An attorney for New York’s unions and claimants lawyers for an association of livery services have requested that state regulators deny a request from the New York Compensation Insurance rating Board (NYCIRB). That request was asking the regulators to increase loss costs by an average of 11.5% which would become effective in October.
Chairman of the New York Workers Compensation Alliance, Robert Grey, stated that the proposed change would cost employers $500 million. It would also raise rates by more than they declined once former Governor Eliot Spitzer signed off on several workers compensation reforms in March 2007. Grey further stated that loss costs and rates have already increased by 9% over the rates which were charged at the time the reforms were passed.
The Chairman argued in his testimony that rates has remained flat between 1995 and 2005 and there was not previously a problem with rates before 2007 even though all of the reforms were made. He suggested the move was motivated by insurance companies who are only interested in earning a profit.
The reforms had increased the maximum weekly benefit for employees for the first time since the 1990s. They also placed duration caps on permanent partial disability benefits. The reforms required the New York State Workers Compensation Board to develop a pharmacy fee schedule, a medical treatment guideline which was a first for the state, and a new set of impairment guidelines where are specific to New York. The new guidelines covered the back, neck, shoulder, and knee and were implemented on December 1, 2010.
Essentially the workers’ attorneys are arguing that the costs of workers compensation are ‘tremendous’ and if rates continue to risk, many of the livery companies which include city taxi cab services, will end up going out of business. The ruling is expected next month regarding the loss cost filing.