NCCI Examines the Economic Impact of COVID-19 on Workers Comp, Provides Resource Center

The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) released the first of a two-part Quarterly Economics Briefing (QEB) for the first quarter of 2020. The first part—“Economic Impacts of Coronavirus on Workers Compensation” examines how the COVID-19 pandemic affects the workers compensation insurance system. It explores the impact on employment, business closures, injury frequency, injury severity, and the ratio of premium to payroll. The second part is on “The Economic and Medical Outlook on Workers Compensation."

Source: NCCI | Published on May 6, 2020

Colleagues in the office practicing alternative greeting for safety and protection during COVID-19

“There is no greater issue facing the nation and the economy than the coronavirus pandemic,” said Bill Donnell, president and CEO of NCCI. “This report takes a look at how COVID-19 is impacting employment—from mass furloughs and layoffs in some industries, to increased but likely temporary hiring in others—and what changes we may see in terms of claims and premiums.”

“Although workers compensation coverage for coronavirus infections remains uncertain and is likely to vary from state to state, we think that the pandemic will have other significant impacts on the workers compensation system,” said Leonard F. Herk, NCCI’s senior economist and author of the report. “To give just a couple of examples, reduced access to medical care and deferred return-to-work are likely to increase the severity of existing claims, while workers at risk of layoff may either delay or accelerate reporting new claims.”

Key takeaways from the first part of this quarter’s QEB include:

  • Coronavirus layoffs are happening with unprecedented rapidity but not uniformly across economic sectors and types of businesses
  • Temporary business shutdowns and permanent closures have different impacts; small businesses are at particular risk of closing permanently
  • Coverage of coronavirus claims under workers compensation is an open question with resolution likely to differ across states
  • Reduced access to medical care during the pandemic may increase the duration of existing claims
  • Workers anticipating layoffs may defer or accelerate injury reporting, impacting claim frequency
  • Motor vehicle accidents are likely to decline due to reduced business travel and less congestion
  • Premium is likely to fall more quickly than employment during the pandemic

To read the full Economic Impacts section of the Quarterly Economics Briefing, visit NCCI’s new COVID-19 Resource Center on

Launched as part of NCCI’s ongoing analysis of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on workers compensation, this COVID-19 resource center serves as a one-stop portal for stakeholders to gain insights on this important topic. Available relevant information includes:

  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Regulatory, Legislative & Legal Updates
  • NCCI Announcements
  • Articles
  • Analysis

NCCI is here to help stakeholders navigate through the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic and the impact it may have on the workers compensation system,” added Donnell. “We’ve launched our COVID-19 Resource Center to make it easier for industry professionals to gain actionable insight to help them make important business decisions.”

About NCCI

Founded in 1923, the mission of the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) is to foster a healthy workers compensation system. In support of this mission, NCCI gathers data, analyzes industry trends, and provides objective insurance rate and loss cost recommendations. These activities—combined with a comprehensive set of tools and services—make NCCI the source you trust for workers compensation information.