October 15, 2010
Today, Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty announced that he will approve a 7.8% average increase for 2011 workers’ compensation rates for Florida employers. This increase is somewhat lower than the 8.3% increase that the National Council of Compensation Insurers (NCCI) requested last month. McCarty held a rate hearing last week in Tallahassee that provided the background for today’s announcement.
The data NCCI used to formulate the rate request indicated that claim costs and frequency started trending up in 2008. This rate filing is based on data reflecting workers’ compensation experience in 2008 and 2009. Rising health care costs are also a contributing factor to the rate calculation.
Some of this increase could have been avoided if Governor Crist would have signed HB 5603 that AIF strongly supported and the Florida Legislature unanimously passed to control the costs of drugs dispensed by physicians. The bill would have clarified that doctors should be paid the same amount as pharmacies for the drugs they dispense to injured workers. That bill would have saved employers about 1% on their workers compensation rates – which surely would have been appreciated in these economic times that are laden with ever increasing costs.
In any event, the rate increase is modest given the enormous decreases Florida employers have seen over the past 7 years, since Florida last passed a sweeping workers’ compensation reform law. Florida will continue to enjoy the lowest workers’ compensation rates in the Southeast, and our rates are predicted to be among the lowest 10 states in the nation.
Should you have any questions or need more information about this workers’ compensation matter, please feel free to contact AIF General Counsel Tamela I. Perdue at email@example.com, or by phone at 850-224-7173.