Crain’s: Critics blame scaffold law for megaproject’s insurance costs ballooning 557%

At the end of July, Crain’s New York Business ran an article about how New York’s Scaffold Law increases insurance costs on all construction projects in the state:

Documents from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s board meeting last week show that insurance costs on East Side Access, the decade-delayed effort to link the Long Island Rail Road to Grand Central, have ballooned 557% from the original estimates.

That was all the opportunity opponents of New York’s “scaffold law” needed to call attention to the statute, which is unique to the state.

“Insurers, it has been documented over and over, have left the market because of the scaffold law,” said Tom Stebbins, of the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York, a tort-reform group. “These are billion-dollar policies and people don’t want [to sell] them. That should tell you something.”

Stebbins noted that numerous judicial rulings in the past decade have expanded the scaffold law’s application to cover more and more workers hurt on the job, and he cited a report Willis itself published in 2017, which identified the law as the “primary culprit” for New York’s “highly litigious environment.” The result has been what Willis, which did not respond to a request for comment, termed an “insurance crisis.”

Read the full article here.

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