It’s official. Florida’s Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier has authorized a workers’ compensation premium decrease of 9.8 percent for businesses next year, according to the Orlando Sentinel. Altmaier also instructed the National Council on Compensation Insurance—which is the body that files insurer’s rate recommendations—to conduct a “quantitative analysis” on how ending attorney-fee caps has affected the state workers’ compensation system. The NCCI will have to include that analysis in future rate recommendations.
“Any rate reduction is welcomed news,” said NFIB/Florida Executive Director Bill Herrle. “We have the confidence in the insurance commissioner that the rate reduction is merited.”
In the past years, the workers’ compensation system has been collecting more and more from Florida businesses in premiums. Last year, Florida businesses paid around $3.8 billion in workers’ compensation premiums, which is $1 billion more than in 2012. Florida’s mandatory coverage costs are the 33rd most expensive in the country.
The NCCI’s assessment may show that ending caps on attorney fees could increase rates by incentivizing attorneys’ involvement in the system. “We’re OK waiting to get our I-told-you-so’s on that one,” Herrle said. “We believe that unrestricted attorneys’ fees will eventually catch up with us.”