Cotney Law: Florida Workers’ Comp Insurance Rate Cut Effective January 1
By Trent Cotney
On November 6, Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier issued a final order approving a 7.5% decrease for Florida workers’ compensation insurance rates. The rate cut goes into effect January 1, 2020, and applies to both new and renewal workers’ compensation insurance policies effective in Florida.
This is the third straight year workers’ comp insurance rates have been reduced. Previously, rates for 2019 were cut by 13.9% and rates for 2018 were cut 9.5%. The 7.5% rate reduction for 2020 is deeper than the initial 5.4% reduction that was recommended earlier in the year by the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI), which makes the rate filings for workers’ compensation insurers.
Florida’s Insurance Commissioner attributed the rate reduction to “increased innovation in workplace practices and continued emphasis on safety for employees” which have resulted in an overall decline in claims filed and reduced assessments.
Industry experts hope that the insurance rate cuts will help to offset the anticipated effects of a 2016 Florida Supreme Court ruling that allowed higher attorney fees in workers’ compensation lawsuits. In the case known as Castellanos v. Next Door Company, Florida’s Supreme Court tossed out restrictive caps on the amount of fees attorneys for injured workers could be paid. Insurance experts estimate that since the 2016 decision, attorneys’ fees as a portion of settled workers’ comp claims have nearly doubled. As attorneys’ fee awards in workers’ comp cases continue to increase, it’s only a matter of time before these increased costs for insurers are passed on to customers in the form of higher insurance premiums.
Author’s note: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.
Trent Cotney is Florida Bar Certified in Construction Law, General Counsel and a member of the Florida Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Contractors Association (FRACCA) and a member of RACCA. For more information, contact the author at 813-579-3278 or go to www.hvaclawyer.com.