N.Y. Insurance Dept. Holds Line on Comp Rates

May 17, 2005

Acting Superintendent of Insurance Howard Mills announced recently that the New York Compensation Insurance Rating Board (NYCIRB) has withdrawn its proposed rate increase of 9.5 percent and that workers’ compensation rates will remain at their current levels through Oct. 1, 2005.

“Governor Pataki’s workers’ compensation system reforms are continuing to pay dividends for the state’s employers,” Mills said. “We welcome the Rating Board’s decision to withdraw its filing.” The NYCIRB, which compiles and evaluates data sent to them by all of the state’s workers’ comp insurers, is a private rate service organization licensed under state Insurance Law.

NYCIRB originally sought last year a 29.3 percent increase in workers’ comp insurance rates, which was rejected by the Department in July 2004. The Insurance Department determined at the time that the data NYCIRB submitted to support its request — combined with testimony and information gathered during three public hearings — did not substantiate the increase. The Rating Board subsequently reduced its request to 9.5 percent. That rate request was the topic of a public hearing earlier this year.

Gov. Pataki signed into law in 1996 the New York State Employment, Safety and Security Act, a sweeping reform to the workers’ comp system that has reportedly saved employers millions of dollars because the average manual rates have dropped almost 30 percent since the law’s adoption. The measure also repealed Dole v. Dow, a court-imposed standard that permitted New York employers to be sued by manufacturers of injury-causing equipment. Employers can now be sued by manufacturers for only the gravest of injuries.

In addition, the 1996 law made the crime of workers’ comp fraud a felony and created the office of the Workers’ Compensation Inspector General.

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