IBI’s Disability and Leave Benchmarking database is the nation’s largest dataset of claims from employer-sponsored short-term disability, long-term disability, federal family and medical leave, and Workers’ Compensation benefits programs.

2020 was an extremely challenging year for our industry and overall. The pandemic created many changes in the way employees consumed (or did not consume) care, took leaves, attended work, and adjusted to our new normal. We expected this to be a very anomalous year from a data perspective, and it was. However, based on seeing some outcomes that we did not expect, we performed a deeper dive into these anomalies with our data contributors, actuaries, and industry experts.

Based on our completed investigation into the data submission for 2020, we found there were no impactful ‘errors’ in our calculations for 2020. However, there were some overlying themes we found that influenced the outcomes. These are long-existing challenges we will seek to correct for the next data submission cycle. These include:

  • Lives counts coming from various/multiple systems were incorrect
  • Employer counts based on claim matches were over/understated
  • Our current incidence calculation methodology (done at the employer level and then averaged across vendor) is outdated
  • Multiple SIC codes per employer, but only one field for average lives…. thus, depending on SIC code, lives could be under/overstated
  • Industry definitions of various data fields differ by vendor (‘new claim,’ ‘active claim,’ ‘start date’ etc.)