UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Approaches to assessing wage loss duration at the Workers’ Compensation Board of British Columbia Walker, David Douglas


The Workers' Compensation Board of British Columbia monitors the wage loss duration of claims processed by their organization in order to assess organizational effectiveness and track a system cost driver. Multiple methods of calculating and reporting claim wage loss exist within the organization and performance results depend on which metric is used. Using existing WCB claim data, new measurements of claim duration are proposed and a comparison of wage loss metrics is conducted. The methods of wage loss measurement proposed in this study include predicted claim wage loss duration, cumulative wage loss paid to claims, claim age at closure identified using survival analysis, uncensored claim wage loss and the proportion of claims closed in the months following registration. These metrics are compared to the existing wage loss metrics which are retrospective wage loss duration and the Association of Workers' Compensation Boards of Canada complete duration. A comparison of wage loss metrics indicates that claim durations vary depending on which calculation is used. Cumulative wage loss duration is found to be higher than either of the existing metrics. Age at closure and uncensored claim duration are higher than predicted wage loss duration but lower than existing metrics. Each of the proposed metrics is capable of identifying the effect of claimant age and injury type when wage loss durations are compared across sub groups of claims. The study also indicates that in the current form, predicted wage loss duration does not accurately represent claim wage loss. The study identifies weakness in each method of computing claim wage loss and that depending on the use of the metric different measures may be appropriate. In some cases, using cumulative wage loss duration may be worthwhile to track longer claims. Uncensored claim duration and age at closure are more appropriate when comparisons of claim duration for different periods are required.

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