Not much good news has come out of the state of Florida for the past month. If there ever was a state that needed some good news it is the state of Florida. Well yesterday the business community got some much needed relief in the form of an announcement by the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI). The announcement recommends the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (FLOIR) to decrease Florida Workers Compensation Insurance Premiums by 9.6%.
A 9.6 % rate decrease has been proposed by NCCI for Florida Workers Compensation Insurance Premiums.
The rate decreases on Florida Workers Compensation Insurance will not be across the board. Some industries will see larger increase than others. According to FLOIR and first reported by the Insurance Journal rate level changes by industry group are as follows:
- Manufacturing: -10.3 percent
- Contracting: -6.9 percent
- Office and Clerical: -11.3 percent
- Goods and Services:-10.4 percent
- Miscellaneous: -8.1 percent
This is good news for business owners in Florida because, the workers compensation system in Florida has been in flux for more than a year. About a year ago NCCI recommended a 17.1 % increase on workers comp rates last August. The amount of increase that eventually went through was 14.5 %. This increase was in response to three main issues. Those issues were 2 court cases and a state senate bill (Castellanos vs. Next Door Company, Westphal v. City of St. Petersburg and Senate Bill 1402).
Castellanos vs. Next Door Company was a court case that involved Marvin Castellanos who was an injured employee who sued Next Door Company. This court decision ruled invalid a previous court ruling from 2009 which put in place a mandatory attorney fee schedule. The overturn of this ruling meant judges no longer have to stick to the mandatory fee schedule and now can award additional compensation for attorney’s fees. Insurance carriers anticipated this to cause them to pay out more in the future and resulted in additional premiums.
Westphal v. City of St. Petersburg was a case that found the 104-week statutory limitation on temporary total disability benefits to be unconstitutional. The Florida Supreme Court reinstated a 260-week limitation. This Increased the amount of time an injured employees will get partial salary benefits by an additional 156 weeks. This additional 156 weeks of coverage caused the OIR to approve an average increase of 2.2 percent statewide.
Senate Bill 1402 caused the additional 1.8 percent increase on premium for workers’ compensation was related to updates within the Florida Workers’ Compensation HCPR Manual. This increase was approved as part of Senate Bill 1402.
The decrease proposed this week reflects frequency and experience data that pre-dates the Castellanos and Westphal decisions. Data regarding the impact of Castellanos and Westphal will continue to mature and will more than likely be reflected in future rate filings. For now Florida will experience a much needed decrease in workers compensation insurance premium.