Florida’s employers can look forward to little, if any, change in their 2014 workers’ compensation rates as the state’s industry-backed rating agency has filed for a modest statewide average 1 percent rate increase.
The industry’s National Council on Compensation Insurance filed for the increase, marking the fourth consecutive increase filed by the rating agency. In 2011, regulators signed off on an 8.9 percent increase that was followed by a 6.1 percent increase that took effect in January.
Even so, NCCI and regulators continued to tout the success of a rewrite of the state’s workers’ compensation law in 2003. Prior to those reforms, Florida consistently ranked among the highest states in workers’ compensation rates.
Since the advent of those reforms 10 years ago, rates in Florida have fallen by 64.7 percent following seven years of consecutive decreases. Even if this year’s current rate request is approved as filed, Florida employers’ rates will still be down 55.9 percent from their pre-2003 level.
That would peg the state’s average loss costs at $1.09 per $100 in payroll, which is consistent with other southeast states such as North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama.
NCCI said that this year’s filing reflects several factors including the continued stabilization of the state’s loss experience. Additionally, claims frequency was up in 2011, but not nearly to the degree that it had been between 2008 and 2010. In fact, NCCI said that most of the proposed 1 percent increase reflects the fact that medical costs are outpacing wage inflation and declines in expenses.
Looking at the five major industry classifications, rates changes would be modest — ranging from an average high of 3.5 percent in contraction classes to a low of minus-3.2 percent across manufacturing classes.
Goods and services would see an average increase of 1.1 percent while miscellaneous classes would see an average increase of 0.9 percent. Office and clerical classes would see a small average increase of 0.3 percent.
Florida’s Office of Insurance Regulation said it is reviewing the filing and anticipates holding a public hearing in early October. The new rates would take effect, January 1, 2014 if approved.