishing workers, aircraft pilots and flight engineers, and roofers. The all-industry average was 3.2 deaths per 100,000 workers.

WORKPLACE DEATHS BY CAUSE, 2011-2012 (1)

  2011 2012 
Cause Number Number Percent of total
All transportation (includes vehicle crashes) 1,937 1,789 41%
     Vehicle crashes (2) 1,103 1,044 24
Assaults and violence (includes homicides) 791 767 17
     Homicides 468 463 11
Contact with objects and equipment 710 712 16
Falls 681 668 15
Exposure to harmful substances or environments 419 320 7
Fires and explosions 144 116 3
Total workplace fatalities 4,693 4,383 100%

(1) From intentional and unintentional sources.
(2) Roadway incidents involving motorized land vehicles.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries.

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LARGE LOSS FIRES

The charts below show the costliest large-loss fires, many of which involve industrial facilities and other non-residential structures. The rankings are based on property loss data from the National Fire Protection Association. For further data see NFPA statistics.

THE TEN MOST COSTLY LARGE-LOSS FIRES IN U.S. HISTORY

($ millions)

      Estimated loss (1)
Rank Date Location/event Dollars when
occurred
In 2012
dollars (2)
1 Sep. 11, 2001 World Trade Center (terrorist attacks) $33,400 (3) $43,300 (3)
2 Apr. 18, 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire 350 8,900
3 Oct. 8-9, 1871 Great Chicago Fire 168 3,200
4 Oct. 20, 1991 Oakland, CA, fire storm 1,500 2,500
5 Oct. 20, 2007 San Diego County, CA, The Southern California Wildland Fires 1,800 2,000
6 Nov. 9, 1872 Great Boston Fire 75 1,400
7 Oct. 23, 1989 Pasadena, Texas, polyolefin plant 750 1,400
8 May 4, 2000 Los Alamos, NM, Cerro Grande wildland fire 1,000 1,300
9 Oct. 25, 2003 Julian, CA, Wildfire (Cedar) 1,100 1,300
10 Feb. 7, 1904 Baltimore, MD, Baltimore Conflagration 50 1,300

(1) Loss estimates are from National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) records. The list is limited to fires for which some reliable dollar loss estimates exists.
(2) Adjustment to 2012 dollars made by the NFPA using the Consumer Price Index, including the U.S. Census Bureau's estimates of the index for historical times.
(3) Differs from inflation-adjusted estimates made by other organizations due to the use of different deflators.

Source: National Fire Protection Association.

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THE TEN MOST COSTLY LARGE-LOSS FIRES, 2012 (1)

($ millions)

Rank State Type of facility Estimated loss
1 Colorado Wildfire $354
2 Maine Submarine in dry dock 400
3 Colorado Wildfire 114
4 Pennsylvania Plating shop 75
5 Georgia Vehicle parts manufacturing 50
6 Minnesota Paper mill 50
7 Illinois Galvanizing plant 31
8 Pennsylvania Single-family home 25
9 California Party goods store 25
10 Massachusetts Transformers 22

(1) Fires/explosions causing $20 million or more in property loss.

Source: National Fire Protection Association.

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