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WCIRB E-Newsletters

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The WCIRB publishes two e-newsletters that focus on common questions and issues related to workers' compensation insurance:

  • WCIRB News and Notes features timely answers to workers' compensation questions and topics of interest for insurers, agents and brokers and others involved in the California workers’ compensation insurance industry.
  • Classification and Test Audit Insight highlights common classification and test audit issues of interest to auditors, underwriters and others within the workers’ compensation insurance industry.

Browse through the list below to view an edition for each e-newsletter or filter the list by content type or topic. E-newsletters are also searchable through the search feature at the top-right corner of this page.

WCIRB e-newsletters are developed by the WCIRB for informational purposes only. The WCIRB shall not be liable for any damages of any kind, whether direct, indirect, incidental, punitive or consequential, arising from the use, inability to use, or reliance upon information provided herein.

Exciting news! Effective for policies incepting on or after September 1, 2024, any operations assignable to Classification 9079(1), Restaurants or Taverns, will be reassigned to one of six new classifications. Read More >
Follow the roadmap infographic to understand how to classify different types of restaurants and other operations related to food and beverage service operations. Read More >
Advisory pure premium rates play an important role in workers’ compensation insurance in California. The advisory pure premium rates approved by the Insurance Commissioner act as a benchmark that insurers can use to establish their own premium rates. Here are some questions that employers might have about the rates they pay. Read More >
Workers’ compensation insurance is complex and can be daunting for employers in California. Many employers commonly seek assistance to understand how their business is classified, how their experience modification is calculated, what should be expected at the final audit of their policy, what to do if they have a dispute with the insurer or the WCIRB, and other questions about the California workers’ compensation system. Read More >
DocuSign is required in order to request authorization from policyholders to access experience rating worksheets, inspection reports and the Comprehensive Risk Summary (CRS)® report on WCIRB Connect®. Read More >
WCIRB Connect offers insurers, agents and brokers so many features and options to quickly access policyholder information that it might be hard to keep track of them all. This article highlights some easy-to-use tools and educational resources found in WCIRB Connect that users might have missed. Read More >
Insurers and licensed casualty agents and brokers can quickly obtain detailed policyholder data available on the Comprehensive Risk Summary (CRS)® report in WCIRB Connect®. The fully downloadable and printable CRS report includes the following information: Read More >
In this edition: USRP requirements when allocating an employee’s payroll into multiple classifications. Read More >
One of the challenges faced by insurers, agents and brokers is determining the proper classification for a business operation when there is no classification in Part 3 of the California Workers' Compensation Uniform Statistical Reporting Plan—1995 (USRP) that specifically describes the operation. In these situations, the USRP directs that a classification is assigned by analogy. Read More >
The California Workers’ Compensation Uniform Statistical Reporting Plan—1995 (USRP) has rules that are on-point when classifying supervisory employees.  Read More >
In this edition, we break down the key sections in Part 3, Standard Classification System, of the California Workers' Compensation Uniform Statistical Reporting Plan–1995 (USRP) and focus on how the regulations work together to establish classification assignments. Read More >
One of the WCIRB’s core functions is ensuring that the Standard Classification System remains relevant to California’s ever changing business landscape. That’s why we have a unit dedicated to analyzing classifications to make sure that they continue to reflect distinct and identifiable industries comprised of employers engaged in a relatively similar set of operations. Read More >
The WCIRB frequently receives questions regarding the classification of stores that sell gasoline or gasoline stations that include store operations. The classification procedures for this combination of operations are provided in the California Workers’ Compensation Uniform Statistical Reporting Plan—1995 (USRP) at Part 3, Section IV, Special Industry Classification Procedures, Rule 5h. This rule states: Read More >
While many employers in California engage in the rental or sale of party supplies, these employers do not all handle the same types of merchandise or provide the same services to their customers. This e-newsletter addresses how some of the most common party supply store operations are classified.  Read More >
The USRP at Part 3, Standard Classification System, Section IV, Special Industry Classification Procedures, Rule 5, Stores, provides instructions for determining whether a store is a wholesale or retail store, instructions for determining the applicable store classification based on the types of merchandise sold, and directives to separately classify certain store employees. Read More >
This edition compares the classifications that apply to two popular types of after school programs. Read More >
The WCIRB often receives questions regarding the classifications applicable to charter schools. Since 1992, California law allows local school boards, and in some limited circumstances county boards of education and the state board of education, to authorize charter schools. There are currently 1,300 charter schools in California. Read More >
Employees involved in construction project management can be assigned to a variety of classifications. When construction project management employees are employed by a construction industry contractor, they are often engaged in supervising construction operations and are assigned to their employer’s governing classification as defined in the California Workers’ Compensation Uniform Statistical Reporting Plan—1995 (USRP) Read More >
The Classification Search tool is updated to reflect regulatory changes approved by the Insurance Commissioner effective September 1, 2022, including new and revised classifications and advisory pure premium rates. Read More >
What information is needed to classify construction supervisors? View an interactive infographic to learn, among other topics, when to assign Classifications 5606 and 5610. Read More >
This article compares two garden-related classifications that are sometimes assigned together, Classification 0005, Nurseries, and Classification 8004, Stores – garden supplies – wholesale or retail. Read More >
The California Workers' Compensation Experience Rating Plan—1995 (ERP) at Section V, Rule 4, Application of Experience Modification to Policies Covering Employee Leasing Arrangements, provides requirements for workers' compensation policies written where an entity utilizes the services of a third party (Labor Contractor) to provide its workers for a fee or other compensation. Read More >
We explore how Special Industry Classification Procedures apply to California electronic product manufacturing classifications. We also discuss a recent study that reviewed the evolution of the Electronics Industry and the increasing integration between computer programming and electronics manufacturing operations. Read More >
The WCIRB reviews dual wage classifications approximately every two years; the thresholds are updated to keep up with wage inflation in the construction industry. Learn what dual wage classifications are and access the updated dual wage thresholds effective September 1, 2022. Read More >
Learn how to classify the different operations that are part of the hospitality and resort industry. Read More >
The WCIRB has updated the Frequently Asked Questions page with the most current information relating to the payroll reporting rules surrounding COVID-19. Learn about updates to paid sick leave, COVID-19 claims, experience rating and more.   Read More >
The September 1, 2022 Experience Modification Estimator is now available. This Estimator is an application that makes it easy to estimate X-Mods. Read More >
Employers that have operations assigned to two or more distinct classifications, other than the Standard Exception classifications, may in certain circumstances have employees defined as miscellaneous employees. Miscellaneous employees do not engage in activities integral to each operation, but rather provide ancillary support to multiple operations. Learn how and in which circumstances miscellaneous employees are assigned.  Read More >
The WCIRB’s team of field representatives conducts on-site reviews at policyholders’ business locations to gather a detailed description of the operations and to verify the classifications that apply to their business. Based on this review, the field representative prepares a Classification Inspection Report that is sent to both the policyholder and its current insurer. Learn about the WCIRB Classification Inspection Report in detail. Read More >
What is combinability? Combinability impacts the data used for the experience rating calculation, which the insurer uses to calculate premium. Learn more about combinability.   Read More >
In recognition of the growth of remote work, Classification 8871, Clerical Telecommuter Employees – N.O.C, was established effective January 1, 2021 as a new Standard Exception classification that applies to clerical employees who work more than 50 percent of the time at their home or other office space away from their employer’s location.      Read More >
The WCIRB website’s COVID-19 resource page makes it easier to navigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read More >
California continues to experience major wildfires that are damaging and destructive to private homes and other buildings and structures. The WCIRB regularly receives questions regarding the classifications applicable to the cleanup and restoration operations that follow these disasters.  Read More >
If the WCIRB receives all required information, experience modifications may be published as early as four months prior to the policy effective date; however, there are some issues that delay the publication of X-Mods.   Read More >
The classifications applicable to medical marijuana growing, processing and sales and the manufacture of medical marijuana products are similar to operations pertaining to recreational marijuana. This is a rapidly growing and changing industry, and it’s possible that new operations or business models may emerge. However, the most common classification assignments applicable to medical cannabis operations also apply to equivalent recreational marijuana operations. Read More >
The WCIRB often receives requests for assistance in classifying businesses that provide massage, spa and personal appearance services. Based on the scope of services and the type of facilities operated, most businesses with such operations are assigned to one of three classifications. Read More >
The WCIRB Contact Center provides assistance to agents and brokers, insurers and policyholders on a wide variety of workers' compensation topics and WCIRB-related questions.  Read More >
The Ownership Information Submission feature in WCIRB Connect provides insurers, agents and brokers a convenient way to notify the WCIRB of relevant ownership information for their policyholders. Read More >
Many people enjoy the convenience of having prepared meals delivered. Restaurant employees engaged in delivery operations are assigned to Classification 9079(1), Restaurants or Taverns – all employees – including musicians and entertainers, as General Inclusions.   Read More >
The WCIRB Policyholder Ombudsman is available as a resource to employers to navigate the often complex California workers’ compensation system.  Read More >
Some common operations are performed at exercise facilities, fitness training programs and medical practices that specialize in sports medicine. Here, we will review the characteristics that define and distinguish fitness-related operations assigned to Classifications 9053(2), Health Clubs or Gyms; 8870, Fitness Instruction Programs or Studios; and 8834, Physicians’ Practices and Outpatient Clinics.  Read More >
Join more than 500 of your workers’ compensation industry peers in becoming WCIRB CompEssentials® Certified.  Read More >
The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California (WCIRB) has received questions regarding the classification applicable to trash and debris hauling. Specifically, when should these operations be assigned to Classification 7219(1), Trucking Firms, and when does Classification 9403(1), Garbage or Refuse Collecting, apply?  Read More >
This recording of a recent Mod Talk webinar breaks down the closed claim rerate rules to help you identify the trigger and how these claims may impact experience rating. You will learn how to identify these rerates and gain the knowledge to help you answer policyholder questions. Read More >
WCIRB Connect® is a powerful tool that provides online access to information and data for insurers, agents and brokers, and other authorized users. Read More >
Campground operations are assigned to Classification 9015(1), Building Operation, which is part of the Property Management/Operation Industry Group. Overnight camps with organized activities, including but not limited to children’s overnight summer camps, are assigned to Classification 9048(1), Camps or Retreat Facilities. Read More >
Before submitting an online ownership form to report a change in ownership, submitters should obtain the following information from the policyholder. Read More >
The weather is starting to warm up, and soon it will be a good time to go for a swim. Quite a few classifications apply to swimming facilities and swimming-related operations. Read More >
Follow these easy steps to find inspection reports in WCIRB Connect. Read More >
Here is a list of examples in which online ownership requests should not be submitted to the WCIRB. They should, however, be reported to the insurer of record. Read More >
As aerial drones, formally known as Unmanned Aircraft Systems, are becoming increasingly common and used in a variety of industries, we thought we’d describe the classification procedures surrounding UASs so you understand how to properly classify these operations. Read More >
Invest in your workers’ compensation insurance skill set by attending free webinars through the WCIRB. Read More >
The WCIRB conducts inspection site visits of employers' operations for classification purposes and conducts test audits to validate the accuracy of the USR data that insurers submit subsequent to completing their final audit. Read More >
The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California (WCIRB) often receives questions concerning when a “professional” employee of a private school assignable to Classification 8868, Colleges or Schools – private – not automobile schools – professors, teachers, or academic professional employees, meets the requirements for assignment to Classification 8810, Clerical Office Employees. Read More >
The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California (WCIRB) has received questions about which workers’ compensation policies must be physically audited. Under a variety of circumstances, it may not be advisable or even possible for premium auditors to meet face-to-face with policyholders or their representatives to conduct an audit. Read More >
The WCIRB receives many questions about classifying tree removal and tree trimming operations. The two classifications that most often apply are 0106, Tree Pruning, Repairing or Trimming, and 0042, Landscape Gardening. Read More >
Ownership is an important component of experience rating. It determines what loss and payroll data goes into calculating a business’s experience modification. The California Workers’ Compensation Experience Rating Plan—1995 (ERP) specifically defines “ownership” for the purposes of experience rating. Note that these definitions may differ in comparison to definitions used in other instances. Read More >
“Logistics” is commonly defined as the management of the flow of goods between the point of origin and the point of consumption in order to meet customers’ specific requirements. Several classifications apply to employers engaged in logistics services. To correctly classify such employers, it is imperative to determine the services the employer performs on a fee basis. Read More >
For this reason, most pharmacies are assigned to Classification 8017(1), Stores – retail. This can include compounding pharmacies that combine, mix or alter ingredients in response to a prescription to create a medication tailored to the medical needs of an individual patient. If the pharmacy performs delivery operations, these are also included in Classification 8017(1). However, depending on the overall business of the employer, pharmacies can be assigned to other classifications. Read More >
Agents and brokers are often asked to assist their policyholder customers during disputes with the WCIRB or insurance companies. The WCIRB and insurers licensed to underwrite workers’ compensation insurance in California are required to have a policyholder dispute resolution process. Following are steps that agents and brokers should know so they can assist policyholders with their disputes. Read More >
Every year, California experiences wildfires, and significant resources are dedicated to fighting and preventing these dangerous and destructive fires. Here is an overview of classifications that apply to many of these firefighting and fire prevention operations.   Read More >
The WCIRB is often asked how to classify specific operations or job duties. However, the Standard Classification System, found in Part 3 of the California Workers' Compensation Uniform Statistical Reporting Plan—1995, directs us to classify the business of the employer. Read More >
In the California Workers' Compensation Uniform Statistical Reporting Plan—1995 (USRP), several rules include a requirement for time cards or time book entries. The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California (WCIRB) often receives questions regarding these documentation requirements. Read More >
Having accurate payroll data is necessary because it is the basis for the policyholder’s insurance premium and their experience modification. Read More >
Effective January 1, 2019, the California Workers’ Compensation Uniform Statistical Reporting Plan—1995 (USRP) was amended to include rules that direct when equity-based compensation may be excluded from reported payroll. Read More >
This past year, we introduced a more secure Letter of Authorization process in WCIRB Connect. Insurers as well as licensed agents and brokers are now using DocuSign® digital signature technology to request authorization from policyholders, making it quicker to access experience rating worksheets (ratesheets), inspection reports and Comprehensive Risk Summary® (CRS) reports. Read More >
In California, a number of construction and erection classifications are divided into two separate classifications based on the hourly wage of the employee assigned to the classification and each of these classifications has a different advisory pure premium rate. Read More >
The WCIRB performed a comprehensive study of three Food Packaging and Processing Industry Group classifications for breweries, wineries and distilleries. In addition to beverage manufacturing operations, many breweries, wineries and distilleries have additional operations including facility tours, tasting rooms or tap rooms, retail stores, restaurants, taverns and the preparation and serving of hot food. Read More >
The rules pertaining to ownership and experience rating can seem complex to even the most experienced insurance professional. The WCIRB CompEssentials® course, Ownership and Experience Rating, provides a practical approach to navigating the intricate regulations to help you better understand the process and help your customers. In addition to explaining how to determine ownership of an entity, Ownership and Experience Rating demystifies the process for evaluating a change in ownership and ascertaining whether the experience should apply to a new owner. Read More >
Located in the Learning Center of, the Classification page makes it easy for you to find everything related to classifying a business – including web articles on trending topics, educational information and online tools. Read More >
This edition covers classification information for the most common residential solar energy systems. Read More >
Learn more about the classifications that are applicable to employers that perform a variety of minor “handyperson” repair services at residential or commercial locations. Read More >
There are several classifications that potentially apply to construction site cleaning operations, depending primarily on the employer’s overall business operations. Employers that perform construction job site cleaning for other concerns on a fee basis are classified as 9008, Janitorial Services – by contractors. Read More >
This edition reviews the significant distinctions between four of these automotive classifications that have some overlapping operations: 8389, Automobile or Truck Repair Facilities, 8393, Automobile or Truck Body Repairing and Painting, 8397, Automobile or Truck Transmission Repairing and Rebuilding, and 8388, Rubber Tire Dealers. Read More >
The goal when classifying a policyholder’s business is to determine which classification(s) best describe its operations based on the rules found in Part 3 of the California Workers' Compensation Uniform Statistical Reporting Plan1995 (USRP). But how do you ensure that you are applying the right classification to a business especially when workplace processes keep changing as industries evolve? Here are some tips and online resources available to help. Read More >
The WCIRB receives questions regarding the workplace separation requirements that are often required to separately classify operations. It is important to recognize that physical separation is a defined term in the California Workers’ Compensation Uniform Statistical Reporting Plan—1995 (USRP), and is significantly different from the separation requirements applicable to clerical office employees. Read More >
The WCIRB Contact Center frequently receives questions about how to classify domestic or private residence employees. The California Workers’ Compensation Uniform Statistical Reporting Plan—1995 (USRP) and the Standard Classification System do not apply to domestic or private residence employees. The USRP addresses this issue in Appendix II, Payroll/Remuneration Table: Read More >
In this edition, we will examine Classification 8390, Automobile, Truck or Van Conversion or Customizing, as this classification includes a blend of automotive operations that, when performed individually, are assignable to separate Automotive Industry Group classifications. Read More >
The WCIRB devotes significant resources to perform classification inspections each year to ensure that classifications are assigned accurately and that data is properly reported to the WCIRB.  Read More >
Aggregate financial data reported by insurers is a critical component in the determination of advisory pure premium rates. Learn more about exactly what data is being collected and what it represents. Read More >
Reporting unit statistical loss corrections is a common source of questions for data reporters. Learn more about when a loss correction should be submitted. Read More >