NCCI's State of the Line Highlights Key Indicators of the Workers Compensation Industry

Posted Date: May 18, 2017

(Boca Raton, FL, May 18, 2017)—The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) released its highly anticipated annual State of the Line Guide (PDF) today, the industry's most extensive workers compensation market analysis.

As presented in this year's State of the Line Report, the workers compensation Calendar Year 2016 combined ratio for private carriers was 94%. This is the second consecutive year the industry has posted a six-point underwriting gain. Total market net written premium volume remained steady between 2015 and 2016 at $45.5 billion.

"The workers compensation underwriting results for 2016 were very strong, especially relative to other property and casualty lines of business," said NCCI Chief Actuary Kathy Antonello, FCAS, FSA, MAAA. "A decline in frequency, paired with increases in indemnity and medical severity, contributed to a preliminary combined ratio of 94%. While faced with continued, historically low interest rates, the industry seems to be responding with diligence on the underwriting side."

On an accident year basis, the industry-reported 2016 workers compensation combined ratio was 98%.

Other market indicators and trends highlighted in NCCI's 2017 State of the Line Report include:

  • The overall reserve position for private carriers improved in 2016. NCCI estimates the year-end 2016 reserve position to be a $5 billion deficiency—down from $7 billion in 2015. Estimated reserve redundancy in Accident Year 2016 contributed to this reduction.

  • Average lost-time claim frequency across NCCI states declined by 4% in 2016, on a preliminary basis.

  • In NCCI states, the preliminary Accident Year 2016 average indemnity claim severity increased by 3% relative to the corresponding 2015 value. For medical, the preliminary average lost-time claim severity increased by 5% relative to that observed in 2015.

  • The workers compensation Residual Market Pool premium volume remained flat between 2015 and 2016, and the average residual market share remained stable at 8%. The latest NCCI data shows that total residual market premium declined in the first quarter of 2017 compared with the first quarter of 2016.

For more information about NCCI's State of the Line Report, please visit or contact NCCI via email at

About NCCI

Founded in 1923, the mission of the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) is to foster a healthy workers compensation system. In pursuit of this mission, NCCI gathers data, analyzes industry trends, and prepares objective insurance rate and loss cost recommendations. These activities—together with research, analytical services and tools, and an overall commitment to excellence—have positioned NCCI as the trusted source for workers compensation information. To learn more about NCCI, please visit

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