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Horsemen's Association Eyeing Solutions to Rising Comp Costs

Wednesday, December 27, 2017 | 231 | 0 | 0 min read

Rising workers’ compensation costs is the top issue facing thoroughbred horse owners in New York, according to the state Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association.

Joseph Appelbaum

Joseph Appelbaum

The group’s new president, Joseph Appelbaum, told bloodhorse.com that his members, insurers and state regulators are working on a plan that would include new ways to manage claims, improve safety and create the first-time use of a self-insurance plan.

Appelbaum declined to elaborate, the magazine said.

Workers’ compensation for jockeys, apprentice jockeys and exercise riders now totals about $9 million a year — or 25% of payroll — and has been blamed for pushing some owners and trainers to other states, bloodhorse.com reported.

The New York State Workers’ Compensation Board earlier this month adopted an emergency rule to implement legislation that allows the Jockey Injury Compensation Fund to self-insure its workers’ compensation risk, according to the Dec. 6 edition of the New York State Register.

Budget legislation that passed in April included language that allows the fund to self-insure coverage for jockeys, apprentice jockeys and exercise workers licensed under the state’s pari-mutuel law. The fund now purchases insurance coverage on behalf of those workers by levying an assessment of up to 2% of owners’ purses. 

The board’s emergency rule requires owners and licensed trainers to pay an annual fee into a self-insurance reserve. Any money left over after paying claims will be refunded to the owners and trainers, according to the board’s notice.

“It’s the No. 1 issue for horsemen in New York. Period. End of statement,”' Appelbaum told bloodhorse.com. “We’re hoping in 2018 we have some good news to report.”

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