Thursday, April 3, 2014

Z, Carey, Fey & WCC - All Together

I know how Jay-Z, Jim Carey and Tina Fey feel now.

I opened up the mail yesterday and was astounded to get a notice that WorkCompCentral is being fined by the New York State Compensation Board $4,000 for failing to secure work comp insurance for it's sole New York employee.

W?! T?! F?!!!!

How did this happen? Who dropped the ball? And that employee was just hired about 8 weeks ago - how could the fine be THAT much (about 8% of the total payroll for that employee)?

And WorkCompCentral of all businesses! Oy vey - the embarrassment and professional shame; probably the worst thing that could happen to a business that so righteously and piously covers the workers' compensation industry's news.

Certainly that piddly amount pales compared to Tina Fey's $79,000 penalty - but then again Tina Fey's investments and businesses likely make more in one week than WorkCompCentral does in an entire year.

Tina Fey's insurance broker took the fall for her, stating publicly that it was a clerical error on the part of the brokerage that caused the oversight.

“We collectively accept full responsibility for this clerical error,” said DeMille Halliburton, vice president of insurance broker Robertson Taylor. “Tina Fey was never delinquent in paying premiums or having the proper … coverage.”

In 2011, the NY SWB obtained an $18,000 judgment against rapper Jay-Z for failing to provide coverage for his household staff in New York City for three months during 2009. The board later withdrew the judgment against the musician after finding that the failure in coverage was caused by a clerical error on the part of his insurer.

I have to make the same sort of claim, so I hope that the powers that be at SWB take pity on me and WCC.

Turns out we covered the employee in New Jersey - that's what my broker says at least - and he has a policy to prove that.

What would my California based broker know? New York, New Jersey - they both are on the East Coast, right next to each other. Both start with "New".

And obviously the intent was there to cover - otherwise we would not have purchased any insurance whatsoever.

Last year, SWB asked the New York County Supreme Court to vacate a $72,000 judgment against comedian and actor Jim Carrey who also ran afoul of policy checks, and it turns out that Carrey actually had coverage in place, but a clerical error by Travelers Insurance Co. made it appear that he didn't.

Certainly New York's policy of presumption of guilty until proven innocent gets headlines and should make employers think twice about skirting their coverage obligations.

But in the case of the happy wanderer, who ignorantly had every reason to believe coverage was in place and has acted quickly to correct the error, such a fine should be waived.

Compliance has occurred. I plead guilty. Just lighten my sentence based on my good behavior...

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