The objective of this study was to measure changes in injury claim rates after a premium discount program was implemented in the Finnish farmers' workers' compensation insurance. We focused on measures that could indicate whether the changes occurred in the true underlying injury rate, or only in claims reporting.
Monthly injury claim rates were constructed at seven disability duration levels from January 1990 to December 2003. We conducted interrupted time series analyses to measure changes in the injury claim rates after the premium discount was implemented on July 1, 1997. Three additional policy change indicators were included in the analyses.
The overall injury claim rate decreased 10.2%. Decreases occurred at four severity levels (measured by compensated disability days): 0 days (16.3%), 1-6 days (14.1%), 7-13 days (19.5%), and 14-29 days (8.4%). No changes were observed at higher severity levels. Minor injuries had a seasonal pattern with higher rates in summer months while severe injuries did not have a seasonal pattern.
The premium discount decreased the overall claim rate. Decreases were observed in all categories up to 29 disability days. This pattern suggests that under-reporting contributes to the decrease but may not be the only factor. The value of the premium discount is lower than the value of a lost-time claim, so there was no financial reason to under-report lost-time injuries. Under-reporting would be expected to be greatest in the 0 day category, but that was not the case. These observations suggest that in addition to under-reporting, the premium discount may also have some preventive effect.