Archive for Benchmark News

Governing Committee Votes for Mid-Year Filing

Governing Committee Votes for Mid-Year Filing:

Oakland, CA April 6, 2016 – Citing lower medical loss development, as well as indemnity and medical severities that continue to emerge below expectations, the insurer and public members of the WCIRB Governing Committee who were in attendance voted unanimously today to authorize the WCIRB to submit a mid-year pure premium rate filing to the California Department of Insurance (CDI).

The filing will propose a July 1, 2016 average advisory pure premium rate of $2.30 per $100 of payroll which is -10.4% lower than the corresponding industry average filed pure premium rate of $2.57 as of January 1, 2016 and 5.0% less than the Insurance Commissioner’s approved average January 1, 2016 advisory pure premium rate of $2.42.

The Governing Committee’s decision was based on the WCIRB Actuarial Committee’s analysis of insurer loss and loss adjustment experience as of December 31, 2015, which was reviewed at public meetings of the Actuarial Committee held on March 22 and April 5, 2016.

The Actuarial Committee noted that allocated loss adjustment expense in the post-SB 863 environment is emerging higher than projected and the count of liens increased sharply in 2015. In addition, cumulative trauma claims continue to increase, particularly in the Los Angeles region. Despite these upward pressures on system costs, the Governing Committee believed that lower frequency, lower medical severity and favorable loss development warranted a reduction in the industry average pure premium rate as of July 1, 2016.

The WCIRB anticipates submitting its filing to the CDI by April 11, 2016. The filing and all related documents will be available in the Publication and Filings section of the WCIRB website ( and the WCIRB will issue a Wire Story once the filing has been submitted.

Documents related to the Governing Committee meeting, including the agenda and materials displayed or distributed at the meeting, are available on the Committee Documents page of the WCIRB website (

BHHC Alert: New CA Workers Compensation Claim Form & Poster Required

Have you heard? Effective January 1, 2016:
California will require use of its revised
Workers Compensation Claim Form & Poster

As a courtesy to our valued customers, please be advised that as of January 1, 2016, California will require use of the newly revised Workers Compensation Claim Form & Notice of Potential Eligibility (DWC 1) and use of the newly revised Notice to Employees--Injuries Caused by Work Poster (DWC 7). Please click below to download each form.

Did you know?
BHHC offers
Claims Kits by State online!
Click here to view the library and download your state's claim kit

Still have questions?
Contact Customer Care at (888) 495-8949

Copyright © 2015 Berkshire Hathaway Homestate Companies, All rights reserved.

Own an older building? You should be familiar with Building Ordinance!

Building Ordinance Coverage:
What’s Your Responsibility?

Your building is covered for a limit of $1 million. The building was partially damaged (60%), in a fire. Local ordinances require upgrading to the current building code when damage or renovations exceed 25% of the building and also require the demolition of the undamaged portion of the building. In this case, the total cost for demolition, debris removal, and increased cost of reconstruction totaled $1.5 million. You do the math! What went wrong?
Building Ordinance Coverage

Building ordinance coverage provides three basic coverages: A. loss to the undamaged portion of the building, B. demolition and removal of the undamaged portion of the building and C. any increased costs of repair or construction due to enforcement of building codes. This coverage needs to be added to the policy as the basic form provides minimal coverage for the enforcement of any ordinance or law. The value of Building Ordinance Coverage is to provide coverage for these costs.

Coverage A: Loss to the Undamaged Portion of the Building

This portion of the coverage responds when a covered loss triggers application of ordinance or law relating to a partial damage to a building. If the undamaged portion of the building is rendered unusable, or condemned, by an ordinance, and has to be torn down, a total loss of the building is incurred.

Local jurisdiction will require the undamaged portion be demolished when the loss crosses the “major damage” threshold as defined by the jurisdiction. This is when the jurisdiction considers the building beyond safe repair due to age, condition, or previous compliance with building code. Jurisdictions normally use state law to decide when this point of major damage has been breached, so definitions can vary.

Coverage B: Demolition Cost Coverage

This coverage applies only to the demolition and debris removal of the undamaged portion of the building. It is important for you to know the costs within the local construction market for demolition of a building and removal of all debris from the site and at what point will the jurisdictional authorities require the building to be torn down, in order to establish an adequate limit for this coverage.

Building Journal offers a very useful tool to quickly estimate the cost of residential and commercial demolition projects in over 160 U.S. cities:

Keep in mind the valuation date of the data, and that this doesn’t include the cost of addressing any special hazards, such as asbestos, lead, etc.

Coverage C: Increased Cost of Construction

This coverage is for making the building compliant with any building codes that have been adopted since the building was originally constructed. Ordinances, requirements, and building codes originate from many sources: local, federal or state. The emphasis is on local codes, as local jurisdictions are charged with enforcing building code compliance.

Proper Building Limit is the Key

To develop an adequate building limit, you must consider not only the replacement cost, but also the additional costs of building ordinance coverages B & C. Discuss these with the insured to identify all ordinances that have been implemented since the building was constructed. This may require a conversation with the governing local jurisdiction. When Building Ordinance Coverage is selected, Sequoia Insurance includes the needed limits as part of the total building limit, instead of identifying specific limits. The advantage of this method is that it allows flexibility for the insured in the event that any of the coverages A, B, or C have been underestimated. The insured has the full building limit to apply to all reconstruction activities. This is managing the risk. This is Risk Management.

Cybersecurity Becoming #1 Concern for General Council and Directors


Carlsbad Business Journal Now Available Digitally!

One of our favorite local publications, the Carlsbad Business Journal, published by the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce, is now available in digital form. Check it out! Carlsbad Business Journal Online

Refer us our next client, get pampered!

We love rewarding those that generously refer us to their friends and colleagues.  With our new referral rewards program, you can reap the benefits of benchmark’s growth.  Simply click THIS LINK to send us the name and contact information for someone who you think could benefit from our services, and you too could benefit!


benchmark Has a New Corporate Office

In May, we relocated our corporate office to our brand new building in Bressi Ranch, Carlsbad.  We took an empty shell and spared no expense on the tenant improvements.  From the “Big Ass Fans”, to the Italian commercial espresso machine at the front, this new space is like no insurance office you have ever seen.  We invite you to come by any time for an artful latte and a casual chat.