Here’s some information and history about Florida Workers’ Compensation (WC) and our rates:
Workers’ Compensation (WC) coverage is meant to keep injured employees in their homes with food on their tables for their families – while they heal and until they return to work – if they are able to. The WC benefits are all spelled out in Florida State Statues. They were never intended to be argued about or litigated.
In 2003 Florida’s WC rates were the 2nd highest in the country and the system needed and soon thereafter had a controversial overhaul – Senate Bill 50-A (Chapter 2003-412 Laws of Florida) including limiting the amount of money (cap) that attorneys can collect for representing injured employees that were covered under WC. It worked – between 2003 and 2016 WC Rates in Florida went down approximately 56% on average. For 13 years rates declined over all.
In April of 2016, the Supreme Court ruled that limiting attorney’s fees is unconstitutional. The injured employees’ attorney couldn’t make much (especially on frivolous claims) – yet the insurance company attorneys’ fees were pretty much unlimited. This prompted the NCCI to propose rate increases of 17.1% with the Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR). In May of 2016, the Supreme Court decided on another case – which increases benefits for workers receiving temporary total benefits and NCCI amended its request to increase rates by 19.6%.
NCCI is proposing that the increased rates apply to new and renewal policies effective on or after October 1, 2016 (the proposed effective date of the original rate filing was August 1, 2016), and also apply to all policies in effect on October 1, 2016, on a pro-rata basis through the remainder of the policy term (this will be complicated because if your policy period runs January 1, 2016 to January 1, 2017, then one set of rates will apply for January 1, 2016 to October 1, 2016 and another set of higher rates will apply for October 1, 2016 – December 31, 2016).
OIR has scheduled a public hearing on the rate request for August 16, 2016 in Tallahassee, where it will hear from NCCI on its rate request and also from interested stakeholders.
For more information, or if you have questions, please call Vicky Zelen or Holly Howe at Zelen Risk Solutions, Inc. at 904-262-8080 or e-mail us at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once OIR has issued its order setting the rates, we will send an update. We are hopeful that the rate increases will be smaller – however – we cannot predict what will happen. Rates can be changed throughout the year also – in the past, they have had 3 rate changes in one calendar year. BE CAREFUL with bids you are doing for work that will be done after October 1, 2016 to allow for higher WC costs if you can.