Governor Hochul Signs Legislation to Help Struggling Businesses Access Low-Cost Workers’ Compensation Coverage

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that she has signed legislation restoring the ability of thousands of New York businesses to access low-cost workers’ compensation coverage through the New York State Insurance Fund, New York’s largest workers’ compensation insurer and a centerpiece of the State’s low – cost insurance market.

“At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of New York businesses struggling to stay afloat lost access to affordable workers’ compensation coverage when they needed it most,” Governor Hochul said. “But today, thanks to bill sponsors Senator Ramos and Assembly Member Fernandez, we’re announcing action to ensure that businesses can continue to protect their workers with affordable coverage while addressing any back premium. This bill will restore much-needed access, saving businesses across the state millions of dollars in premium and helping their bottom line.”

New York law requires businesses to secure workers’ compensation coverage, which most obtain through NYSIF or a private insurer. But unlike private insurers, NYSIF insures any employer that applies for coverage regardless of risk at the lowest possible cost to maintain a solvent fund. NYSIF may only cancel a policy for non-payment of premium and until now was precluded from re-issuing a policy to a business that owed it premium.

The new law will enable NYSIF to issue a policy to a business with an outstanding balance, allowing the company to pay the owed premium under an installment plan. In doing so, the legislation will give more than 3,000 New York businesses renewed access to the largest segment of the low-cost insurance market, generating an aggregate of $8 million in potential premium savings, or an average of approximately $2,000 per policyholder.

Gaurav Vasisht, Executive Director and CEO, NYSIF, said“Thanks to Governor Hochul’s leadership, employers across New York can now stay insured by NYSIF and protect their employees during difficult times. The new law also affords NYSIF an opportunity to reconnect with our public mission, giving us the flexibility to help employers in distress and ensure a fair marketplace.”

State Senator Jessica Ramos said, “The bills stacked up for small businesses during the pandemic, and even though the enacted budget included meaningful measures to allow them to regain revenue, they need more support to get back on their feet. I’m thrilled that the Governor is signing this S9096, and ensuring that circumstances beyond a small business’s control won’t exclude them from NYSIF’s low cost insurance coverage.”

Assemblymember Nathalia Fernandez said, “Credible solutions to coverage, recovery, and opportunity. This is the intent of what this bill has to offer for the thousands of New Yorkers who have been forced to close their businesses and are struggling to get back on their feet. With the signing of this piece of legislation, business owners can now start a new insurance policy while paying back their previous policy. This is not only a success for our small business owners, but a success in the battle for the people to dismantle the walls and barriers that are holding back New Yorkers from success, as well as social and economic mobility. I thank Governor Hochul for her support in signing this bill into law and empowering a movement to better support recovery efforts in New York and new pathways for opportunity for the people.”

Under the new law, policyholders can work with NYSIF to establish a payment plan, for both the outstanding balance and premium on the new policy. All companies must also meet NYSIF’s general underwriting standards. For more information visit www.NYSIF.com.

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