York independent livery companies will have a new insurance
requirement for licensing starting Jan. 1, 2010.
The state is requiring that independent livery bases in
Westchester, Nassau and New York City either join a new Livery
Drivers Benefit Fund or provide proof of workers’ compensation
coverage for all of their drivers.
The new law
signed by Gov. David Paterson in July makes these livery bases
employers of all the drivers they dispatch for the purpose of
workers' compensation. Thus they must either have workers’
compensation coverage, or join the new injury fund to cover
Before the law change, injured livery drivers could go years
without compensation as their cases bounced between the
no-fault insurance and workers' compensation systems,
according to backers of the change.
The new law defines which drivers are employees and which are
independent contractors. It also created the Independent
Livery Drivers Benefit Fund to provide full workers'
compensation coverage for independent-contractor drivers who
suffer serious injuries on the job.
The fund provides benefits for drivers who are dispatched by
qualifying independent livery bases licensed in Westchester,
Nassau and New York City.
Effective Jan. 1, 2010, in order to obtain or renew a license,
each base must provide the governing Taxi and Limousine
Commission with proof of a workers' compensation policy for
its drivers, or a certificate that it is a member of the new
Membership in the fund costs $260 per affiliated vehicle. Loss
costs for the workers’ compensation alternative (assigned
under new classification code 7364) are expected to be $2.70
per $100 of payroll—or between $1,300 and $1,500 per car.
The fund only covers drivers while on dispatch from an
independent livery base. All other employees, dispatchers and
office workers must be covered by a separate workers'
To join the new fund, eligible livery firm owners must first
resolve any outstanding debt with the Workers’ Compensation
Board. Then they must obtain and sign a form that affirms
their eligibility for the fund before completing an
application from the insurer, Hereford Insurance Co., and
submitting it along with payment.
Every independent livery base applying for membership in the
fund must affirm that the livery base is not classified by the
governing Taxi and Limousine Commission as a black car base or
luxury limousine base and is not a member of the New York
Black Car Operators' Injury Compensation Fund, Inc. Their
livery drivers must set their own hours and days of work,
choose which dispatches or fares to accept and not have their
pay subject to federal income tax withholding by the livery