Florida’s Proposed Worker’s Compensation Rate Increase
Florida’s worker’s compensation system has been a hot topic among insurers, businesses, and workers. The Florida court recently ruled that – except in an emergency situation – no extensions will be given in the appeal case to overturn a court order invalidating the approved 14.5% rate increase on Florida’s workers’ compensation rates. So, what exactly does this mean?
The story behind the story
On October 5, 2016, the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) approved a statewide workers’ compensation insurance rate increase of 14.5% for businesses. This rate increase was originally scheduled to take effect on December 1, 2016. However, on November 23, 2016, the court ruled that the rate increase which was negotiated between the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) and state regulators within the Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) could not go into effect – it was invalid. The judge cited that the NCCI was in violation of Florida’s Sunshine Laws and open meeting requirements in establishing the new insurance rate. In response to this determination, the NCCI claimed it had complied with the laws on transparency and said it would appeal the ruling. The OIR then filed its appeal on November 28, 2016. On December 12, 2016, the court granted the OIR and the NCCI requests for a stay pending the outcome of their respective appeals. The court has since ruled that “No extensions of time shall be entertained by this court on any matter absent a bona fide showing of emergency circumstances.” The court stated that the appeal will proceed on an expedited basis.
What does the proposed rate change mean for workers?
The proposed 14.5 % overall combined statewide average rate increase applies to both new and renewal workers’ compensation insurance policies in Florida. This rate change would be mandatory for all companies that handle workers’ compensation insurance and claims. As such, companies cannot “opt out” of the changes; they are legally required to comply with the rates implemented by OIR and the NCCI.
Knowledgeable counsel by your side every step of the way
Florida’s workers’ compensation system is complex. The latest proposed changes – and the appeals – make the matter even more confusing. For injured workers, trying to navigate the system during periods of such uncertainty can be time consuming and stressful. Attorney Joseph M. Rooth has spent more than 20 years helping injured and disabled workers. Attorney Rooth is knowledgeable in Florida worker’s compensation law, bringing the necessary skills and experience in securing just compensation for injuries. Serving all of Tampa Bay with offices are conveniently located in New Port Richey, Spring Hill, Seminole and Clearwater. Contact the Rooth Law Firm today to arrange a free confidential consultation at 727-849-3400 or online.