Calculating the EMR Safety Rating: Explained (2023)

In this article, you will learn all about Experience Modification Rate (EMR). You'll discover how to increase or decrease your costs, how to reduce your EMR, and much more. We also cover how to calculate the EMR security rating for your company.
Like the DART and TRIR, the EMR is a lagging indicator that gives you information about your injury rates. Unlike the other two metrics, however, it directly impacts your bottom line. We've put this guide together to help you improve your EMR safety rating and, in turn,reduce your payroll costs.

Satisfied hide summary

1What is the experience modification rate (EMR) for your company?

1.1 How EMR affects workers compensation costs

1.2 New employers vs. existing employers

2How your EMR is calculated

2.1 Who determines experience qualifications?

2.2 What is the Experience Qualification Period?

3 EMR formula

4 What is the lowest possible EMR rating?

5 How can you reduce your EMR?

6Frequently Asked Questions About Experience Rating (FAQ)

6.1 EMR Vs MOD: What's the Difference?

6.2 How long do claims affect experience ratings?

6.3 Does a security program reduce my EMR?

6.4 What is the difference between guaranteed cost and loss-sensitive cost?

7. Conclusion

8 References and further reading

What is Experience Modification Rate (EMR) for your company?

Insurers use the Experience Modification Ratio (EMR) to establish future risks and define premiums for their business. The default average EMR is 1.0 and is used by the insurer as a guide to assess your company's risk and calculate your premiums.

EMR affects the cost of your insurance, but it's a factor you can control by improvingyour safety cultureat work. If you know how to calculate your EMR, also known as "e-mod", you can include positive factors that can reduce your premium. On the other hand, a high EMR can hurt a company's profitability.

How EMR affects workers compensation costs

With the industry standard EMR at 1.0, you'll find that workers' compensation costs increase as you deviate above that number and decrease as you fall below it. Here is an example to illustrate what will happen.

Let's say the workers' compensation in 2020 was $100 at 1.0 EMR for an employee in job class 1016. Now, if the EMR increases to 1.2 in 2021, the workers' compensation for that class will increase to $120 .
The downside is that a higher EMR will accumulate andaffect the entire payroll, but the opposite is also true. A lower EMR will also affect the entire payroll. Injury claims from previous years are also a factor included in calculating the EMR for any business.

Most states use the National Council for Compensation Insurance (NCCI) score calculator, but in some states, the local rating office issues the score calculation. The number of labor claims will drive your EMR, so if you have more claims than the industry average, thatincrease your scoreand therefore workers' compensation costs.

Please note that an EMR qualification is required. If your company meetsNCCI requirementsfor your state, an EMR will be calculated and applied. Insurers cannot modify this score.

New employers vs. existing employers

New employers have an EMR of 1.0 for the first three full years of listing. After that, the compiled data will be enough to determine the company's EMR and compare it to the rest of the industry.

Therefore, new employers have the opportunity to start operations on the right foot and file three years of minimum compensation claims to see their premiums drop.

Of course, if they have more than the industry standard during that time, their premiums will increase after three years.

For existing employers, the rate depends on the last three full years. If the rate is high, they will have to work hard to lower that average and lower their workers' compensation costs.

How your EMR is calculated

Several elements make up the EMR safety rating. They are:


Gross payroll amount for the full 12-month fiscal year.


Job classification rate. This will be issued byICNCin most states, but some states have their own codes. You will find that most workers in the same industry tend to have the same code, but check to be sure.


Discounts, Fines and Fees, given in percentage in the final phase of your premium. Discounts may be granted as a result of implementing health and safety programs, penalties may relate toOSHA finesand other penalties.


Actual Loss, which is found by adding the Actual Primary Loss and the Actual Excess Loss.


Actual primary loss, including claims under $17,000, fully weighted.


Actual Excessive Loss, which includes claims greater than $17,000, but weighted at a discount rate to shift emphasis to companies with many small claims rather than one or two large peripheral claims.


Primary expected loss, which is your expected loss multiplied by your D-ratio.


Excess expected loss, which is your expected loss minus your actual primary loss


Expected loss rate (ELR), which depends on the average for that job class.


The D ratio, also known as the discount ratio, is the expected primary loss ratio added to a discounted primary loss amount and then divided by the expected total loss.


expected loss Find this by multiplying your payroll by your ELR(I) and dividing by 100.


Actual rate, calculated by adding the actual primary loss (E) to the actual excess loss (F) and multiplying by the expected excess loss (H).


Expected rate, found by adding the expected primary loss (G) to the expected excess loss (H) and then multiplied by the expected excess loss (H) as well.

Now you can find your EMR with this calculation:

  • Actual Rate (L) / Expected Rate (M)

Who determines experience qualifications?

The NCCI determines qualifications for experience in35 states currently.

Eleven of the states are independent. They are:

  1. California
  2. Delaware
  3. Indiana
  4. Massachusetts
  5. Michigan
  6. Minnesota
  7. New Jersey
  8. New York
  9. North Caroline
  10. pennsylvania
  11. Wisconsin

Four other states are called "monopoly states," which prohibit the use of private workers' compensation and administer local government-operated schemes. They are Wyoming, Washington, Ohio and North Dakota.

What is the Experience Trial Period?

The qualifying experience period is the number of years of data included in the calculation. It uses information from the last three full financial years, which means your premiums for the year starting January 1, 2021 will include:

  • January 1, 2017
  • January 1, 2018
  • January 1, 2019

They collect data for three years to find an average that is a reasonably accurate representation of their performance. This means you won't be penalized for an exceptionally bad year, and you won't pay less because you had an unusually smooth year.

EMR formula

Once you have the EMR formula, you can find your experience modification rating. The formula looks like this, based on the items listed above:

Tasa real (L) = E + F x H

Expected rate (M) = (G + H) x H

Experience Modify Rate = L/M

What is the lowest possible EMR rating?

Because the EMR is calculated with so many variables, there is no universal lowest rating. If you had no employment claims during the three-year experience qualification period, you will get the lowest score using the above formula.

One way to lower your current score is to implement a safety training program that encourages employees to be aware of their own safety. This will naturally reduce the number of accidents and in return your EMR rating. A California companyCaldera Nacional, achieved this featin July 2017 scoring 0.61.

To determine if you're having success with your EMR, you need to look at trending data. Getting a 0.9 might be good in the context of the industry you work in. However, if your last rating was 0.8, your safety trend record is getting worse and you need to address that.

How can you lower your EMR?

It is important to reduce your EMR because it can significantly reduce your costs. At the same time, a high score can hurt your competitiveness. If you have an EMR of 1.1 and similar companies of a similar size have a 0.9 rating, you will spend 20% more on your insurance premiums on your current policy. This allows other companies to pass discounts to their customers and undercut you, which shows why lower EMR should be a matter of urgency for business owners.

Improving your workplace safety culture to ensure incidents and injuries are reduced is the number one way to reduce your EMR. The fewer claims workers make, the lower their premiums. Leadingdaily safety lectures, encouragingincident report, supervisionalmost failed, and other similar tactics can help improve security on the site.

Aback to work planfor injured employees, it will bring them back to the workplace and can have a positive effect on your average EMR. These plans often include changing their roles and adjusting their workstations to improve security and provide accessibility.

You can also talk to your insurance company or insurance agent about adjusting your EMR in some situations. For example, if you acquire a company with an EMR of 0.8, the insurance company might give you a 1.0 because they see you as a new employer. Here, as long as you can show that you are dedicated to maintaining the previous owner's safety culture, you can have a case.

Experience Rating Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

EMR Vs MOD: What's the Difference?

EMR and MOD are the same, MOD is simply short for "modification". In California, the classification is known as XMod, while some people call it e-mod or experience mod factor.

How long do claims affect experience ratings?

Claims affect your experience qualifications for three financial years. This is because it calculates your EMR using three years of records. Obviously, if you have progressively fewer claims each year, your total number of claims will go down and your EMR will go down.

Does a security program lower my EMR?

Implementing a safety program can help you achieve a lower EMR. First, if you are successful, you will have fewer claims and therefore your EMR will be reduced. Second, you can receive credits from your insurer to launch a program, with more credits for more detailed schemes. Implementing OSHA regulations will also help you avoidsecurity holes.

What is the difference between guaranteed and loss-sensitive cost?

A guaranteed loss work injury insurance policy works as you would normally expect: you pay a fixed cost and the insurer takes the risk. However, some insurers offer loss-sensitive policies. In that case, you assume some risk, with the ultimate premium determined by the amount of losses incurred during the policy term.


With so many expenses at stake in your rating, it is vitally important to keep track of the EMR safety rating calculation. It can help you make your workplace safer, save money on each worker's compensation insurance premium, and gain a competitive edge over your rivals.

References and further reading


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