LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Our New Title and Workers’ Comp Insurance

© 2008 Door & Access Systems
Publish Date: Summer 2008
Author: Tom Wadsworth
Pages 55


Our New Title and Workers’ Comp Insurance

To the editor:

We here in New York would like to know if this new occupational title of Automated Access Systems Technician will have any effect on our workers’ compensation insurance classifications. Right now, our technicians are classified as millwrights and carpenters.

Vern Wilson
Overhead Door of Jamestown, N.Y.

Todd Thomas Responds:

Workers’ compensation is regulated on a state-by-state basis. Therefore, the federal recognition of the occupation will not have any immediate impact on workers’ compensation classification codes.

However, the U.S. Department of Labor’s recognition of the occupation would be a significant piece of information to share with those who determine workers’ compensation class codes. Nationally, the predominant group that establishes classification codes is the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI), based in Boca Raton, Fla.

New York has its own classification system, however, so the establishment of a new class code there would need to go to the appropriate state office that regulates workers’ compensation classifications.

It Takes Time
The process of establishing a new classification code is complex and uncertain. It is complex because corresponding rates that are established for each classification code are based on actual loss data accumulated over a multi-year period (three or more years).

Additionally, establishment of a unique workers’ compensation classification code can be good or bad, again because the ultimate rates will be based on cold, hard numbers. Some door dealers are classified as ironworkers, which certainly penalizes those dealers who are lumped in with such a high-risk group.

Carpenters and millwrights are probably in the same classification “neighborhood” as door dealers. Yet, if there were a code for installing door dealers, those who are classified as appliance installers (as some dealers are) would see their premiums increase.

Residential vs. Commercial
Finally, how do we treat residential and commercial installation/service applications? Commercial work is almost certainly less risky than residential because most commercial technicians work in supervised environments and are required to follow much higher safety standards.

Residential installers work largely by themselves and have no one watching them, except for the occasional customer. So a commercial-only dealer would be penalized by higher premiums aimed at residential-only dealers; however, a dealer who does both would not likely care.

This is a longer answer than you asked for, but it is a good question and one that affects many dealers throughout the country.

Todd Thomas
Managing Director
Institute of Door Dealer Education and Accreditation (IDEA)

Kudos: Trouble in Minneapolis

To the editor:

Thank you for your article about the Twin Cities’ efforts to tame the Bad Bobs of our local industry. I thought the article was accurate and told the story well.

We appreciate your concern about unethical business practices in our industry and your willingness to be a leader in keeping us all informed about what is going on around the country regarding this matter.

Doug Robinson
Metro Garage Door
Golden Valley, Minn.