The Bottom Line: Workers’ Comp Increase

For the past several months, we have been waiting with baited breath for the final decision by Florida’s Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) regarding the pending worker’s compensation increase. Last week, we finally got our answer, and not one that works best for our industry.

OIR unofficially announced a 14.5% increase to workers’ compensation insurance. However, after considering the filing and testimony from affected parties, such as FHBA President-Elect Jeremy Stewart, Florida Insurance Commissioner, David Altmaier, modified the originally proposed 19.6% increase in multiple ways to ease the burden on construction and other small businesses.

Three key items that you should know regarding the increase:

  • The 14.5% increase is a 5% reduction from the original proposal;
  • The increase will not be effective until December 1, 2016, two months later than the original proposal; and
  • The increase will only apply to renewing and new policies, not retroactive to existing policies.

The ball is now back in the court of the National Council of Compensation Insurance (NCCI), where they will resubmit its rate filing based upon the criteria outlined by OIR. For business planning purposes, you should prepare for a 14.5% increase on renewing and new policies on December 1, 2016.

The increase is daunting and will require a concerted legislative effort to change the underlying fabric of the recent misguided State Supreme Court decisions. Former FHBA President, Jay Carlson, will head a worker’s compensation task force to help guide FHBA’s policies through this upcoming Legislative Session.

We must collectively get prepared to go to war! Our intelligence tells us that trial lawyers, labor unions and other anti-business forces are gearing up to challenge even more of the successful reforms that were established in 2003. We expect these challenges to come judicially and legislatively.

The workers’ compensation insurance increase could have been worse, but may become horrible unless we stand together and fight!

For more information, email Rusty Payton (rpayton@fhba.com), CEO/Chief Legislative Lobbyist, or Douglas Buck (dbuck@fhba.com), Director of Governmental Affairs.