Florida Insurers Seek Workers’ Compensation Rate Hike
Florida workers’ compensation insurers are seeking a 19.6 percent rate hike for employers. The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI), an organization representing insurers, proposed the change on May 27 after recent Florida Supreme Court rulings struck down parts of the workers’ compensation system.
NCCI’s proposal comes in response to the court’s decision to strike down a 2009 law limiting attorney fees for lawyers who represent injured employees. The ruling was the result of a case where an attorney was awarded an equivalent rate of $1.53 an hour for 107.2 hours of work after winning a case for an injured Miami worker. The court said in a 5-2 ruling that the 2009 law was unconstitutional, as it challenged the “reasonableness” of attorneys’ fees.
An earlier May filing proposed a 17.1 percent increase in rates. After taking into account the impacts of a recent case involving compensation paid to an injured St. Petersburg firefighter, however, NCCI bumped the proposed rate to 19.6 percent.
According to the Florida Chamber of Commerce, a rate hike could threaten job growth rates in the state. The rate hike, however, follows 13 years of decreasing rates. If the Office of Insurance Regulation approves the rate hike, the changes will go into effect on Oct. 1. A public hearing on the topic will take place on Aug. 16 in Tallahassee.