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Online Guide to Workers' Compensation

Workers' compensation insurance is complex, and finding answers to your questions can be challenging. The WCIRB has prepared an online guide covering the basics of the workers' compensation system. While this guide is not a substitute for the knowledge and experience of your insurance professional, it should help you understand the basic workings of the system. Nothing in this guide takes precedence over the Insurance Commissioner's regulations or California law. If you have questions, contact your insurance professional.

To understand workers' compensation insurance and how workers' compensation insurance policies are written, it is important to become familiar with the Standard Classification System, experience rating system and regulations concerning business ownership for workers' compensation insurance purposes.

An Introduction to the WCIRB and Workers' Compensation in California

This section explains the role of the WCIRB and provides information concerning what is covered by a workers' compensation insurance policy, how the industry is regulated and where to go for assistance for issues beyond the WCIRB's purview. Read More >

The Rates You Pay: Insurer Rates and Pure Premium Rates Explained

This section covers the difference between Pure Premium Rates and the rates charged by an insurer. Read More >

The Standard Classification System

See how a company's classification impacts its insurance premiums. This section explains the basic principles of the classification system including assignment by analogy, single versus multiple enterprises, general inclusions and exclusions and more. Read More >

California's Experience Rating System

Experience rating can have a big impact on a company's workers' compensation insurance premium. This section explains the purpose of the system, eligibility requirements, source of experience rating data and experience modification calculation. Read More >


Changes in business ownership, employees and operations have an impact on experience rating. This section covers changes in ownership and what happens to an employer's experience when changes occur. Read More >


Additional sources of information such as the appeals process, California Insurance Code and useful reference publications. 

Important References

California Workers' Compensation Uniform Statistical Reporting Plan—1995 (1.7MB PDF)
California Workers' Compensation Experience Rating Plan—1995 (385K PDF)
WCIRB Insurer Codes (33K PDF)