Executive Summary: The Workers’ Compensation Policy Institute has completed a second online survey of municipal representatives from

across New York State with the goal of evaluating their experiences with workers' compensation and its costs. The survey reached a broad range of types and sizes of municipalities – and found that most of them are experiencing similar struggles in coping the high costs of operating in New York State. The Institute's analysis of the survey responses produced several highlights:      More than four of five respondents said their workers' compensation costs have increased in the last year. What's more, more than half said their costs had gone up more than 5 percent, and nearly 30 percent said their costs had gone up more than 10 percent. Only 18% of respondents said that their workers’ compensation costs have decreased or remained the same. Of 153 respondents, more than half have secured guaranteed cost coverage for the workers’ compensation. For the respondents with guaranteed cost coverage, 51% have premiums of less than $100,000. 72% of the respondents are in a civil service position at their municipality, while only 18% of respondents are elected officials.

Background The Workers’ Compensation Policy Institute conducted an online survey of municipal representatives from across New York State on workers’ compensation and its costs. More than 150 respondents representing towns, villages, cities, fire districts, library, public authorities and schools responded, providing their best answers to the Institute’s questions about workers’ compensation coverage. Respondents were also given the option of providing the Institute with any additional comments.

Q1. What type of municipality do you represent? Response
Towns Villages Fire Districts Counties Cities Libraries Schools Other Total Responses

Count Response Percentage
49 30 22 16 11 6 4 15 32.03% 19.61% 14.38% 10.46% 7.19% 3.92% 2.61% 9.80%

153

Breakdown of Other entities included in responses: Public benefit corp – 1 Public library – 1 Housing Authority – 1 EMS District – 1 Police District – 1 Local Government - 1 Business improvement District – 1 Water Board – 3 Authority – 1 Olympic Facility – 1 Special District - 2 Town/Village - 1

Q2. In what capacity do you serve your municipality?
Position Held
Civil Servant Elected Official Volunteer Not Specified Total Responses

Count
110 27 12 4

Response Percentage
71.90% 17.65% 7.84% 2.61%

153

Q3. How do you secure your workers’ compensation obligations?
Type of WC Insurance
Guaranteed Cost Self Insured Large Deductible Not Specified Total Responses

Count
100 30 9 14

Response Percentage
65.36% 19.61% 5.88% 9.15%

153

Q4. If you purchase workers’ compensation from a carrier, the State Insurance Fund, or a public entity trust or pool, what were your annual premiums last year?
Carrier Annual Premiums
Less than $100,000 $100,000 - $250,000 $250,000 - $500,000 $500,000 - $1,000,000 Greater than $1,000,000 Not Specified Total Responses

Count
78 32 11 5 4 23

Response Percentage
50.98% 20.92% 7.19% 3.27% 2.61% 15.03%

153

Q5. If you are self-insured or have a large deductible policy, what were your combined payments for benefit and expenses last year? There were not enough responses to this question to yield statistically significant results.

Q6. If you are self-insured, what was the change in loss reserves on your claims last year? There were not enough responses to this question to yield statistically significant results.

Q7. What is the percentage of change in your workers’ compensation costs?
Percentage Change in Comp Costs
Increase less than 5% Increase 5% - 10% Increase 10% - 20% Increase greater than 20% Decreased or Remained the Same Not Specified Total Responses

Count
35 37 25 19 28 9

Response Percentage
22.88% 24.18% 16.34% 12.42% 18.30% 5.88%

153

Q8. Please indicate the size/amount of payroll at your municipality.
Size of Annual Payroll
Less than $1,000,000 $1,000,000 - $5,000,000 $5,000,000 - $10,000,000 $10,000,000 - $20,000,000 Greater than $20,000,000 Not Specified Total Responses

Count
54 37 13 9 13 27

Response Percentage
35.29% 24.18% 8.50% 5.88% 8.50% 17.65%

153

Q9. In what county is your municipality located?
Counties Represented Broome Chautauqua Chemung Clinton Columbia Dutchess Erie Essex Franklin Genesee Greene Hamilton Herkimer Jefferson Livingston Madison Monroe Nassau Niagara Oneida Count
4 1 4 4 1 12 9 4 3 3 1 4 6 1 1 1 10 16 3 2

Response Percentage
2.61% 0.65% 2.61% 2.61% 0.65% 7.84% 5.88% 2.61% 1.96% 1.96% 0.65% 2.61% 3.92% 0.65% 0.65% 0.65% 6.54% 10.46% 1.96% 1.31%

Onondaga Ontario Orange Orleans Otsego Rockland Schuyler Seneca County St. Lawrence Steuben Suffolk Sullivan Tompkins Ulster Washington Wayne Westchester Yates Not Specified
Total Responses

3 2 11 2 1 1 2 1 1 4 9 1 3 2 1 1 14 1 3

1.96% 1.31% 7.19% 1.31% 0.65% 0.65% 1.31% 0.65% 0.65% 2.61% 5.88% 0.65% 1.96% 1.31% 0.65% 0.65% 9.15% 0.65% 1.96%

153

A survey question also sought to evaluate the practicality of gathering information on municipalities' payrolls, claims costs, and reserving practices. Not enough data was provided by respondents to produce a statistically meaningful picture on these questions.

Q10. Does your entity employ emergency responders?
Employ Emergency Responders
Yes No Not Specified Total Responses

Count
55 94 4

Response Percentage
35.95% 61.44% 2.61%

153

Relevant Comments:  New York state assessments are too … high. Someone needs to help with lowering those costs.  Municipalities need relief from the state assessment charges.  Large increases for the past few years.  We are a small town, but fraud is rampant with Comp. Especially with emergency responders. Stricter standards need to be in place and the doctors, lawyers and other involved need to be held accountable. This is costing us all too much.  Workers’ comp premiums are the largest line item in our budget.  The continuously increasing benefit rates (double in the last 5 years) and WCB assessments (nearly double in the last 10 years) are the problems the WCB continues to create for the NYS without regard to the economics of the situation. The WCB needs to control its costs in order to reduce the cost of rates and assessments it charges to perpetuate its own existence.

Kristen Morris is the research associate for the Workers’ Compensation Policy Institute and has more 10 years of experience in the workers’ compensation field. Paul Jahn is the executive director for the Workers’ Compensation Policy Institute and has nearly 30 years of experience in the workers’ compensation field.

Debbie Stickle is the data analyst for the Workers’ Compensation Policy Institute and has more than 10 years' experience as an accountant and data analyst. The Workers’ Compensation Policy Institute is a think tank that examines how the workers’ comp system influences local taxes and services. The Institute focuses on nonpartisan policy research, issues and ideas pertaining to workers' compensation policy in New York State, especially on how these policy issues affect public entities and New York’s taxpayers. The Institute conducts surveys, analyzes data, evaluates workers' compensation issues, and “thinks outside of the box” to develop insights to share with municipal leaders, policy makers, journalists, and other opinion leaders. The Institute seeks to establish itself as the foremost expert in New York State on public entity workers' compensation.

© 2012 Workers Compensation Policy Institute

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