If you have somehow stumbled your way upon this article you are probably trying to find insurance coverage in the great state of New York, and you have probably also found yourself wondering “why is it SO hard to find decent coverage at an affordable price?”
The answer to your question can be boiled down to one simple phrase, “Scaffold Law” (Section 240-241 of the NY Labor Law) which has been around since the late 1800’s, predating the workers compensation statute. We can also attribute this law as to why the cost of insuring construction projects can be as much as 10 times higher than other states.
We can talk about the NY labor laws for days, but let focus on Section 240 (1) of the Scaffold Law which states: “an absolute, non-delegable duty upon owners and general contractors to provide a safe working environment for laborers who work at elevation to protect them from ‘gravity-related’ accidents, such as such as falling from heights or being struck by an inadequately secured item,” this law places property owners, contractors and even third parties such as safety equipment manufactures liable for any injuries taken place on the construction site. What makes this law especially difficult is that the laborers own negligence is not taken into consideration when a verdict is made.
The Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York states that losses for construction in New York, especially in New York City, are 300 percent higher than anywhere else in the United States. With numbers like that it is simple to understand why most carriers have decided to “jump ship”, and with limited competition and the possibility of large claims and payouts, rates are high. In fact many carriers even exclude the coverage that contractors need the most, claims made by injured workers.
In conclusion, it is important to discuss the details of any policy you will acquire with an insurance professional, this way you can better understand what the policy does include or exclude, and are not taken by surprise when trying to make a claim.