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Little Explanation for Large Increase in SIF Costs

By Greg Jones (Deputy Editor)

Thursday, December 7, 2017 | 1452 | 2 | 0 min read

California employers will pay more in assessments for subsequent injury claims next year than they have in each of the three years combined, and the reason why isn’t exactly clear. Applicant’s attorneys say they haven’t seen notable increases in claims against the fund, which was created to encourage employers to hire workers with pre-existing disabilities by picking up part of the costs of any subsequent claims. Defense attorneys don’t work much on subsequent injury claims because their clients have no direct liability for that portion of a claim. A Departm...

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James Witkop Dec 7, 2017 07:17 AM

It's very simple. There are far more SIF claims than there were a few years ago. Whereas a handful of firms used to pursue SIF, now CAAA is giving seminars on the topic and seemingly every attorney knows the basics.

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Frank Neuhauser Dec 7, 2017 07:57 AM

The first comment is half the explanation. Both applicant and defense attorneys are aggressively exploiting SIF by agreeing to settle cases, especially apportioned cases, just below the 70% threshold that would make the insurer liable for Life Pensions. Then the applicant's attorney uses the settlement (with "agreed" apportionment) as evidence of eligibility for a LP paid by SIF. A simple way for defense attorneys to lower the insurer's cost and applicants' attorneys to increase the settlement by placing large liabilities on SIF. This has been even easier to do since the 1.4 multiplier under SB863 replaced the lower multipliers (FEC) under SB899 . When the defense and applicant bars feign ignorance, it's disingenuous. SIF has become an extra pool of money both parties can use while taxing employers.

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