Council endorses bill to ensure that employers can appeal WC rates


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The Business Council is urging lawmakers to guarantee employers the right to appeal their workers' compensation rate classification if they think it is wrong. The bill, which is sponsored by Assembly Majority Leader Michael Bragman and Senator Thomas Libous, would provide such a guarantee, said Stacey Hengsterman, The Business Council's specialist in workers' comp issues.Workers' compensation rates are currently set by rate service organizations affiliated with insurance companies. These rates are based on a variety of factors, including the employer's experience and type of industry. New York's rate service organization, the Compensation Insurance Rating Board (CIRB), provides for an appeals process in its guidelines, but the CIRB does not guarantee an appeal, Hengsterman said."Without a guaranteed appeal, employers can be burdened with incorrect classifications and unfairly high workers' comp rates," she said. "This legislation would produce a fair and enforceable process through which employers could seek to correct unfair rates," she added.The pending bill would require employers to ask CIRB in writing for a review. The CIRB would be required to respond within 60 days. Results could be appealed to the Superintendent of Insurance within 30 days. If a hearing is justified, employers would be notified in writing by the superintendent.

The CIRB receives more than 10,000 letters each year about employers' classifications, Hengsterman noted.