Florida Approves 6.4% Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rate Hike

By | February 11, 2009

Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty has approved a 6.4 percent increase in workers’ compensation insurance rates. The increase applies to new and renewal business and will become effective April 1.

The increase is meant to reflect the impact on legal costs anticipated from the Oct. 23 Florida Supreme Court opinion in the case of Emma Murray v. Mariner Health Inc. That decision eliminated the statutory caps on attorney fees that were imposed in 2003 by reforms under SB 50A. The ruling will enable claimant attorneys handling workers’ compensation claims to collect increased fees for their services.

McCarty’s approval came in response to an amended filing by the industry’s National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI). On Jan. 26, McCarty rejected a previous NCCI rate filing for an 8.9 percent rate increase as a result of

“Although it is still somewhat early to know for sure what the full impact of the Supreme Court’s decision on workers’ compensation rates will be, I felt it was necessary to approve this modest increase,” said McCarty.

The approved rate increase will add about $172 million in insurance costs for Florida employers. But, in combination with the 18.6 percent rate decrease that took effect Jan. 1, the net savings to Florida employers is still $438 million.

In its Nov. 14 filing, the NCCI had proposed spreading an 18.6 percent rate increase over two years – 8.9 percent for the first year, to become effective March 1 – for the voluntary market for all new and renewal workers’ compensation insurance policies written in Florida. In disapproving the filing, McCarty cited disagreements with the data and methodology the NCCI used to calculate the projected effect of the court’s ruling.

Source: Florida Office of Insurance Regulation

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