NY Jockey Injury Compensation Fund gets decrease in premium

Posted: Dec. 29, 2017

For the first time in more than a decade, there will be a decrease in the premium for the workers’ compensation insurance policy for jockeys and exercise riders in New York, the New York Jockey Injury Compensation Fund announced Dec. 29.

Officials reported the 2018 premium reduction will be more than $750,000. It marks a victory for the NYJICF and the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, which have worked for years to lower workers’ comp costs.

The addition of two insurance experts—Corporate Risk Solutions and JLT Specialty Insurance Services Inc.—and increased safety measures in 2017 are credited with the positive development, the NYJICF said.

“We’ve put together a very effective team, headed by Andre Eichenholtz of JLT and Nicole Katz of CRS,” NYJICF Chairman Rick Violette Jr. said. “The first success was bringing in an insurance powerhouse, Zurich, last year to provide not only the coverage for the NYJICF, but also top-of-the-line claims management, which goes a long way toward holding down costs. Our team worked feverishly this year with Zurich to save the NYJICF more than $750,000 in 2018.

“We’ve also turned up the spotlight on safety in New York, in the barns and on the racetrack. The Marsh Risk Management’s comprehensive Operational Risk Assessment, commissioned by the NYJICF and the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association in 2016, provided us with many recommendations that have been adopted and paid immediate dividends. Ultimately, the best way to lower premiums is to lower the frequency and severity of injuries.”

NYTHA President and NYJICF board member Joe Appelbaum underlined the collaborative efforts that have helped reverse the upward spiral of workers’ compensation costs. He said the fund worked with the New York State Gaming Commission, New York Racing Association, Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack and its horsemen, and NYTHA on adoption of various safety measures that led to the premium reduction.

“It’s a great example of what the Thoroughbred industry can do when it pools its resources to reach a common goal,” Appelbaum said. “We have created written guidelines for exercise riders, adopted up-to-date regulations for safety vests and helmets, introduced a voucher program to help defray the cost of new equipment for exercise riders, instituted random inspections to ensure that safety equipment is up to code and random breathalyzers for exercise riders, and we have paramedics on duty during racing and training.

“The workers’ comp crisis cannot be solved in one year. We have an ongoing commitment to safety and claims management, and will continue to explore all options for program structure. Our work has just started, but we believe we are on a path that will save money for New York’s horsemen and make the state a better place to do business.”

Earlier this year the New York THA and NYRA announced a per-start credit for the Aqueduct Racetrack 2017-18 winter meet to assist horsemen with workers’ comp costs.

(New York racing photo by Jessica Hammond)