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Revised WC loss costs take effect Oct. 1, 2019

In May, an application for an overall loss cost decrease of 10% was submitted to the New York Department of Financial Services by the New York Compensation Insurance Rating Board. The DFS approved the application as requested with an effective date of Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019.

There is no change in deductible premium credits; the loss costs for terrorism; the loss costs for natural disasters and catastrophic industrial accidents; and the Workers Compensation Security Fund surcharge (remaining at 0%). However, the United States Longshore and Harbor Workers Coverage percentage is changed from 77.8 to 78.8.

Individual classifications

Although the average change in classification loss costs is -10%, changes to individual classification loss costs can vary significantly. The NYCIRB has released Bulletin 2489, which contains the new loss costs by classification and a comparison by classification between the new loss costs and the 2018 loss costs. For example, Garbage Works (Code 7590) jumps 13.1 percent, while Domestic Workers–Outside–Occasional (Code 0909) drops 24.7%.

Loss cost multipliers

NYCIRB only publishes the loss costs and the final rates must be developed by insurers applying their individually approved loss cost multiplier. The multiplier reflects the insurer’s anticipated profit and expenses unrelated to loss adjustment. In addition, each carrier must determine and file its own expense constants, minimum premiums for each employment classification, the maximum/minimum premium; and tables of premium discounts.

Insurers that have loss cost multipliers approved by the DFS currently do not have to refile them in order to utilize the Oct. 1, 2019, loss costs. Each insurer’s current multiplier can be viewed here.

Assessments

The 2013 Business Relief Act simplified the billing and collection of assessments. By Nov. 1, 2013, and every year thereafter, the NYCIRB will publish an assessment rate as a percentage of premium to be used by all payers beginning Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020. All statutory assessments will be combined into this single assessment, except for the so-called self-insurers’ assessment. The current assessment charge of 12.6%is applicable through Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019.

Benefits

The weekly maximum wage benefit increased from $904.74 to $934.11, effective July 1, 2019. This benefit amount is set at two-thirds of the New York State Average Weekly Wage, calculated for 2018 and reported by the Department of Labor on March 31, 2019, to be $1,401.17.

Rating elements

The maximum average weekly remuneration for executive officers, sole proprietors and partners increases from $2,150 to $2,200. The maximum remuneration for nonexecutive officers increases from $5,725 to $5,875. The minimum remuneration amount remains at $725 for executive officers, sole proprietors and partners, but increase for not-for-profit executive officers from $350 to $375.

Payroll limitation program

The payroll cap under the New York Workers’ Compensation Construction Employment Payroll Limitation Program increased from $1,357.11 to $1,401.17 per week for policies with effective dates on and after July 1, 2019. According to provisions in the 2007 Workers Compensation Reform Act, this limit is adjusted every year based upon changes in the average weekly wage as calculated by the DOL. The differential remains at 0% for all three territories.

Experience rating plan

The formula to determine the experience modification factor includes entries for “primary” actual and expected losses and “excess” actual and expected losses. Primary and excess losses are separated at a “split point.” Effective Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019, the “split point” changes from $16,500 to $17,000. This means that a few more claims will cross the primary loss threshold and impact the experience rating modification. In addition, rating values for use with the New York Experience Rating Plan have been revised, as provided in Bulletin 2490.

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