WCA Press Release on State of the State, 2013
New York, NY – Jan. 9, 2013 -- The New York Workers’ Compensation Alliance, a coalition of injured workers and those committed to protecting the rights of injured workers, today praised actions to streamline the Workers’ Compensation system outlined by Governor Andrew Cuomo in his State of the State address.
In particular, NYWCA hailed Cuomo’s call to close the 25-a Fund, or Reopened Case Fund, which has been an agenda item for NYWCA for several years. Eliminating this fund will reduce assessments on employers by 25 percent.
“We are very pleased that the Governor’s agenda includes closing the Reopened Case Fund, which would reduce workers’ compensation assessments for New York employers by 25 percent, in addition to the more than 50 percent reduction that will ultimately be achieved through the previous closure of the Second Injury Fund,” said Robert Grey, Chairman of NYWCA. “This has long been an agenda item of the WCA because we want appropriate benefits for injured workers at the lowest cost to employers, and closing these Special Funds will reduce assessments on employers by nearly 80 percent.”
Grey said: “This move will especially benefit employers with good safety and health programs. The Governor’s commendable proposal will save money for responsible employers while continuing to deliver benefits to injured workers.”
NYWCA recently released a report revealing that workers’ compensation costs in New York State have declined dramatically in the past two decades and that workers’ compensation is also a declining portion of overall employer costs. The report shows that workers’ compensation reforms in 2007, combined with other administrative and regulatory initiatives, reduced worker access to benefits while also reducing claim costs. The report shows that costs have actually declined by a full 30 percent during the past 18 years.
The report also demonstrates that the cost of workers’ compensation is comparable to similarly situated states, such as Connecticut, California, Illinois and New Jersey, and that costs could be even lower if insurance companies were required to be transparent and verify the projected costs that they use to justify rate increases. At present, insurance carriers submit unaudited “projected cost increases” as a basis for premium increases that unfairly impact employers.
The NYWCA report -- which features raw data and charts from the New York Compensation Insurance Rating Board, the National Council on Compensation Insurance and the NYS Department of Labor, among other sources -- demonstrates that workers’ compensation employer costs, as a percentage of total compensation, have dropped from 1.6 percent in 2001 to 1.5 percent in 2011.