OIR Approves Workers Comp Rate Hike, Smaller Than Insurers Wanted

Sep 28, 2016

Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier speaking before the Florida Cabinet.
Credit Florida Channel

Workers comp rates are set to rise by almost 15 percent.  State regulators have approved the increase for new and renewal policies starting in December. 

Two Florida Supreme Court decisions could weigh heavily on the bottom lines of businesses across the state.  Those cases overturned caps on attorney’s fees supporters say kept rates low.  Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier approved two portions of the increase as-is, but revised a third downward.

“Once they make that adjusted filing,” he says, “it’ll be approved.  And so the overall impact after our review was an increase of 14.5 percent.”

The National Council on Compensation Insurance originally requested a 19.6 percent increase.  Lobbyist Mark Delegal represents business interests like the Florida chamber, and he believes the smaller increase won’t be enough to keep up with ballooning attorney’s fees.

“When I see the OIR number at 14.5 percent, my initial reaction is that’s woefully understated,” Delegal says.

The rate change likely sets the stage for a legislative clash between trial attorneys and business leaders.