WORKERS’ COMP EMPLOYER COSTS, WORKER BENEFITS AT HISTORIC LOWS – INSURER PROFITS RISING

New York, NY – February 21, 2017 – The New York Workers’ Compensation Alliance has released a new paper analyzing new reports from the insurer-based New York Compensation Insurance Rating Board, the United States Department of Labor, and the National Academy of Social Insurance.  The extensive data in this trio of reports clearly establishes that employer costs for workers’ compensation and benefits for injured workers are at historic lows, while insurer profits are skyrocketing.

 The WCA paper includes the following major findings:

  • Nationwide, employer costs for workers’ compensation are at their lowest levels in 35 years.
  • In New York, nearly 80% of employers pay less than $5,000 per year in workers’ compensation insurance premium, and nearly 97% pay less than $50,000 per year.  However, the 3.5% of employers who do pay more than that – large corporations – account for nearly 70% of insurer revenues.
  • Combined ratio – a rough measure of insurer profits – has improved nearly a third from over 144% in 2010 to 102% in 2015.
  • Since 2010, as employer costs have increased slightly, worker benefits have actually declined.
  • New York’s delivery of benefits, measured by compliance with the 1972 National Commission standards, fell from 13th in the country in 1972 to 42nd in 2004.

Robert Grey, the WCA Chair, said that “the first thing that jumps out at you from the data is how low employer costs really are.  And the second thing that jumps out at you is how much of the employer premium dollar stays with the insurance industry, and how little of it flows through in benefits for injured workers.”

Gregory Connors, an attorney in Western New York and WCA Board member, said “the report really shows you that there’s just no truth to the Business Council’s claims about ‘the high cost of workers’ comp.’  The whole campaign is just about making a handful of super-rich companies even richer at the expense of workers.”

Victor Pasternack, an attorney in New York City, said “I’ve been practicing in this field for over forty years, and it’s been clear for a long time that things have gotten harder and harder for injured workers.  Now there’s data to prove it, straight from the insurance companies themselves.

The paper is available here.

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