Changes in the 2019 Experience Modification Formula – Are You Ready? (Part 1)

Author, David J. Garcia, A.A.I, CRIS, President, Rancho Mesa Insurance Services, Inc.

As we approach 2019, there will be several changes in the experience modification formula that directly affects the calculation of an employer's 2019 Experience Modification Rate (EMR). Sadly, most businesses are both unaware and unprepared.

Before we breakdown the changes to the 2019 EMR formula, we must first have a strong understanding of the two critical components that directly affect the outcome of the EMR. This article will be broken out into 2 parts. Part 1 will describe the Primary Threshold and Expected Loss Rate. In Part 2, I will provide an overview of the changes to the EMR calculation. 

The single most important number to my EMR is not my final rating?

Primary Threshold

Rancho Mesa has long taken a stance on the importance of a business owner knowing their primary threshold as it relates to the EMR. Proactive business owners should monitor their primary threshold annually as it is subject to change due to payroll fluctuations, operations, and the annual regulatory filing of the expected loss rate. In general terms, the more payroll associated with your governing class (the class code with the preponderance of your payroll) the higher your primary threshold will be. The primary threshold is unique to every business. The 2019 EMR formula is heavily weighted by the company's actual primary losses, the claim cost (both paid and reserved) that goes into the calculation up the primary threshold amount. Controlling claim cost and knowing your company's primary threshold is the first step to understanding the EMR.

Expected Loss Rates

The expected loss rate is the factor used to anticipate a class code's claim cost per $100 for the experience rating period. The expected loss rate (ELR) is not to be confused with the pure premium rate (PPR). The ELR differs from the PPR in that the ELR simply measures the basic claim cost for a class code without including loss adjustment expense, excess loss load (capped at $175,000 for X-MOD purposes), and loss development. The PPR includes all of the mentioned above factors and is the rate for which a carrier can expect to pay all of the cost associated with claims in a specific industry. The PPR does not account for the carrier’s overhead, profit, tax, and commissions.

The ELR changes, annually. It’s important to monitor the change; if your expected loss rates go down (from our analysis this is the direction most are going) and if nothing else changes, your EMR will go up. Why is this? Again, without going too deep, in simple terms, your EMR is a ratio of actual losses to expected losses. If your expected losses go down, but your actual losses remain the same, then your EMR will go up.  

To illustrate this, consider the following. Actual losses are $25,000 and your expected losses are $25,000 your EMR would be 100. Now, if your actual losses stay the same at $25,000, but your expected losses drop to $20,000, your EMR would now be 125%. (There are other factors that would go into the actual calculation, so your actual EMR would be different – this was just to illustrate the expected losses impact to the EMR.)

In Part 2 of this article, will cover the actual changes to the EMR calculation.

For more information about the EMR, contact Rancho Mesa Insurance Services at (619) 937-0164.