New York Governor George E. Pataki’s workers’ compensation package is being hailed as a positive first step by the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of New York, Inc. and its industry coalition, NY First NYCAN (New York Compensation Action Network.)
Pataki is proposing reforms he estimates will decrease workers’ comp costs for businesses by 15 percent. Other measures would reduce litigation, better coordinate anti-fraud efforts and authorize comprehensive fee schedules for medical goods and pharmaceuticals.
The plan would also increase benefit levels for workers injured on and off the job, increasing the maximum weekly indemnity benefits paid to injured workers by 25 percent from $400 to $500 per week.
Larry Gilroy, president of the Gilroy, Kernan & Gilroy agency in New Hartford, New York and chair of NY First NYCAN, called Pataki’s plan a “step forward.”
“Enacting meaningful reform to help New York businesses and to help retain and create new jobs for New Yorkers requires immediate action to reduce workers’ compensation costs for employers,” Gilroy said in a recent statement. “The legislature must come together with the governor, businesses and workers to swiftly enact real, meaningful reform that moves New York’s economy forward.”
Gilroy applauded Patakli for adopting some of the reforms advocated by IIABNY and NY First NYCAN.
If passed, the governor’s plan would be the first workers’ comp reform legislation since 1996, which reduced costs by 25 percent on average. Pataki proposed a series of additional reforms to the workers’ comp system in 2004, but the legislature failed to act on them.
NY First NYCAN is a coalition of business interests that back workers’ comp refiorm.
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