Board proposes cutting workers' comp rate by 11.7 percent

May 18, 2018

Workers' compensation premiums will likely fall 11.7 percent this year, a figure that's more than double last year's decline.

The New York Compensation Insurance Rating Board is recommending the cut, which would need approval from the state Department of Financial Services. DFS has until July 15 to approve or disapprove the decrease, which would take effect Oct. 1.

The rate decline represents the average rate decrease for employers, said a spokeswoman for the state Workers' Compensation Board. The actual rate for each employer depends on a variety of factors, like the nature of the employment.

The board's report credits the decline in part to reforms in last year's state budget.

In a statement, Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan estimated the "sizable" decrease would lower workers' compensation premiums by $1 billion and save employers more than $800 million in premiums.

"We know how important it is to help businesses reduce out-of-control mandated costs, while also continuing to protect injured workers," he said. "We successfully enacted legislation to maintain that balance and now we need DFS to approve the new rate so that our state's employers will be able to use that $1 billion to invest, grow, and create even more jobs for hardworking New Yorkers."

The New York State Business Council is also pleased with the cut, said Lev Ginsburg, director of government affairs. It represents "significant savings for employers who pay workers' compensation premiums" and reflect a trend toward safer workplaces, he said.

"It's good for employers and employees too," Ginsburg said.

Most employers will likely see their premiums go down, he added.

Mario Cilento, president of the New York State AFL-CIO, said the organization was successful in protecting benefits for workers who have been injured on the job.

"We have always supported a Workers' Compensation system that puts the needs of workers first while working toward improvements to the system which is why we pushed to ensure that any savings go to employers and not insurance companies," he said.

In the private sector, more than 139,000 nonfatal injuries and illnesses were reported in New York last year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The state's incidence rate of 2.3 cases per 100 full-time workers is lower than the national rate of 2.9 and relatively unchanged from New York's rate in 2015.

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