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March 4, 1999 

Governor creates panel to study 'special funds' in workers' compensation

Governor Pataki has created a new commission to study special funds in the state's workers' compensation system.

The Business Council supports the creation of the commission and has been asked by the Governor to recommend one of the appointees to it, according to Stacey Hengsterman, The Council's specialist in workers' compensation issues.

New York State maintains many special funds to ensure long-term payout of certain workers' compensation claims. The costs of these special funds are distributed among all employers in the state.

Some of these funds were created as part of the original law. Others were created in response to emerging issues or circumstances, Hengsterman noted.

Special funds assessments constitute about 6 percent of the workers' compensation premium paid by New York's employers, she added.

Last year, The Council's workers' comp committee added a subcommittee to assess the value of these funds to both workers and employers.

That subcommittee is mulling possible recommendations for reform of these funds, Hengsterman said.

Governor Pataki's new commission will review the same topics: the purposes for which the funds were established; their effectiveness in fulfilling their purposes; and the financial condition of the funds, including historical assessment patterns, payout patterns from these funds, and their unfunded ultimate liabilities.

The new commission will be made up of 15 members appointed by the Governor.

The Business Council's Workers' Compensation Committee includes more than 600 individuals representing members with many interests related to workers' compensation, she said.