The New York State Workers'' Compensation Board issued 6,200 legal judgments against uninsured employers in 2001. Board Chairman Robert R. Snashall says the judgments enabled the board to put a hold on almost $70 million in assets to encourage uninsured employers to pay their fines.
"By filing these judgments and freezing these assets we are sending a clear message to these uninsured employers. We will impose fines for these violations and we will collect," vows Snashall. "The board will use all of its resources to protect injured workers and preserve the integrity of this system."
Last year, the board collected a record $9.7 million in penalties assessed against uninsured employers. That money was directed to the Uninsured Employers Fund (UEF), which is managed by the board and used to pay benefits to injured workers who were under the employ of an uninsured business at the time of their accident. The remaining funds needed to fully finance the UEF are assessed to New York''s businesses across the state.
The board uses its technology and data mining abilities to help identify employers who are not insured for workers'' compensation claims. When an uninsured employer is identified, a notice is sent to the employer and a penalty is assessed. When the penalty is not rectified within a certain time period, the case is referred to the board''s collection agency, Dun and Bradstreet, which works with local jurisdictions to file the appropriate liens and judgments against the uninsured employer.
"This program has been successful because it gives the board the power to influence the offender''s assets and bottom line," Snashall says.
"This program lowers the workers'' compensation costs for legitimately insured employers. It also reduces potential delays in the delivery of benefits to injured worker by removing litigation associated with the Uninsured Employers Fund," he adds. "Clearly, this is a win-win situation for insured employers and injured workers alike."
by Sandy Smith ([email protected])