The New York State Insurance Fund (NYSIF), a New York State agency established to provide a guaranteed source of workers’ compensation insurance coverage, is celebrating its centennial anniversary this month.
NYSIF announced that July 1, 2014, marked the 100th anniversary of the Fund. NYSIF can trace its origins in the American workers’ compensation movement to the Factory Investigation Commission of 1909 and the Triangle Shirtwaist Company fire of 1911 in which 146 workers died in New York City.
Both were defining events leading to the New York Workmen’s Compensation Act of 1914. One of the first compulsory workers’ compensation acts in the nation, the law created the State Insurance Fund.
NYSIF wrote its first policy on July 1, 1914, the day the law took effect. NYSIF’s mandate, then as now, was to guarantee coverage for any employer seeking workers’ comp insurance in New York and provide for the payment of benefits stemming from workplace injuries and fatalities for claimants or their survivors.
“For 100 years, NYSIF has supplied a market for entire industries unable to insure elsewhere, including asbestos abatement, roofing, window washers, scrap iron and steel companies, volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers,” NYSIF Chairman Kenneth R. Theobalds said.
NYSIF has served as a stabilizing influence in the workers’ comp market, guaranteeing coverage to help employers and workers avoid the hardships of on-the-job injury and illness. A competitive insurance carrier governed by a board of commissioners composed of private industry leaders appointed by the governor, NYSIF by law cannot deny coverage to any business with operations in New York that has the ability to pay for coverage.
NYSIF is the number one writer of workers’ comp insurance in New York and the sixth largest in the nation, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. It annually insures one-third or more of the market, writing more than $2 billion in workers’ comp premiums in 2013 alone. In 1950, NYSIF’s line extended to disability benefits insurance for off-the-job injuries and illnesses with the passage of the New York State Disability Benefits Law.
“Since 1914, NYSIF has helped countless businesses control costs by offering the best value in workers’ compensation and disability benefits in New York State,” NYSIF Chairman Theobalds said.
NYSIF Executive Director Eric Madoff said: “NYSIF’s core mission is the same as it was 100 years ago: to guarantee the availability of workers’ compensation insurance at the lowest possible cost to any employer in New York, regardless of risk, while maintaining a solvent fund that provides timely and appropriate indemnity and medical payments to injured workers.”
“Over the past century, NYSIF has sustained an unsurpassed record of service to the people of New York,” NYSIF Executive Director Madoff said.
NYSIF by the numbers:
• Approximately 166,000 employers currently hold NYSIF workers’ comp insurance policies, totaling $2.4 billion and constituting 40 percent of the New York market.
• NYSIF active disability benefits policies is at a record high of more than 62,000, representing nearly $17 million in deposit premium.
• In 2013, NYSIF retained approximately 88 percent of the workers’ compensation policies that were in force on December 31, 2012.
• More than 79 percent of NYSIF’s workers’ comp policyholders have a premium less than $10,000.
• NYSIF Safety Group policyholders account for 29 percent of NYSIF’s total workers’ comp policies. (Safety Group plans are fully insured dividend participation plans that enable employers in the same industry to pool their premiums with the goal of curtailing injuries to reduce the final cost of workers’ comp insurance.)
• In 2013, NYSIF’s anti-fraud unit posted 83 arrests and $10.9 million in restitution and estimated savings.
• Currently, NYSIF is managing nearly 132,000 open workers’ compensation claims.
Source: The New York State Insurance Fund