University of Vermont

Vermont Equine Business Owner
We need your help with our effort to lower Workers‘ Compensation rates for VT Horse Farms

The code used for Workers’ Compensation coverage pertaining to equine exposures has increased yet again this year.

The single code available for the categorizing of employee payroll on horse farms, code 8279, went up along with virtually all other codes in VT.  

Of great concern to the equine industry - there is just one code under which all equine employees are listed. This is not true for other farmers and businesses. With only one code breeding, training, boarding, racetrack exposure and race training, and several other exposures, all fall under one rate. All equine business employees are being accessed at the highest exposure rate no matter what their job is on the farm. That one rate is higher than the rate on dairy farms.

Chittenden County Farm Bureau would like to see additional codes available for the equine industry in Vermont.

New York State Insurance Department has segmented rates into a more equitable spread of exposures, and in the process assesses a more just rating system for their equine producers. Rates for horse-related employee payroll in NY can differ by as much as six dollars per hundred dollars of payroll! So an equine business owner would pay much less for workers’ compensation on employees doing less risk related jobs such as cleaning stalls or doing the farm book work.

Now we have a chance to do the same! Farm Bureau is working with the State of Vermont WC division to promote the development of different codes to more accurately reflect what equine business employees are doing.  In mid-September, the VT State rep (Kevin Gaffney) is meeting with NCCI (National Council on Compensation Insurance), to see if this is feasible in VT.

Please contact Kevin by September 16th with information about your business experience with workers’ compensation rates.  For example: How does having one code (8279) misrepresent what your employees do?  Keep in mind one code that incorporates exposure for race tracks costs more than several codes that take into account boarding, breeding, stabling, etc… How has this affected your bottom line?  Would you be able to employ more people if insurance costs reflected exposures in a realistic way? If you employ fewer people due to expensive insurance rates, do you as the business owner have to make up the labor hours?  How does this affect business operations?

This information will help Kevin prepare for his meeting with NCCI. A farm owner telling their story about how the status quo affects their business is a very powerful tool. Please email Kevin at:  by September 16th

By working together, we have an opportunity to make workers’ compensation rates for equine businesses in Vermont more equitable.

Last modified September 10 2013 03:12 PM

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