The New York Compensation Insurance Rating Board is an association of insurance companies that collects data about the workers’ compensation system, files proposed insurance costs with the New York State Department of Financial Services, and publishes research and reports. Each year, the Rating Board issues a “State of the System” report with a wealth of valuable information about workers’ comp claims and insurance costs.
The Rating Board’s 2021 report proposed a 6.4% reduction in employer workers’ compensation costs. Combined with reductions that took place in every year from 2017 through 2020, workers’ comp costs have dropped over 30% for New York employers over the past five years. To put this in context, over 75% of employers pay less than $5,000 per year for workers’ compensation insurance – and an employer who paid $5,000 in 2016 would have seen its premium bill drop to $3,500 by 2021.
These cost savings are not coming out of the pockets of insurance companies. To the contrary, even as employer costs have been dropping, workers’ comp insurers have been posting record profits – over $1 billion per year in 2019 and 2020 and almost $4 billion in the past five years.
It is clear that employer savings and insurer profits have been coming directly from huge reductions in benefits for injured workers. At the request of business and insurance interests, the Workers’ Compensation Law was amended in 2007 and again in 2017 to slash benefits for workers. The Workers’ Compensation Board has also adopted policies and made decisions that have further accelerated the deterioration in worker benefits.
It’s time for New York to reverse these trends and put the system to work for those it was intended to protect: injured workers.