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Unlike workers' compensation -- its pricey companion -- disability insurance costs for workers who become ill or injured off the job have remained relatively stable in New York in recent years.
"It's probably the steadiest benefit around. Most accounts very seldom have rate increases, and rates can usually be guaranteed for two or three years," says Barbara Glavin, manager of employee benefits for S.H. Gow & Co., a Buffalo insurance company.
"We haven't seen costs increasing very much here," says Christopher Ashton, employee benefits consultant at Aldrich & Cox, an Orchard Park insurance consulting firm.
By contrast, workers' comp costs routinely climb 15 percent or more a year.
In keeping disability rates stable, New York is bucking a national trend that has seen group disability claim payments soar from $800 million in 1960 to $5 billion in 1989, according to figures from Travelers Corp. and the Health Insurance Association of America. The cost jumped another $200 million nationally in 1990, the last year with complete figures.
While New York's rates have stayed stable, employers can still take several steps to keep disability costs under control, at least in their own operations. …