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2010 Workman's Compensation Premiums, Including a Change in the Method for Assessing Industrial Insurance Premiums for Exercise Riders at Emerald Downs

TRAINER ASSESSMENT – $125 per year

Annual Fee required for all trainers – assessment that contributes to premium that covers pony persons.

GROOM COVERAGE - $ 735 per “slot” per year

Annual coverage “per groom” – number of slots required is equal to the maximum number of grooms on any given day during the calendar year. Although the employee assigned to the “slot” may change during the year,

Trainers MUST provide the name of the Groom Employee to the commission and notify the commission of any changes of employment within 48 hours.

NEW THIS YEAR: Trainers may obtain L&I coverage for themselves by purchasing and assigning themselves to a groom slot. This will insure them in case of injury while performing groom type duties in their stable. Coverage does not guarantee payment of wages or loss of income from accidents but will cover related medical expenses.

EXERCISE RIDER COVERAGE – $145 per Horse per year - NEW METHOD FOR 2010!

Previously calculated on a “per-twelve” horse basis,” new for 2010 the exercise rider total assessment now based on actual number of horses in training. Although similar to how premiums are calculated for total number of grooms, the exercise premium is based on the number of horses stalled at Emerald Downs or in training at the farm, not the number of exercise riders employed.

The exercise premium is assessed per horse and is based on the MAXIMUM number of racehorses a trainer has at the track and/or in training at the farm at any time during the calendar year.

Although, specific names of horses do not need to be provided to the commission it is the trainer’s responsibility to immediately report any increases to the total number of horses and corresponding assessments are due to the commission.

As with a groom in a groom slot, the actual horse occupying the stall may change (one horse is turned out – another brought in) and does not require notification to the commission however in/out Slips with accurate name of horse and trainer will be required by security for ALL horses entering and leaving the Emerald Downs barn area.

As with the requirement to report all Grooms in their employ, it is the trainer’s responsibility to immediately and accurately report number of horses to the WHRC and the stable area superintendent.

Although the commission and others will perform periodic audits this does not negate the trainers’ responsibility for immediately reporting any increase to number of horses. Further false reporting or failing to notify and pay subsequent premiums may result in penalties/fines from the Department of L&I or the WHRC. Trainers are required by the State to keep accurate records and will be asked to submit monthly reports to Emerald Downs Stable Superintendent.

OWNER PREMIUM - $150 per horse (maximum of $150)

Required for all licensed owners and prorated for ownership of less than 100% of a horse. (10% minimum) – No labor and industries coverage is provided for this fee. It was created by RCW (legislative action) to supplement the horseracing industry risk class and was determined by the legislature to be a fee for “privilege of participation.”

THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND INDUSTRIES HAS NOTIFIED THE WHBPA THAT THEY ARE INTENSIFING THE EMPLOYER REQUIREMENTS FOR TRACKING EMPLOYEE HOURS AND WAGES. ALTHOUGH THE METHOD FOR CALULATING PREMIUMS IS UNIQUE FOR THE RACING INDUSTRY, TRAINERS (EMPLOYERS) ARE NOT EXEMPT FROM THIS REQUIREMENT. ALL EMPLOYERS SHOULD KEEP MONTHLY RECORDS OF THEIR EMPLOYEES INFORMATION, NUMBER OF HOURS WORKED (OR HORSES GALLOPED) AND WAGES PAID. L&I MAY REQUEST COPIES OF THESE REPORTS AT ANY TIME. If you need help creating these reports or have any questions regarding L&I coverage or premiums please contact the WHBPA office.

Why the Change in Method of Calculating Exercise Premium Assessments?

The Washington Horse Racing Commission recently amended WAC 260-36-220 to change the way industrial insurance premiums for exercise riders is calculated and assessed to trainers participating at the Emerald Downs race meet. In the past premium for exercise riders was calculated per every twelve stalls (with racehorses), with the maximum premium capped at thirty seven stalls/horses. Trainers training off site reported the number of horses they had in training at their respective farms/training centers based on the same “per-twelve” formula.

Trainers were assessed premium based on the peak number of horse they had in training on any given day during the calendar year. For example, if the trainer started the meet with 11 horses and during the months of May and June increased that number to 15, they would be responsible for paying a premium corresponding to “13-24 horses” even though their stable size reduced to below 12 horses in July.

During the 2009 racing season WHRC staff continued to receive complaints from trainers regarding the way exercise rider premiums were assessed stating the method was neither fair nor equitable. In considering these complaints, the WHRC staff began to examine the number of horses trainers had under their care vs. the premium each trainer was paying. They quickly realized that very few trainers had twelve, twenty-four or thirty-six horses, even though they were required to pay the premium for twelve. This meant that a vast majority of trainers were paying premium for exercising horses they didn’t have. For example, a trainer at Emerald Downs with three horses in training paid the same premium as a trainer with twelve horses ($1,010).

As a result, WHRC staff began working with the Washington Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (WHBPA) to amend our rule to calculate industrial insurance premiums for Emerald Downs exercise riders based on individual horses in training. In other words, instead of paying premium for blocks of twelve horses, trainers would pay an assessment based on the individual number of horses they had in training. (All racehorses stabled at Emerald Downs will be considered to be in training.)

During this time, the Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) notified the WHRC that the required premium to cover exercise riders would increase for 2010. Based on the total required premium and still working with the “per twelve stall method,” L&I set the individual Emerald Downs trainer assessment at $1,375 per twelve stalls.

When the WHRC amended their rule to calculate industrial insurance premiums to cover exercise riders based on individual horses in training, L&I recalculated the trainer assessment on a per horse basis. At Emerald Downs exercise rider premium will be $145 for each horse at Emerald Downs or in training at the farm. The new rule also eliminates the previous premium cap.

As in the previous method, trainers are assessed premium based on the peak number of horse they have in training on any given day during the calendar year. For example, if the trainer started the meet with 10 horses and during a day in May that number increased to 25, they would be responsible for paying a premium corresponding of $145 * 25 ($3,625) even though their stable size may be reduced to a lesser number to below 25 horses on a subsequent day. Although the trainer will be in compliance if they pay $1,450 in premium at the beginning of the meet, it is solely their responsibility to report to the commission any increases in the number of horse at Emerald Downs or in Training at a farm or training center.

The WHRC made these changes because it was more equitable by basing premium on risk, and it will help the smaller stables. For example at Emerald Downs in 2010, without the change a trainer with three horses would have paid $1,375 in industrial insurance premiums to cover their exercise riders. With the change, the same trainer will only pay $405, a savings of $970.

An additional factor in creating a rule that was more equitable was to encourage trainers that only wanted to train a few horses to participate in the race meet. Many trainers with smaller stables either left horseracing or currently conduct business via a “program trainer” because they could not afford the 12-horse assessment. The new rule encourages new trainers to get involved as well as creates more transparency with regards to who is actually training the horse.

Below are links to the new amended rules. (In addition, WAC 260-36-230 was also amended to exclude the premiums required for exercise riders from the short duration coverage.)

http://apps.leg.wa.gov/wac/default.aspx?cite=260-36-220

http://apps.leg.wa.gov/wac/default.aspx?cite=260-36-230

 

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