10 terms to help you navigate the Workers Compensation System

Previously we wrote about several common terms related to commercial insurance here.  These were terms that a business owner should familiarize themselves with before renewing any commercial insurance policy. especially before interacting with their states workers compensation system.  Here is a list of terms you might come across related specifically to workers’ compensation insurance. Some of the terms may not have to do with your renewal specifically, but if you use the workers comp system long enough you very well may come across some or all of these terms.  


Aggravation:  Aggravation usually implies a fresh incident producing additional impairment to a previously injured anatomical region. Aggravations are usually not temporary.

Carrier Code:  The ten-character code that identifies a specific insurance carrier. W is always the first character in the code for a carrier of Workers’ Compensation policies. The codes for carriers of Disability Benefits insurance always begins with the letter B. Carrier codes are issued by the Finance Office of the WCB.

Claims administrator:  The term for insurance companies and others that handle your workers’ compensation claim. Most claims administrators work for insurance companies or third party administrators handling claims for employers. Some claims administrators work directly for large employers that handle their own claims. Also called claims examiner or claims adjuster.

Date of Injury (DOI): If the injury was caused by one event (a specific injury), this is the date of the event. If the injury was caused by repeated exposures (a cumulative injury), this is the date that the worker knew of should have known that the injury was caused by work.

First Report of Injury:  Each state has their own form that should be filled out anytime an injury occurs on the job. They should be reported no matter how minor the injury is. Insurance carriers track these forms to look for patterns of injuries and to help employers prevent injuries from becoming more severe or more common. Here is an example of one of these forms from the state of Wisconsin.  

Functional capacity evaluation (FCE):  An FCE is a series of tests administered to a workers’ comp claimant by a physical therapist or other health care professional. They can be beneficial in determining an injured worker’s capabilities and restrictions.

Independent Medical Examination (IME): Am IME is a medical evaluation that is used to resolve questions about your medical condition, including what treatment is necessary and the degree of your permanent impairment, if any. An IME is most often requested by the insurance company when there is a question about what treatment you need or what permanent disability rating you should be given.

Loss Ratio:  The relationship of incurred losses compared to the earned premiums expressed as a percentage. If, for example, a firm pays $100,000 of premium for workers compensation insurance in a given year, and its insurer pays and reserves $50,000 in claims, the firm’s loss ratio is 50 percent ($50,000 incurred losses/$100,000 earned premiums).

National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI):  NCCI is a U.S. insurance rating and data collection bureau specializing in workers’ compensation. Operating with a not-for-profit philosophy and owned by its member insurers, NCCI annually collects data covering more than four million workers’ compensation claims and two million policies.

Workers’ Compensation Audit:  A review of the compensation paid during the policy term to determine whether the exposure used to determine the original premium was accurate. If during the policy term, the actual exposure changed from the original estimate of what it would be, then an adjustment to the premium would be made at the time of the audit. If there was more exposure than the estimate indicated, then more premium will be charged. If there was actually less exposure than the estimate, premium will be refunded.


Published by


Mitchell Sharp is a Marketing Associate for the WorkersCompensationShop.com. Mitchell is a Missouri Boy and a Carolina Man who has extensive knowledge of workers compensation and cyber liability insurance. He would like to use his passion for commercial insurance, social media and digital marketing to benefit the small business community.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *