Great Coverage Has a New Look
Our new logo symbolizes the protection, security and coverage we provide to New York employers and workers. This bolder, modern look represents our vision for NYSIF and our customer-focused strategy. And while we have changed our branding, you can be sure our mission to protect you and millions of New Yorkers across the state will always stay the same.
A Message from the Executive Director & CEO
At NYSIF, we remain committed to providing excellent customer service to the people who count on us for workers’ compensation and disability benefits insurance coverage. Over the past year, we devoted substantial time to learning what our stakeholders think about us, our products, and our service through a large-scale survey conducted with the help of a professional market research team. We are gratified that most stakeholders are very satisfied with NYSIF in categories that include fair pricing, providing good value, standing behind our products, trust, and ethical behavior. The survey also helped us identify areas where we can improve so that we can better serve our customers, injured workers who have filed claims with us, and other stakeholders.
With more than 200,000 policyholders across programs, NYSIF is New York’s premier workers' compensation insurance carrier and a top value in disability benefits insurance. We appreciate our loyal customers and remain committed to providing you excellent service.
NYSIF ended the year with approximately 153,000 workers’ compensation policyholders, which represented $2.2 billion in earned premium. Policyholder retention improved in 2018, reaching the highest level in five years. Our financial position remained strong as we delivered a combined ratio, with dividends, of 92%.
NYSIF’s disability benefits insurance, including our new Paid Family Leave (PFL) benefit, covered more than 61,000 employers, resulting in earned premium of $56.7 million, including PFL.
We continue to exercise financial discipline through cost containment, increased efficiency, and data analytics. Because of these efforts, in 2018, NYSIF maintained its lowest Loss Cost Modifier (LCM) in history. Combined with our experience-based discounts and safety group dividends for eligible employers, that means that NYSIF’s effective pricing remains among the lowest in the industry.
Helping policyholders contain losses and improve their safety records protects workers and helps NYSIF offer businesses lower premiums. We provide our customers with high-quality safety services to improve workplace safety and accident prevention. We have distributed dividends for 96 consecutive years to safety groups with good safety records; those dividends averaged 22% in 2018. Going forward, we will tailor and target additional industries and business segments to improve safety.
Products and Services
NYSIF successfully implemented PFL beginning in January 2018, the first major addition to our product line since disability benefits insurance was introduced in 1949. PFL is a New York State program that provides paid leave for a parent to bond with a new child, for a family member to care for a loved one with a serious health condition, or for a family member to help relieve family pressures when someone is deployed abroad on military service.
Thanks to advance planning by our PFL team, NYSIF seamlessly integrated this new, mandatory coverage with our disability benefits insurance product. These efforts ensured employers were prepared to meet their PFL obligations and allowed NYSIF to effectively manage 5,550 new PFL claims in 2018.
Customer Service and Operations
Emphasis on Customer Feedback
Communication is key to connecting with our customers and providing excellent service. Each time we interact with our customers, we have an opportunity to establish and reinforce positive relationships, and to improve the quality of the customer’s experience with NYSIF.
Historically, we have used a one-size-fits-all approach by handling every customer in the same fashion. Over the past year, our goal was to understand our customers better so we can create processes and provide services targeted to our distinct customer segments. As we continue to learn more about our customers’ needs, NYSIF will be able to deliver more tailored services and increase customer satisfaction.
Launch of Redesigned Billing Statement
Survey results showed that many customers found NYSIF billing confusing. In line with efforts to make our products more user-friendly, we launched a redesigned, simpler, more intuitive workers’ compensation and disability benefits premium bill. After preliminary testing and a summer promotional campaign, we rolled out our new bill in late November.
"This is a much better statement to understand." 90% of survey respondents agreed that NYSIF's new billing statement was easier to understand.
The new bill contains what customers wanted most: a clear beginning balance, minimum amount due and due date, and a chronological listing of account transactions. A follow-up survey to all stakeholders showed that 90% of respondents found the new statement easier to read and understand. The redesign also resulted in a 21% drop in calls to NYSIF’s Contact Center for payment and balance inquiries.
Focus on the Contact Center
Customers reach out to NYSIF’s Contact Center when they need assistance. In 2018, the Contact Center processed approximately 243,000 transactions and realized significant improvements across the board. We ended the year with an answer rate of over 95%, a significant improvement from an answer rate of 89% in 2017.
Our call handling time, which includes both talk time and after-call work, has decreased by over 90 seconds. The Contact Center experienced hold times of over eight minutes in January 2018. By year-end, the average hold time was less than one minute, representing a 90% improvement. Decreasing talk time and hold times contributed to our increased answer rate, a lower call abandonment rate, and an overall improvement to the customer experience.
Better Premium Audit Experience
In 2018, we launched our Premium Audit Secure Document Upload site at nysif.com, allowing customers to easily upload required audit documents to NYSIF and avoid the need for an on-site audit. In its first seven months, the system received more than 8,200 documents, which led to some 700 completed audits without a physical, on-site audit. The upload feature saves time and resources for both policyholders and NYSIF. NYSIF can more easily balance audit workloads throughout the state, which reduces costs and decreases audit time.
Completed audits reduce the need for estimated audits, a pain point for policyholders. The success of these enhancements and our efforts to help customers prepare for audits enabled NYSIF to surpass its target goal by reducing estimated audits to 3.1% of all audits in 2018, down from 6.2% in 2017 and 11% in 2016.
Faster Quotes, Faster Policies
Our eQuote and eApplication systems expedite new business application processing through automation and improved workflow. In 2018, we introduced an online Auto Quote system that automatically generates an instant on-screen quote for select workers’ comp applicants, accelerating coverage for household workers, medical offices, clerical and retail operations, and others. Our latest improvements have streamlined the e-signature process for new applicants, making it easier for policyholders, brokers and their clients to click, sign, and secure coverage.
Improved Communications with Producers
Our relationship with producers continues to grow through our Producers’ Advisory Council, comprised of insurance agents and brokers, which explores how NYSIF can help agents better serve their clients. As a result of our improved lines of communication, we have been able to successfully address many of the operational issues that our producers have encountered in working with NYSIF. We look forward to working together to build on this relationship to the mutual benefit of our customers.
"NYSIF did an outstanding job of walking me through everything my client needed..." NYSIF continues to grow our relationship with agents and brokers.
Quicker Claims Payments
When an employee is out of work due to a work-related injury or illness, the single most important thing we can do for that person is to provide prompt workers’ comp benefit payments. Over the past year, we made it a priority to reduce the time it takes to make initial benefit payments to injured workers. In 2018, we reduced the average amount of time to make a claim payment by 23% from 2017.
To support this effort, we reorganized our Claims Department to maximize consistency and efficiency. In addition, we encouraged policyholders and their representatives to report injuries within 24 hours of the injury taking place.
In 2018, we achieved many goals in line with our strategic plan to provide the best value in workers’ compensation and disability benefits insurance. We are committed in 2019 to better understanding our relationship with different customer segments, soliciting feedback, and continuing to tailor services to address your needs.
It is my privilege to uphold NYSIF’s history of more than a century of service to businesses and employees in New York State. I am honored to serve alongside a talented Executive team and staff that is dedicated to making your experience with NYSIF the best it can be. Thank you for making NYSIF your workers’ compensation and disability benefits insurance carrier. We look forward to continuing to bring you a better customer experience.Eric Madoff
Executive Director & CEO