New York State Fund Has More Power Than Any Carrier
If a NY employer owes unpaid premium to the State Insurance Fund (NYSIF) and the employer is owed money by a branch of New York state government, the State Fund has an expedited method of collecting. It can, and almost certainly will, see that the premium is withheld from payments due on any contract with state government, an advantage no private carrier possesses. Furthermore, this method bypasses such details as a lawsuit.
The basis for this is contained in a decision this week from the Appellate Division, Third Department – “Suburban Restoration, Inc. v Office of the State Comptroller”, NY Slip Op 070221. The decision recognizes that NYSIF is, for nearly every purpose, a state agency, although it is uniquely paid by assessments on insurance companies, not by taxes.
Connected to Inner Workings of Central Computer
That might seem to be a small distinction but it leads to a feature which confers upon it enormous power – it, alone among comp carriers, is connected to the inner workings of the central computer of the State of New York. It is, therefore, a mouse-click away from all the information it needs to collect any unpaid premium from a contract with the State of New York.
It is generally supposed that the decision will mainly affect construction contracts, but it could equally apply to selling pencils and paper to SUNY. In turn, many employers might wish to rethink using a comp carrier that can bypass every legal protection and unilaterally demand, and collect, payments.
Disputes Heard in Court of Claims
If the employer wishes to dispute the charges and collections there is a double surprise awaiting. As long as there is unpaid premium (or ALLEGED unpaid premium) access to new state contracts may be cut off. And legal disputes cannot be brought in the regular state courts – they must be heard in the Court of Claims, a court which handles suits against the state and which, it is rumored, tends to see the state’s point of view a bit more clearly than other courts.
Author: Attorney Theodore Ronca is a practicing lawyer from Aquebogue, NY. He is a frequent writer and speaker, and has represented employers in the areas of workers’ compensation, Social Security disability, employee disability plans and subrogation for over 30 years. Attorney Ronca can be reached at 631-722-2100. firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor Michael B. Stack, CPA, Director of Operations, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in employer communication systems and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. He is a writer, speaker, and website publisher. www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com. Contact: email@example.com.
WORKERS COMP MANAGEMENT MANUAL: www.WCManual.com
Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.
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